Building on the success last year’s inaugural event, the second annual Maritime Industry Congressional ‘Sail-In’ May 4 drew more than 180 industry representatives and accomplished visits to more than 161 Congressional offices.
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica (R-FL) addressed the audience of maritime company representatives, union officials and employees, merchant mariners and other industry professionals. In his keynote speech, he emphasized the need to bring maritime into the intermodal transportation planning process. He also said a maritime section would be part of the upcoming transportation reauthorization bill.
Maritime Administrator David Matsuda, also speaking at the event, highlighted the need to expand waterborne domestic shipping as a means of combating congestion and pollution as the population and freight needs grow.
The industry representatives met with members of Congress and their staffs to discuss issues key to the industry, building awareness of the obstacles to and benefits of waterborne transportation. In their office visits, participants stressed the vital role of the U.S. maritime industry in national defense Ã supplying necessary sealift in times of war and national emergency, and maintaining a pool of highly trained mariners to operate the vessels. They also highlighted the 1.6 million American jobs sustained by the U.S. maritime industry.