Southeast Louisiana leads the nation in maritime jobs

(iStock) Port of New Orleans

Southeast Louisiana leads the nation in American maritime workers, with 33,590 jobs and nearly $9 billion in economic impact, a new study shows.

Citing a forthcoming Transportation Institute report on the Jones Act, House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) says the study conducted by PriceWaterhouseCoopers found that between 2011 and 2016, 8,540 new Jones Act jobs were created in Louisiana’s First Congressional District. The district comprises parts of eight Louisiana parishes that includes Orleans Parish.

Louisiana overall has 70,780 Jones Act jobs with an $18.2 billion economic impact, according to the study, while nationally, the maritime industry supports 648,220 jobs and generates a $154.8 billion economic impact.

“The Jones Act is not only a vital piece of America’s national security strategy, but a pillar of economic strength and job creation for the district,” Scalise said in a prepared statement announcing the results of the study. “These jobs are critical to the transportation of goods and to offshore energy exploration and production in the United States.”

The Jones Act is a national security statute enacted to prevent U.S. dependence on foreign vessels and preserve a ready reserve force for times of war. Specifically, this law states that the transportation of merchandise between U.S. points is reserved for U.S.-built, owned, and documented vessels.

It is a controversial measure that has been suspended from time to time in the wake of natural disasters to ensure the speedy delivery of supplies to devastated areas. Officials in  Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico say that the law increases shipping costs for goods from the mainland, which are then passed on to consumers. President Donald Trump suspended the law in the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma to allow ships to move gas from the north to Texas and Florida while refineries and pipelines in the south were shut down.

“I am proud to announce that Louisiana’s First Congressional District supports the most Jones Act jobs in the entire nation,” Scalise said. “From the Mississippi River to Port Fourchon, the maritime community in Southeast Louisiana keeps our state and our country’s economies moving. With 33,590 domestic maritime jobs, the first district alone generates roughly $9 billion in annual economic impact for the state.”

Read the full announcement.