Alaska – an Important Element in American Maritime Industry

The American Maritime Partnership (AMP), yesterday joined with the Transportation Institute, along with U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), U.S. Senator Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and U.S. Congressman Don Young (R-Alaska) to highlight new data from a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers that shows Alaska ranks third in the nation in per capita maritime jobs.

Alaska - Important Element in American Maritime Industry2

The study showed that thousands of Alaskan jobs are directly related to the domestic maritime industry and account for more than $1 billion in economic impact. Alaska’s navigable waterway network of more than 5,400 miles is the largest in the country and allows the state’s maritime industry to move commodities across Alaska’s 586,000 square miles.

For many Alaskan communities not accessible via road, our waterways are our highways, and the hard-working men and women of the state’s maritime industry provide a crucial transportation link that delivers essential fuel and supplies. With more than 5,400 miles of navigable waterways, it is no surprise that the state ranks third in the nation in maritime jobs per capita,” said Senator Murkowski. “The U.S. maritime industry, supported by the Jones Act, provides vital services necessary for Alaska’s economy and quality of life, and I appreciate the work of the American Maritime Partnership, the Transportation Institute and the many companies operating in the state who are making our maritime workforce strong today and for the future.

The U.S.-flagged fleet, enabled by strong support from the Jones Act, has been key to Alaska’s development and is the economic backbone of the state today. From moving our natural resources to market to transporting our armed forces overseas, to bringing in the commercial goods needed to keep the state running, Alaskans rely on the maritime industry in almost every aspect of our lives,Senator Mark Begich (D-Alaska) said. “I’m glad the Transportation Institute’s study has captured this snapshot of where we are as a maritime state, and I hope to use my chairmanship of the Oceans, Fisheries and Coast Guard subcommittee to make Alaska a worldwide hub for maritime activity as we move into the Arctic.

As a mariner myself, I recognize the crucial role the maritime industry plays in delivering goods to communities across the globe,” said Congressman Don Young (R-Alaska). “I am a strong supporter of the Jones Act, which I believe is necessary to maintaining a viable U.S. Merchant Marine fleet that keeps Alaskan communities fueled and supplied even in some of the world’s most challenging conditions. Alaska’s maritime industry is not only critical to our state’s economy, it is also an important part of our state’s identity.

Alaska’s maritime industry contributes more than $1 billion to the state’s economy every year and sustains more than $344 million in wages,Transportation Institute President Jim Henry said. “Alaska’s shipyard industry also plays an important role in the state’s economy by providing more than $108 million in annual economic impact, sustaining more than 1,100 associated jobs, and supporting more than $63.9 million in worker income in Alaska.

Alaska’s maritime industry also receives support from several private-sector efforts that have provided training, apprenticeship, and employment opportunities to hundreds of Alaskans in the past decade. The purpose of these initiatives is to provide maritime training, education and job placement to displaced fisherman, veterans, youth, and Alaska Natives.

Some of these initiatives include:

• A program supported by the Seafarers International Union and contracted companies in Alaska (Horizon Lines, Alaska Tanker Company, Seabulk, and TOTE, Inc.), to offer free training for maritime positions through the SIU-affiliated Paul Hall Center;

• Scholarships offered to Alaskan youth attending the California Maritime Academy through the “Alaskans for Alaskan Jobs in Transportation” program;

• The Lund Scholarship, named in honor of an Alaska Marine Highway System mariner, focused on providing scholarships to individuals who attended the Ketchikan School District and are interested in obtaining some form of maritime academic or vocational training; and

• A program supported by Crowley Maritime to advance Alaska Natives into licensed tug officers.

America’s domestic maritime industry includes approximately 40,000 vessels, supports more than 478,000 jobs, and has an annual economic impact of $92.5 billion according to the findings by PricewaterhouseCoopers. The industry also accounts for approximately $29 billion in wages and $10 billion in tax revenues.


AMP, March 21, 2014; Image: Wikimedia


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