Maritime Industry Congressional Sail-In

On April 10, 2024, more than 120 officials and representatives from U.S.-flag shipping companies, American maritime labor unions, State Maritime Academies, the US Merchant Marine Academy Alumni Foundation, and related U.S.-flag maritime associations and organizations traveled to Capitol Hill for the twelfth Maritime Industry Congressional Sail-In. The maritime industry leaders spent the day meeting with Senators, Representatives and their staffs to discuss the importance of the U.S. flag merchant marine to our Nation’s economic, military and homeland security. Speaking with one voice, they emphasized that as China rapidly expands its domination and control over both the transportation of foreign trade and the world’s ocean shipping supply chain, it is more important than ever that our nation has the U.S.-flag shipping industry and American merchant mariners needed to serve as a deterrent to China and to provide the commercial sealift readiness capability needed by the Department of Defense to support American troops deployed overseas. The Members of Congress were asked to work with our industry to increase the number of vessels operating under the U.S.-flag, to increase the share of cargo carried by U.S.-flag vessels, and to increase the number of maritime jobs available to American merchant mariners as a means to bolster America’s economy and to strengthen America’s national security.

In addition, the 2024 Maritime Sail-In served as the vehicle for the USA Maritime Coalition to present its first ever Maritime Leadership Award to Congressman Rob Wittman in recognition of his longstanding vigorous support for the U.S.-flag fleet operating in the foreign trades.  Throughout his career in the House of Representatives, and in his numerous leadership positions on the Committee on Armed Services, Congressman Wittman has worked tirelessly to ensure that our country has the U.S.-flag commercial sealift readiness capability and American mariners needed in time of war or other international emergency by the Department of Defense.  As noted by USA Maritime Chair Chris Johnsen when presenting the award to Congressman Wittman, “the U.S.-flag deep sea fleet and its cadre of American mariners have no better friend and stronger supporter than Congressman Rob Wittman.”

Also during the 2024 Maritime Sail-In, the Great Lakes Maritime Task Force honored Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow with the organization’s first lifetime achievement award, recognizing her longstanding dedication to safeguarding the Great Lakes Navigation System and bolstering American jobs within the U.S.-flag Great Lakes shipping industry.  Jim Weakley, Vice President of the Great Lakes Maritime Task Force and President of the Lake Carriers’ Association, highlighted, that the “Task Force is grateful for Senator Stabenow’s service to our country, the Great Lakes Region, and the State of Michigan. Senator Stabenow is truly a champion for the Great Lakes watershed and the healthy marine transportation system it supports.”