Study shows Great Lakes home to 20 percent of Jones Act jobs

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

(DETROIT) — The American Maritime Partnership, the voice of the domestic maritime industry, on Tuesday joined elected officials, business leaders, and maritime advocates from the eight Great Lakes states to proudly announce new economic benefits of the industry to the entire 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 throughout the Great Lakes region, where the PwC report shows 123,670 Jones Act-related jobs – or 20 percent of the national total – are based. Between 2011 and 2016, maritime employment in the region increased by 25,400 jobs. Overall, the industry generates $30 billion of economic activity and $8.45 billion in worker income in the eight Great Lakes states. 

The Jones Act requires that the transportation of merchandise between all U.S. points be reserved for U.S.-built, -owned, -crewed, and -documented vessels. By enabling the domestic shipping industry to flourish, the law is not only a vital anchor for economic strength and job creation for the Great Lakes states, but also a pillar for the entire nation’s prosperity and security.

“With our Great Lakes and rich maritime history, it’s no surprise this industry is an important part of Michigan’s economy,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. “The Jones Act helps ensure that these jobs stay in Michigan and that this American industry continues to thrive.”

“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. Ohio’s ports and shipping industry provide good-paying jobs and these workers play a key role in our nation’s economy,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.  

“Today’s report confirms our course: invest in our maritime assets and prepare our workforce for the maritime jobs of the future. 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,” said Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio. “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.”

“The Jones Act has played a critical role in supporting the American maritime industry in Michigan,” said Rep. Jack Bergman, R-Mich.. “U.S.-flagged ships support our national defense, boost our local economies, and contribute to a rich cultural history in northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. Our maritime industry has been a major driver for the Michigan economy for decades. It’s imperative we protect American Jobs, American business, and the American maritime industry.”

“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 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.”

“I commend the initiative of the American Maritime Partnership and the Transportation Institute to quantify and demonstrate the essential contribution of the shipbuilding and maritime industry to the strength of our national economy and our national security,” said Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Ind. “I have been a long-time supporter of the Jones Act and appreciate the dedicated work of the shipping industry in northwest Indiana to grow our economy and also remain dedicated to improving the environment. We must continue to do all we can to support good-paying shipbuilding and maritime job opportunities in the Great Lakes State of Indiana and throughout our nation.” 

"This impressive new study confirms just how vital the maritime industry is for Erie, for Pennsylvania, and for our entire country,” said Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa. “Nearly 15,000 family-sustaining jobs and over $1 billion in worker income in Pennsylvania alone are supported by American maritime, from shipyards like Donjon in Erie to the vessels they build to the businesses that depend on them. It is why I continue to be a strong supporter of the Jones Act, which keeps our commercial fleet American-owned, -built, and -operated, which also enables it to readily assist our military in times of war and emergency." 

“The Jones Act is not only critical to maintaining a strong domestic maritime industry that is able to assist in times of war and emergency, it’s also important to the economy and jobs around the Great Lakes,” said Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill. “Nearly 20,000 jobs in Illinois are in the maritime sector, which contributes nearly $5 billion to our state’s economy — including more than $480 million in worker income in the shipyard industry.” 

“I have always been a strong supporter of the American maritime industry and its workers,” said Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Ill. “This new comprehensive report from the American Maritime Partnership highlights the importance of the Jones Act in protecting maritime jobs in Illinois and across the country. The Jones Act is a rising tide that lifts all boats and I will continue to be a strong advocate for it in Congress.”

“America's maritime shipping industry is a critical to our national security and a significant contributor to Illinois' economy,” said Rep. Mike Bost, R-Ill. “Approximately 19,500 Illinois workers are employed by shipyards, marine terminals, and vessels that move many hundreds of tons of domestically produced agriculture, mining and manufacturing products.”

“The Great Lakes states are leaders in the domestic maritime industry, supporting nearly 125,000 family-wage jobs and contributing over $30 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 who 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.”   

“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.”

“The men and women who work in shipyards in the Great Lakes states 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,” said Matthew Paxton, President of the Shipbuilders Council of America. “That hard work is realized through the over 123,600 maritime, shipbuilding, and repair jobs fueled by the Jones Act in the Great Lakes region, and further demonstrates the strength that our industry brings to the economic and national security of our nation.”

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.

By Professional Mariner Staff