CLEVELAND — The Great Lakes Maritime Task Force on Monday released its annual report for 2021.
The report includes GLMTF accomplishments, including progress on the Great Lakes dredging crisis, efficient funding of the new large navigational lock in Marie, Mich., and pending legislation to improve U.S. Coast Guard ice-breaking performance measures along with funding for a new heavy Great Lakes icebreaker.
Other priorities for the Task Force include appropriating sufficient federal funding for the state maritime academies, including the Great Lakes Maritime Academy in Traverse City, Mich., smart ballast water regulations that are uniform across the Great Lakes binational navigation system, continued strict adherence to the Jones Act, which is a cornerstone of U.S. national security, increased use of waterways for short-distance shipping, and support for Great Lakes shipyards with federal tax policies that encourage modernization with investment tax credits.
The report also highlights the rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic as Great Lakes ports continue to surge with increased cargo numbers across the board.
“Virtually every Great Lakes port has seen an increase in activity,” said Jim Weakley, the newly elected president of the GLMTF. “Maintaining this momentum is critical as the economy continues to recover from the COVID pandemic.”
The Great Lakes Maritime Task Force, with 74 members, is the largest coalition to speak for the Great Lakes Navigation System. Advocating for domestic and international shipping, its members represent labor and management from U.S.-flag vessel operators, shipboard and longshore unions, port authorities, cargo shippers, terminal operators, shipyards and other Great Lakes interests.
The Great Lakes commercial maritime industry supports more than 147,000 American jobs in eight Great Lakes states and generates more than $25 billion in economic activity.