The domestic maritime industry is vital for America – and few states reflect that truth more than Ohio.
The American Maritime Partnership (AMP), a powerful coalition to which the SIU is affiliated, hosted a press conference July 1 at Seafarers-contracted Great Lakes Towing Company with U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), local business leaders, and maritime advocates and employees to proudly announce new economic benefits of the industry to the state of Ohio and Great Lakes region.
According to the findings of a new study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) on behalf of Transportation Institute (TI), the Jones Act continues to fuel a strong maritime industry in Ohio and across the Great Lakes region, where the PwC report shows 123,670 Jones Act-related jobs – or 20 percent of the national total – are based. Throughout Ohio, the industry employs more than 13,850 individuals, produces $3.2 billion for the local economy, and generates $817.5 million in worker income. Between 2011 and 2016, maritime employment in Ohio increased by 3,520 jobs. An estimated $30 billion of the national Jones Act economic impact comes from the eight Great Lakes states.
As highlighted at the recent event, Ohio is also an important shipyard state. A new study of shipbuilding by the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD), covering both commercial and military ship construction, found more than $617 million of annual economic impact and more than $364 million in worker income for the state.
The backbone of the domestic maritime industry is the Jones Act, which requires the transportation of cargo between all U.S. points to be reserved for U.S.- built, -owned, -crewed, and -documented vessels. The law is not only a vital anchor for economic strength and job creation for Ohio, but also a pillar for the entire nation’s prosperity and security.
“Today’s report confirms our course: invest in our maritime assets and prepare our workforce for the maritime jobs of the future,” Kaptur said. “This region has an important place at the table to strengthen our strong domestic maritime industry and its critical role in our national security and prosperity. “In Ohio alone, the efforts of over 13,000 workers facilitate more than $3 billion moving into local economies and generating $817.5 million in worker income. These are the benchmarks from which workers and industry leaders can build on our successes and plan a future of expanded commerce and opportunity.”
“Ohio workers are the best in the world at what they do and today’s report shows that our state’s maritime industry is no exception,” said U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). “Ohio’s ports and shipping industry provide good-paying jobs and these workers play a key role in our nation’s economy.”
“The Great Lakes is one of America’s most important environmental and economic resources and are a major component of Ohio’s domestic maritime industry,” said U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio). “This would not be possible without the skilled and dedicated men and women who comprise Ohio’s maritime workforce. Ohio’s status as one of America’s best states for the maritime industry is no surprise to those who see it up close every day. The release of today’s study showing an increase in the number of domestic maritime jobs in Ohio and the contribution its employees make to the state and nation are to be applauded.”
“The state of Ohio is a leader in the domestic maritime industry, supporting 13,850 family-wage jobs and contributing over $3.2 billion to the local economy,” said James L. Henry, chairman and president of 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 hardworking 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 AMP. “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 is not subject to foreign interference. American maritime jobs always have and will continue to be vital in the never-ending task of keeping America safe, strong and prosperous for generations to come.”
“Twenty percent of all Jones Act jobs are in the Great Lakes states,” said Jim Weakley, President of the Lake Carriers’ Association. “The men and women employed in the domestic maritime industry build and maintain our ships for commercial and governmental clients, including the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship program, and crew our vessels moving iron ore, stone, and coal, the base of steel and American manufacturing, construction, and energy production.”
Weakley further noted, “All eight Great Lakes states are dependent on commercial maritime and the entire national economy is reliant on the cargoes moved on the Lakes by Jones Act-compliant vessels, crews, and companies. There is no second-guessing, the Jones Act is critical to American economic security.”
“As a charter member of the Transportation Institute and a participant in the Jones Act domestic shipping industry, along with many of our U.S.-flag customers, we are very proud of the achievements and contributions made over the years in fulfilling and even exceeding the purposes envisaged by this legislation,” said Ron Rasmus of the Great Lakes Towing Company.
“The domestic maritime industry is a hugely important source of family-wage jobs for American mariners here in Ohio and all across the country,” said Seafarers International Union Assistant Vice President Bryan Powell. “SIU members have been safely plying these waterways for many decades, contributing to the local economy and delivering the goods.”
Powell added, “I’m also proud of the fact that high-ranking individuals in the administration and in our military have pointed out that our crews are a vital component of homeland security. They’re on our rivers and coasts every day; they know if something doesn’t look right, and they have a big stake in the safety and security of our vessels and ports.”
Thanks to the Jones Act, the domestic maritime industry employs approximately 650,000 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. The U.S. domestic fleet is one of the largest in the world, with more than 40,000 vessels – built in American shipyards, crewed by American mariners, and owned by American companies – that operate in American waters 24 hours a day, seven days a week.