A new study leaves no doubt that the Jones Act is vital for U.S. national, economic and homeland security.
The Transportation Institute (TI) on March 4 announced that the domestic maritime industry now employs almost 650,000 Americans across all 50 states and contributes $154 billion to the nation’s economic growth annually. That data comes from an extensive study by PricewaterhouseCoopers.
The Jones Act guarantees that the transportation of merchandise between two U.S. points is carried out by vessels that are crewed, built, flagged and owned American. Supported by broad bipartisan majorities in Congress and top U.S. national security officials, the freight cabotage law promotes the maintenance of the nation’s vitally important maritime industrial base, ensuring that American jobs are not shipped overseas and that defense capabilities and readiness not outsourced to foreign nations.
SIU President Michael Sacco stated, “This report confirms what we have been saying for decades. The Jones Act is a vital and indispensable law that benefits American workers, the American economy and the American people.”
The TI is a leading maritime association which advocates and works for sound national maritime policy in the United States. TI Chairman and President James L. Henry stated, “From shipyards to the high seas, the maritime industry is indisputably contributing to the American economy in a major way. This new study shows the spectacular impact that our industry has on our nation’s overall wellbeing, especially by providing livelihoods to 650,000 hard-working Americans, thousands of whom proudly served in our military. We simply would not be as strong as we are without the veteran community, and it’s a source of great pride that our growth is benefitting them and their families. Needless to say, the report underscores just how indispensable the Jones Act continues to be for the security and prosperity of our entire country.”
According to the study, the Jones Act creates $41 billion in labor income for American workers each year and adds $72 billion annually to the value of U.S. economic output. The study further finds that one shipyard job creates four jobs elsewhere in the economy.
The 40,000 vessels that comprise the Jones Act fleet move nearly one billion tons of cargo annually – or roughly a quarter of the nation’s freight – along U.S. internal waterways, across the Great Lakes, and over the oceans to Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. territories. Shipped goods include a variety of products, from raw materials and commodities like coal and crude oil to consumer products that fill the shelves of grocery stores nationwide.
TI described the Jones Act as “the quintessential ‘Buy American, Hire American’ law, one that puts American workers first and is critically important for guaranteeing our national security and maintaining our defense industrial base.”