As part of the fifth annual Sail-In, members of America’s maritime industry converged on Capitol Hill yesterday to meet with Members of Congress to highlight the crucial role the industry plays in U.S. national, economic and homeland security. America’s domestic maritime fleet is 40,000 vessels strong and sustains nearly 500,000 jobs across the nation, which in turn pumps almost $100 billion into the country’s economy. According to a recent study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) for the Transportation Institute, every one direct maritime job results in almost five indirect jobs for the nation.
The Sail-In included participants from almost every segment of the American maritime industry engaged in the transport of waterborne cargo, including vessel operators, marine terminals, shipyards, and maritime labor. The industry moves nearly 888 million tons of cargo every year and plays an important role in relieving congestion on the nation’s crowded roads and railways.
“This is an exciting time for American maritime. The industry is investing billions of dollars to meet the nation’s transportation needs; it is creating thousands of jobs for Americans; and it consistently works to bolster our national security at zero cost to the federal government,” said Thomas Allegretti, Chairman of the American Maritime Partnership. “These Congressional meetings are an important opportunity for the maritime industry to join together and brief their elected officials on the many ways American maritime is making our nation safer, stronger and more secure.”
Allegretti also noted that America’s maritime industry is playing a critical role in the nation’s domestic energy boom. ”New U.S.-flag vessels will soon provide millions of barrels in additional transportation capacity when our nation needs it the most,” he stated. “Currently, America’s domestic maritime industry moves tens of million of barrels of crude oil and petroleum products throughout the United States every month, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. That number is only expected to grow because transporting cargo on our nation’s waterways is one of the most cost-effective and efficient ways to move crude oil and petroleum products.”
Captain Richard Phillips, whose heroic rescue from Somali pirates was made into an Oscar winning film starring Tom Hanks, also participated in this year’s Sail-In. Captain Phillips noted that the strength of America’s merchant marine comes from the Jones Act, which ensures our mariners receive some of the best training in the world. This in turn boosts our nation’s economy while also strengthening America’s national and homeland security.
“The nation’s merchant mariners are some of the most highly trained in the world and are prepared for any situation they may encounter. Most importantly, the men and women of American maritime are proud stewards of our nation’s waterways, because not only do they work in these communities, they also live in them,” said Captain Phillips. “The Jones Act is crucial to the United States because it gives Americans a critical level of training and brings a dynamic aspect to our national defense.”