Maritime transportation and shipyard industries responsible for over 100,000 jobs in state

New Orleans, LA – On April 11, 2017, 31 bipartisan members of the Louisiana State House of Representatives joined forces to stand up for Louisiana jobs and lawful enforcement of the Jones Act, a pillar of economic strength for the state. In a letter addressed to U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP), members vocalized their support of the January 18, 2017 Customs Notice which would ensure federal laws applicable to the transport of merchandise and equipment between two U.S. points are enforced correctly, in turn protecting and providing for the state’s economy and security. The letter was led by State Representatives Tanner Magee (R-Houma) and Blake Miguez (R-New Iberia).

From the letter sent to CBP:

“Louisiana has always benefitted greatly from [The Jones Act]. Our state has more maritime jobs than any other state in the nation. . . . We understand that these jobs, and the economic benefit they provide to our state are owed to the Jones Act. As such we support any policy which ensures the Jones Act is enforced as written.”

The State Representatives go on to state:

“[The Jones Act] also provides a very large security benefit to our state. . . . Customs officials have stated that they would not be able to ensure the security of [our] waterways and … ports if all of these vessels were crewed by foreign nationals. By ensuring the Jones Act is enforced as written the Notice will enhance the security of Louisiana and our nation.”

The full letter can be found here.

The letter from the Representatives follows comments from numerous U.S. Congressional and industry leaders who have vocalized their support for this corrective action taken by CBP, noting both the economic and national security benefits provided by the lawful interpretation of the Jones Act, and the urgency for halting foreign interests from influencing U.S. law for the sole benefit of foreign vessel operators.

“We applaud the commitment by these Louisiana State Representatives to support Louisiana workers who have been impacted by these previous erroneous CBP rulings,” said Aaron Smith, President and CEO, Offshore Marine Service Association. “These Legislators understand that enforcing U.S. law is essential to maintain our critical maritime industry that supports economic and national security.”

A recent study found that in 2014, the maritime transportation and shipyard industry were responsible for 104,800 jobs in the state of Louisiana. Louisiana has more maritime jobs than any other state in the nation.

The Louisiana lawmakers joined more than 33 bipartisan members of the U.S. House of Representatives and 10 senators, including Senators Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy in expressing their support for CBP to quickly bring to a close the implementation of the revocation and modification of the flawed letter rulings. A copy of these letter can be found here and here.

Recent studies have also concluded the following:

  • REVOCATION WILL BENEFIT AMERICAN MARINER: In the Gulf Coast region alone, the recent CBP notice will generate over 3,200 new jobs, increase wages and earnings for workers in the region by over $155 million and generate over $700 million in regional economic output.
  • REVOCATION WILL NOT DISRUPT PRODUCTION: This ruling will not impede offshore energy exploration or production given the recent $2 billion investments by U.S. companies. According to IHS Petrodata Construction Vessel database, an average of 19.8 vessels were working in the Gulf Coast region over the past 5 years. U.S. companies have 31 new or retrofitted vessels ready to meet these needs.
  • REVOCATION SUPPORTS U.S. NATIONAL AND HOMELAND SECURITY: By supporting a market for Jones Act vessels, including the $2 billion investment following the 2009 CBP notice, the domestic maritime industry can provide over 1,000 additional unlimited tonnage mariners for the Ready Reserve Force, ready to answer the call of the U.S. military if needed.

Standing behind U.S. jobs, U.S. security, and the sovereignty of the nation is the very backbone of the nation. CBP has taken the correct and essential step to ensure that U.S. workers and taxpaying companies perform domestic maritime operations as required by the Jones Act.