Members of America’s maritime industry converged on Capitol Hill last week to meet with members of Congress to highlight the crucial role they play in U.S. national, economic and homeland security. This reminder came as part of the industry’s fifth annual Sail-In, designed to remind Washington that America’s domestic maritime fleet has 40,000 vessels 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.
“This is an exciting time for American maritime,” 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 also influences 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.”
Captain Richard Phillips, whose rescue from Somali pirates was made into a film starring Tom Hanks, also participated in this year’s Sail-In. He noted that the strength of America’s merchant marine comes from the Jones Act, which ensures mariners receive necessary training. This boosts the U.S. economy while strengthening its security.
"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.”