AMP: California fourth-largest domestic maritime state

The following is text of a news release from the American Maritime Partnership (AMP):

SAN DIEGO — The American Maritime Partnership, the voice of the domestic maritime industry, and federal lawmakers, on Monday announced California as the fourth-largest domestic maritime state in the United States.

According to the findings of a new report conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) on behalf of Transportation Institute (TI), the Jones Act fuels a strong domestic maritime industry in California. The industry employs more than 51,450 individuals, produces $12.21 billion for the local economy and generates $3.6 billion in worker income in California alone.

California is an important shipyard state. A recent study of shipbuilding by the U.S. Maritime Administration (MarAd), covering both commercial and military ship construction, found a $3.67 billion annual economic impact in California with 34,810 associated jobs and more than $2.38 billion in worker income. 

The Jones Act study findings were announced on Saturday in San Diego at the christening of Lurline, the newest combination container/roll-on, roll-off (con-ro) ship of Matson Inc. and General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard. Lurline is the largest con-ro ever built in the United States.

The Jones Act is not only a vital anchor for economic strength and job creation in California but also a pillar of the nation’s security and military capability. Specifically, this law states that the transportation of merchandise between U.S. ports is reserved for U.S. -built, -owned and -documented vessels.

“A strong domestic maritime industry is vital for our national security and economy,” said Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif. “The PwC study demonstrates the importance of a robust maritime shipping industry to America’s economic prosperity. As a senior Democratic member of the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation — and as a former ranking member of the subcommittee — I am committed to re-energizing America’s maritime and shipbuilding industry, so we can put more Americans to work and bolster our nation’s sealift capacity.”

“The Jones Act assures that the nation has a reliable and accessible domestic merchant fleet of cargo vessels, the sailors to operate them, and the shipyards to build and repair them. Our domestic maritime shipping industry, as the PwC study details, is a key component of not just my state’s economy, but the economy of the nation,” said Rep. Alan Lowenthal, D-Calif. “From the Northern Mariana Island in the Pacific Ocean to my district’s own Port of Long Beach to the Port of Portland in Maine, Americans count on our domestic maritime shipping industry and those Americans — in fact the millions upon millions of Americans touched by the Jones Act and our domestic maritime industry each day — can count on my unwavering support. American workers supporting American industry supporting the American economy and American national security. That is what, the Jones Act, and the domestic maritime shipping industry, are all about.”

“The state of California is a leader in the domestic maritime industry, supporting nearly 52,000 family-wage jobs and contributing over $12.21 billion to the local economy,” said James 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 the American Maritime Partnership. "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.”  

“As the fourth-largest domestic maritime state in the U.S., California’s 51,250 maritime, shipbuilding and repair jobs continue to demonstrate the strength our industry brings to the economic and national security of our nation,” said Matthew Paxton, president of the Shipbuilders Council of America.  “The men and women who work in shipyards in California build, maintain and repair some of the most innovative commercial and military vessels in the world, and represent a strong industrial base that reaches across the nation.”

"As a proud U.S. company and Jones Act carrier, our investment in this new ship is about much more than maintaining a high level of service to Hawaii. It also helps drive substantial economic benefits and opportunities in communities around the Pacific, where this vessel will operate," said Chairman Matt Cox following the Saturday christening ceremony of Matson's newest ship. "These are all living wage jobs, supporting the families of American workers, the taxes they pay and the local impact they make all flow from this one ship. Multiply that by all the ships NASSCO and other U.S. shipyards are building, and you get a sense of the value of the maritime industry to our country and its economy."

"It’s a very exciting time to be a shipbuilder at NASSCO, with the combination of Navy and commercial work surrounding us, it's an appropriate occasion to talk about the importance of the Jones Act," said Kevin Graney, president of General Dynamics NASSCO. "Without the Jones Act, large commercial shipbuilding in the United States would simply cease to exist, and with it the manufacturing technology, processes and most importantly the skilled hands that bring ships like Lurline to life, the Jones Act is more important today than ever before as we face near-peer adversaries across the globe and a strategic need to build and repair ships vital to our national security."

“We are proud to employ nearly 1,200 team members across California, with 500 based at National City Marine Terminal at the Port of San Diego,” said George Pasha IV, president and CEO of The Pasha Group. “Next year, we celebrate 30 years at the San Diego waterfront, two new U.S.-built, LNG-fueled containerships joining Pasha Hawaii’s California-Hawaii fleet, and greener terminal operations to reduce emissions. Our people have been the heart of our operations since my grandfather founded the company over 70 years ago, and we continue to invest in the future of the communities we serve.”

Thanks to the Jones Act, the domestic maritime industry sustains approximately 650,000 American jobs 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. There are more than 40,000 American vessels — built in American shipyards, crewed by American mariners, and owned by American companies — that operate in our waters 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

By Professional Mariner Staff