Wenatchee, Washington State Ferries. Photo: MM&P

Wenatchee, Washington State Ferries. Photo: MM&P

A group of lawmakers this week announced the establishment of a new congressional caucus focused on raising awareness amongst members of Congress on a broad range of maritime-related topics and legislative initiatives.

The caucus, known as the Congressional Maritime Caucus, is being led by U.S. Representative Cedric Richmond (LA-02), along with co-chair Michael G. Grimm (NY-11), and will function as a devoted ally of pretty much all components of the U.S. maritime industry.

“The maritime industry is the unsung hero of our nation’s economy,” said Rep. Richmond. “From Alaska to Puerto Rico, Louisiana to New York, every day this industry facilitates trade and delivers energy resources that support millions of jobs and pays billions in state and federal taxes every year. I also look forward to highlighting the role other industries play in supporting maritime commerce, be it in the fields of law, engineering, shipbuilding or insurance.”

America’s ports employ approximately 13.3 million workers nationwide with international trade accounting for more than 25 percent of America’s gross domestic product, according to a statement by Rep. Richmond. Meanwhile, U.S. seaport activities generate more than $3.15 trillion in annual economic output, with $3.8 billion worth of goods moving in and out of seaports every day around the country, the statement added.

“The maritime industry is at the heart of New York City’s economic vitality – from our thriving shipping industry to the Staten Island Ferry,” said Rep. Grimm. “As the representative of Staten Island and Brooklyn, I am proud to have the New York Container Terminal in my district that employs hundreds of hard-working men and women. I am honored to co-chair the Congressional Maritime Caucus with Rep. Richmond, and look forward to working with him in support of issues that matter most to our nation’s maritime industry.”

The maritime industry has played the vital role of connecting people, goods and information worldwide. Every day, the maritime industry facilitates trade and commerce, creates jobs. It delivers energy resources, supports offshore energy exploration, dredges our waterways, secures our borders and supports our military. Onshore, the industry is supported by all manner of professionals in fields such as law, insurance, logistics, ship building and repair, security, environmental science, engineering, management and workforce training. – U.S. Representative Cedric Richmond (LA-02)

Captain Don Marcus, President of the International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots (MM&P), hailed the establishment of the new caucus, commenting: “Today’s announcement that Congressmen Cedric Richmond and Michael Grimm will form a Congressional Maritime Caucus means that every member of Congress will have an opportunity to better understand the crucial role that the U.S.-flag maritime industry and its workforce of ‘maritime Americans’ play in strengthening our nation’s economic, military and homeland security.”

Marcus added that to help spread the message, the Masters, Mates & Pilots Union and others in the U.S.-flag maritime industry have joined forces to create local maritime action committees throughout the country. The grassroots groups will help bring home to members of Congress the fact that a strong maritime industry is good for their districts, states and constituents.

Rep Richmond concluded: “I am confident that this Caucus will be a voice for the entire maritime industry, one that stresses how critical this industry is to sustaining our economic recovery. I’m proud to have Congressman Michael Grimm as a co-chair and I look forward to working with him to ensure that U.S. maritime policy meets the challenges of the 21st century.”

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