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A recently concluded study shows Alaska ranks third in per capita maritime jobs with an annual economic impact of more than $1 billion to the state.

The report was released last week by the American Maritime Partnership – which is made up of more than 400 labor, business and shipping groups representing the U.S.-flag maritime industry – as well as Alaska’s bipartisan congressional delegation and the Transportation Institute. Conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, it showed thousands of Alaskan jobs are directly related to the domestic maritime industry.

“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,’ stated Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). “The U.S. maritime industry, supported by the Jones Act, provides vital services necessary for Alaska’s economy and quality of life.”

“The U.S.-flagged fleet, enabled by the strong support from the Jones Act, has been key to Alaska’s development and is the economic backbone of the state today,’ added Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK). “From moving our natural resources to market to transporting our armed forces overseas, to bringing commercial goods needed to keep the state running, Alaskans rely on the maritime industry in almost every aspect of our lives. 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,” noted Rep. Don Young (R-AK), who is a longtime supporter of the industry and 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.”

Jim Henry, president of the non-profit Transportation Institute which is dedicated to maritime research education and promotion, pointed out that Alaska’s maritime industry “sustains more than $344 million in wages. 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.”

Additionally, the state’s maritime industry receives support for several private sector efforts that have provided training, apprenticeship and employment opportunities to hundreds Alaskans during the last ten years. Among these opportunities are a program offered by the MTD-affiliated Seafarers Union and its contracted companies sailing in Alaska to offer free maritime training through the joint union-company Paul Hall Center; scholarships for Alaskan youth to attend the California Maritime Academy; Lund Scholarships for those who attended the Ketchikan School District to obtain maritime academic or vocational training; and an effort supported by U.S.-flag Crowley Maritime to advance Alaskans into licensed tug officers.