The Transportation Institute announced Monday a 30 percent increase in domestic maritime job creation it said was enabled by the Jones Act.
The industry now employs nearly 650,000 Americans and contributes $154 billion to the country’s economic growth annually, which the Washington D.C.-based nonprofit credited to the Jones Act.
The Jones Act, which also is known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, requires all goods shipped between American ports travel on U.S.-flag ships with American crews. Opponents of the law, including the late Sen. John McCain, say the act hinders free trade and raises shipping costs.
In announcing the increase in domestic maritime job creation, the Transportation Institute said, “Supporters by broad bipartisan majorities in Congress and top U.S. national security officials, the 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.”
“From shipyards to the high seas, the maritime industry is indisputably contributing to the American economy in a major way,” said James L. Henry, chairman and president of the Transportation Institute.
According to the Transportation Institute, the 40,000 vessels that comprise the Jones Act fleet annually move nearly 1 billion tons of cargo — 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 U.S. territories.
“Needless to say, the report underscores just how indispensable the Jones Act continues to be for the security and prosperity of our entire country,” Henry said.