The MTD Executive Board hailed through a statement the recent creation of the Congressional Maritime Caucus when the board met February 21-22 near Orlando, FL.
The body noted the caucus will play an important role in maintaining the integrity of the U.S.-flag maritime industry during these tough economic times. From standing with the Jones Act to support for domestic shipbuilding, the MTD, its affiliates and its Port Maritime Councils pledged to work with the bipartisan members of the caucus.
To show that support, the MTD Executive Board renewed its call “to promote and protect” the Jones Act (America’s preeminent maritime freight cabotage law) and “to maintain and promote America’s shipbuilding capability.” Both the Jones Act and domestic shipbuilders are fighting off attacks from overseas interests.
- CONGRESSIONAL MARITIME CAUCUS: “The U.S.-flag maritime industry has never been a partisan issue. It is an American issue,” noted the Executive Board in its statement.
“That is why the MTD is proud that the House of Representatives has created its Congressional Maritime Caucus in the bipartisan tradition that our industry understands and respects.”
The caucus is headed by the two members who addressed the board last year: Reps. Michael Grimm (R-NY) and Cedric Richmond (D-LA). These elected officials noted the caucus “will function as a devoted ally of all components of the maritime industry and will work to raise awareness among members of Congress on a broad range of issues.”
The statement added that the U.S. “maritime industry generates more than $3 trillion in annual economic output with almost $4 billion worth of goods moving in and out of America’s seaports daily.”
- JONES ACT: The Executive Board remarked that once again the Jones Act is under attack. In its statement, the board cited several recent efforts that had nothing to do with the Jones Act to dilute the measure by foreign interests. Citing a study by the non-profit Lexington Institute, a respected Washington-based think tank, the statement noted, “The Jones Act has a significantly positive effect on U.S. national and economic security, providing hundreds of thousands of American jobs and pumping billions of dollars into the economy.”
Quoting the institute directly, the statement continues, “Although the Jones Act was not written with today’s threats to homeland security in mind, its provisions provide an important base on which to build the systems, processes and procedures needed to secure America. The provisions in the Jones Act regarding vessel ownership and manning simplify efforts to ensure that rogue regimes and international terrorists cannot strike at this country via its ports and waterways.
“One could readily assert that were there no Jones Act, Congress would have to invent one.”
- AMERICA’S SHIPYARDS: The Executive Board acknowledged the hard work being done by union members in yards along the Atlantic, Gulf, Pacific and Great Lakes: “Like their brothers and sisters aboard ship, they deliver.”
In its statement, the board noted, “Like other components of the maritime industry, our nation’s shipyards play a vital role in helping to maintain U.S. national and economic security. They’re also an indispensable part of our manufacturing base.”
While pointing out the losses domestic shipyards have taken, “There are reasons to believe in a turnaround, not the least of which are the shining examples of world-class tonnage being built at union shipyards on all four coasts. From the mobile landing platforms and joint high-speed vessels and LNG-powered containerships constructed on the West Coast, to the Jones Act tankers built in the northeast, to the z-drive tugs and ATB’S manufactured in the Gulf to the littoral ships from the Great Lakes, American workers at American yards are proving once again that they take a back seat to no one around the globe.”