Secretary Chao: American Maritime Hero

Secretary Chao: American Maritime Hero

Transportation Institute Congratulates Secretary Chao for
‘American Maritime Hero’ Honor

Honor bestowed as part of national campaign to celebrate America’s rich maritime history in Centennial Year of the U.S. Merchant Marine Act

WASHINGTON – The Transportation Institute (TI), a leading maritime association which advocates and works for sound national maritime policy in the United States, is joining in the celebration of a new campaign to honor specific Americans for selfless, courageous, and innovative contributions to the nation’s maritime industry and history.

One of the inaugural “American Maritime Heroes,” as announced this week by the American Maritime Partnership (AMP), is the Honorable Elaine Chao, the 18th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation. The campaign praised Secretary Chao as “the best transportation secretary ever for the U.S. maritime industry” and credited the award to her “knowledge about, experience in, and commitment to U.S. shipping.”

“On behalf of our entire organization, I send my enthusiastic congratulations to Secretary Chao for this wonderful recognition,” said James L. Henry, Chairman and President of the Transportation Institute. “Her tireless support for the U.S.-flag maritime industry and the three pillars that support it – the Jones Act, the Maritime Security Program, and Cargo Preference – has made a profound difference in bolstering America’s economic strength and national security. I have had the pleasure to know the Secretary for nearly 30 years and can proudly attest to her passion for always supporting American mariners and American-flag maritime transportation companies.”

A longtime American civil servant, Secretary Chao was also recognized for her years of dedicated service to the men and women of the maritime industry in previous roles, including: deputy maritime administrator at the U.S. Maritime Administration; chair of the Federal Maritime Commission; deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation; and Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor.

Also honored as inaugural “American Maritime Heroes” in AMP’s announcement were the U.S. merchant mariners of World War II for “their bravery and contribution to the Allied victory nearly 75 years ago.” Over the course of the war, these mariners helped construct and operate thousands of merchant vessels and naval auxiliaries in what the U.S. Maritime Administration calls “the greatest industrial shipbuilding and ship operations effort ever seen.” As the world commemorates the 75th anniversary of D-Day, TI is proud to join AMP and all Americans is saluting the mariners of that generation for their patriotic service that ultimately helped preserve civilization as we know it.

According to AMP, the American Maritime Heroes celebration will culminate on June 5, 2020, the 100th anniversary of the enactment of the U.S. Merchant Marine Act of 1920, also known as the Jones Act, a crucial national and economic security law that ensures the safe transportation of goods and people between two U.S. points via American– built, owned, and crewed vessels.

About the American Maritime Industry

The U.S. Merchant Marine Act (the Jones Act) is an anchor for U.S. economic and national security interests. Supported since its enactment by broad bipartisan majorities in Congress and top U.S. national security officials, the law promotes the maintenance of the nation’s vitally important maritime industrial base, ensuring that American jobs are not shipped overseas and that defense capabilities and readiness are not outsourced to foreign nations.

The Maritime Security Program (MSP) – passed by Congress in 1996 and reauthorized in 2003 and 2013 – maintains a 60-ship U.S.-flag fleet providing military access to vessels and a global intermodal transportation network. Along with vessels, it also provides logistics management services, infrastructure, terminals facilities, and U.S. citizen merchant mariners to crew both government and commercial fleets.

The Cargo Preference program – instituted by the Military Cargo Preference Act of 1904 and the Cargo Preference Act of 1954 – promotes and encourages a strong U.S.-flag commercial fleet by requiring shippers to use U.S.-flag vessels to transport government-impelled ocean-borne cargoes, including: 100% of military cargo; 100% Export Import Bank cargo; at least 50% of civilian agencies cargo; and at least 50% of agricultural cargoes.

The domestic maritime industry proudly employs nearly 650,000 Americans across all 50 states, and the District of Columbia, and contributes $154 billion to the nation’s economic growth annually. The Jones Act workforce represents a variety of career paths, including employees who are military veterans and earn family-waged salaries. Collectively, this industrial base accounts for $41 billion in American labor income annually.

The 40,000 vessels that comprise the Jones Act fleet move nearly one billion tons of cargo annually  or roughly a quarter of the nation’s freight  along U.S. internal waterways, across the Great Lakes, and over the oceans to Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. territories. Shipped goods include a variety of products, from raw materials and commodities like coal and crude oil to consumer products that fill the shelves of grocery stores nationwide.

In a growing economy  where job creation continues to flourish at historic levels  the Jones Act remains the quintessential ‘Buy American, Hire American’ law, one that puts American workers first and is critically important for guaranteeing our national security and maintaining our defense industrial base.

# # #

About Transportation Institute

Transportation Institute (TI) was established in 1967 as a non-profit organization dedicated to maritime research education and promotion. The Institute participates in all phases of the nation’s deep-sea, foreign and domestic shipping trades, and barge and tugboat operations on the Great Lakes and on the vast network of America’s inland waterways. Many member company vessels are contracted to the U.S. military services. All are of U.S. registry — crewed by American citizens operating under the world’s highest safety standards, and proudly flying the American flag. With offices on the East and West coasts, Transportation Institute supports a wide range of programs that promote the strength of America’s capability.

Media Contact: TIMedia @


Comments are closed.