Florida’s Domestic Maritime Industry Is Critical to Economic and National Security of America

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.

“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.”

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.

More on National Maritime Day

May 22 was declared National Maritime Day in 1933 to honor the SS Savannah’s departure from Georgia to England in 1819 to become the first successful steam-powered ship to successfully cross any ocean. Since the SS Savannah’s ocean voyage, the American maritime industry has served as a critical economic engine in the United States and an essential partner with U.S. armed forces in local and global waterways.




American Maritime Partnership (AMP) is the voice of the U.S. domestic maritime industry, a pillar of our nation’s economic, national, and homeland security. More than 40,000 American vessels built in American shipyards, crewed by American mariners, and owned by American companies, operate in our waters 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and this commerce sustains nearly 650,000 American jobs, $41.6 billion in labor compensation, and more than $154.8 billion in annual economic output. You can learn more by visiting www.americanmaritimepartnership.com

Florida Maritime Partnership (FMP) represents the state’s vibrant domestic maritime industry. Our diverse membership includes vessel owners and operators, shipboard and shoreside workers, shipbuilders and repair yards, equipment manufacturers and vendors, dredging and marine construction contractors, numerous maritime associations, and national security organizations that all recognize a strong domestic maritime industry is critical for America’s economic, national, and homeland security, and is best supported by maintaining the Jones Act as the foundation of America’s domestic maritime policy. To learn more, visit www.floridamaritimepartnership.com

Enterprise Florida (EFI), the state’s lead commerce agency, serves as a catalyst for economic development by promoting Florida as a premier business destination and expanding the state’s economy through private-sector job creation. At the forefront of economic development in Florida, EFI is responsible for rolling out the red carpet to business and industry and supporting industry clusters by serving as a lead partner connecting businesses with state and local resources. As a public-private partnership of Florida’s business and government leaders, EFI facilitates job growth through recruitment and retention, business growth through international trade and exporting programs, promotion of the sports industry, promotion and protection of Florida’s military bases, and capital funding programs to assist small and minority businesses. EFI works closely with a statewide network of economic development partners, including DEO, to showcase Florida as the leading state for business. To learn more, visit: www.enterpriseflorida.com