The SIU recently participated in a bipartisan celebration of the domestic maritime industry’s hugely positive effects on Florida.
Members of both major political parties from around the state also joined the Florida Maritime Partnership (FMP) and the American Maritime Partnership (AMP) in Jacksonville and Tampa on March 22 to announce the 25 percent growth of domestic maritime industry jobs in Florida.
SIU Vice President Gulf Coast Dean Corgey was a featured speaker at the Jacksonville event, which took place next to the SIU-crewed, Crowley-owned El Coqui. Corgey shared a story about his grandfather’s Navy ship being refueled by the U.S. Merchant Marine during World War II. “We have a merchant marine because of the Jones Act,” Corgey said. “God bless America, God bless my grandfather, and God bless the Jones Act.”
According to the findings of a new report conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers on behalf of the Transportation Institute, Florida ranks second in the nation for the number of domestic maritime jobs, employing at least 65,990 individuals and generating more than $3.73 billion in worker income. The industry produces $14.6 billion annually for the Florida economy.
“The importance of the maritime industry to both Florida and the United States cannot be overstated. A robust maritime industry means a strong economy, good jobs, and enhanced national security. I’m proud to support the work of the Florida and American Maritime Partnerships, and today’s effort to highlight the industry’s vital role to our nation,” said U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist (D-Florida).
“The strength of Northeast Florida’s domestic maritime industry helps position our region as the logistics hub on the eastern seaboard. Our vessel-operating companies, shipyards, and maritime professionals create thousands of jobs each year and propel our economy forward. In Congress, I am proud to support pro-maritime policy such as protecting the Jones Act and investing in our seaports,” said U.S. Rep. John Rutherford (R-Florida).
“Ports play a vital role in Florida’s economy and produce stable jobs for our workforce,” said U.S. Rep. Al Lawson (D-Florida). “This recent study is evident that Jacksonville’s maritime industry is essential to the state’s overall economic growth. Our hard-working men and women who crew the vessels work in this critical sector to ensure our national security, stimulate trade and promote economic prosperity.”
“This is good news for Florida and the greater Tampa Bay area and demonstrates the impact the maritime industry has on our economy,” said U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Florida). “With 15 deep-water ports, including Port Manatee, Florida has an incredible opportunity to grow its maritime industry to help diversify our economy, create jobs and move goods and services.” “The impact of the domestic maritime industry in the state is undeniable – delivering over 65,000 jobs and generating nearly $4 billion in income across Florida. The Jones Act ensures these jobs go to American workers, living and working in our communities. It is essential that we continue to uphold the law for these very real economic reasons,” said Florida State Senate Minority Leader Audrey Gibson (D-Duval).
“Across Florida and the country, the hard-working men and women of the domestic maritime industry are delivering for a better tomorrow,” said Florida State Rep. Jackie Toledo (R-Tampa). “With nearly 65,000 jobs, over $14.6 billion in economic impact, and $3.73 billion in worker income, the domestic maritime industry is vital in building and expanding Florida’s thriving economy.”
“The state of Florida is a leader in the domestic maritime industry,” said James L. Henry, chairman and president of the Transportation Institute. “The findings in our most recent study demonstrate the strength and necessity of the Jones Act, which serves as the backbone of the American maritime industry, the U.S. industrial base, and job creation for the hard-working men and women that crew the vessels delivering both in times of war and peace.”
“Quite simply, the Jones Act is American security,” said Matt Woodruff, president of the American Maritime Partnership, to which the SIU is affiliated. “In addition to the job creation benefits detailed in this study, our American mariners are relied on by defense leaders to project American force overseas in a national emergency. Alongside our waterfront workers, they are the eyes and ears of homeland security on our nation’s coasts and waterways. Our American-controlled fleet provides economic security, ensuring that our nation’s internal freight transportation system, including fuel deliveries from American refineries to Florida, is not subject to foreign interference. American maritime jobs, guaranteed by the Jones Act, make this possible.”
Thanks to the Jones Act, the domestic maritime industry now employs approximately 650,0000 Americans across all 50 states, creates $41 billion in labor income for American workers and adds more than $154.8 billion in annual economic output each year. Nationally, there are more than 40,000 American vessels – built in American shipyards, crewed by American mariners, and owned by American companies – that operate in U.S. waters daily.