The head of the U.S. Coast Guard, Commandant Karl Schultz, thanked the men and women of the U.S. merchant marine during his annual State of the Coast Guard address on March 11.
According to John Konrad of gCaptain, Schultz said, “I have to give a shout out to our U.S. Merchant Mariners who are the backbone of the marine transportation system.
“Last year the USCG made sure our mariners were categorized as essential workers. Annually they are responsible for $5.4 trillion in economic activity that America depends on. Throughout this pandemic U.S. Merchant Mariners kept products moving to ensure stores were stocked with medicine and critical supplies. Our nation’s 12,000 miles of commercially navigable inland waterways transport 570 million tons of cargo each year. It would take an extra 21 million large trucks on America’s congested highways to transport the same amount of cargo as tugs and barges do each and every year.”
Admiral Schultz added, “Make no doubt about it: we are a maritime nation and our waterways provide this nation with a tremendous global advantage.”