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Florida Maritime Industry Critical to Economic and National Security of America

Posted on May 23, 2023

Florida’s Economy Bolstered By America’s Maritime Industry 65,000+ Jobs, More Than $14.6 Billion in Economic Benefits  

JACKSONVILLE, FL – Florida Secretary of Commerce Laura DiBella joined the American Maritime Partnership (AMP) and the Florida Maritime Partnership- in Jacksonville on this National Maritime Day, May 22, to highlight the economic benefits that the over 65,000 men and women of American maritime bring to the nation and the Sunshine State. (Pic above)

“Our nation would not be where it is today without its robust maritime industry,” said Laura DiBella, Florida Secretary of Commerce and President & CEO of Enterprise Florida. “Economic development would not exist without maritime as there are not enough planes, trains, or trucks on this planet to support the amount of cargo moved by ships. This industry is an important economic driver for the state, and it is crucial to move goods throughout the country. Enterprise Florida is proud to celebrate National Maritime Day and those who have dedicated their careers to serving others.”

“TOTE is honored to call Florida home and we are proud of the many contributions our employees, vendors, partners and peers make to help drive one of our state’s greatest economic engines – the domestic maritime industry – which contributes nearly $15 billion to Florida’s economy each year,” said Christopher Smith of TOTE, a leading domestic carrier based in Jacksonville. “TOTE and our industry peers serve as a vital marine highway delivering consumers goods and essential cargo between the mainland U.S. and Puerto Rico and supporting more than 68,000 domestic maritime jobs and close to $4 billion in related labor income throughout the State of Florida and on the island.“

“The over 65,000 men and women of Florida’s domestic maritime industry work tirelessly to fuel our state and keep cargo moving reliably on American-owned and operated vessels,” said Florida Maritime Partnership vice president David Wood of Crowley, a privately-held, U.S.-owned and operated logistics, marine, and energy solutions company based in Jacksonville. “Today we celebrate their efforts and remind our fellow Floridians of the important role American maritime plays for our economic and national security.”

“The Jones Act is an essential element of energy security for Florida, where 90 percent of our petroleum products are transported by ship through our ports,” said Florida Maritime Partnership treasurer Susan Allan of Overseas Shipholding Group (OSG), a Tampa-based provider of liquid bulk energy transportation services delivering crude oil and petroleum products throughout the United States. “After Hurricane Ian’s landfall, OSG and other domestic-flag tankers were the first to arrive in Port Tampa Bay and Port Everglades to refuel the state. That is our industry’s ongoing commitment to our fellow Americans.”

“As we recognize National Maritime Day, Eastern Shipbuilding Group is proud to be a leader in Florida’s growing presence in the maritime industry. We are the largest employer in NWFL with shipyards across the gulf that support major commercial and government shipbuilding programs,” said Joey D’Isernia, CEO of Eastern Shipbuilding Group, Inc. “As the prime for the Offshore Patrol Cutter, our company supports more than 200 hundred businesses in more than half of the United States and provides tremendous economic opportunity to our area. This is an industry we must continue to innovate and promote for our national and economic security.”

Florida’s domestic maritime industry is remarkably diverse, including significant elements of all three major aspects of the industry: vessel operating companies, ship construction and repair yards, and maritime industry workers and retirees.

The maritime industry in Jacksonville also provides reliable, dependable service to and from Puerto Rico, which benefits from superior carrier performance, stability and security because of the Jones Act. Puerto Rico is serviced by modern, state-of-the-art vessels, such as the world’s first LNG-powered container ship, as part of domestic operators’ recent investments in the trade totaling nearly $1 billion. A separate study by EY estimates that the domestic maritime industry supports over 2000 jobs on the island.

The maritime industry in the United States is supported by the Jones Act, a foundational domestic and national security law that requires that the transportation of cargo between all U.S. points be carried by American-built, American-crewed and American-owned vessels.

The Economic Impact of the Jones Act on Florida 

According to the findings of a recent study conducted by PwC on behalf of the Transportation Institute (TI), the American maritime industry supports 65,990 jobs and $14.6 billion annual economic impact in Florida. Nationwide, the industry sustains nearly 650,000 American jobs, $41.6 billion in labor compensation, and more than $154.8 billion in annual economic output.

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