AWO Launches Economics Study of U.S. Tugboat, Towboat and Barge Industry
ARLINGTON, Va. — The American Waterways Operators (AWO) launched on July 24 a study documenting the contribution of the American tugboat, towboat and barge industry to the U.S. economy, the association said in a release of the same date.
The study, developed through a cooperative agreement between AWO and the Maritime Administration (MARAD) and conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, explores the industry’s economic contributions to employment, gross domestic product and taxes at the national and state levels; details the types and quantities of vital commodities transported on American waterways; and compares waterborne transport to other modes of freight transport in terms of efficiency, environmental impact and public safety.
Highlights from the PricewaterhouseCoopers study include:
■ Jobs and GDP (Gross Domestic Product). The tugboat, towboat and barge industry supports more than 300,000 jobs nationwide — including 50,000 in the industry itself, 38,000 of which are onboard vessels — and has a total annual impact on GDP of $33.8 billion.
■ Cargo moved. The industry annually moves more than 760 million tons of cargo that fuels the American economy, including critical commodities like petroleum, agricultural products, chemicals, coal and manufactured goods.
■ Efficiency and environmental benefit. One inland dry cargo barge can haul 1,750 tons of dry cargo, the equivalent of 16 bulk rail cars or 70 tractor trailers, with greater fuel efficiency and fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
“AWO could not be prouder to unveil this PricewaterhouseCoopers study thoroughly quantifying what the dedicated men and women who make up the tugboat, towboat and barge industry have long known, from decades of first-hand experience — the extent to which maritime freight transport serves as a critical pillar of the American economy,” said Tom Allegretti, AWO president and chief executive officer. “We are especially pleased to have partnered with MARAD to produce this invaluable resource, and we look forward to using it to educate policymakers, the media and the public about the role this industry plays in fueling our nation’s prosperity.”
“The maritime industry enables the movement of goods and cargo quickly, efficiently, and at low cost between producers and markets along our nation’s waterways,” said Joel Szabat, MARAD executive director. “Waterborne commerce opened up our nation to trade and helped transform a fledgling democracy into the economic superpower it is today. Energy efficient water transport continues to play a pivotal part in our nation’s transportation system and helps make America’s economy more competitive.”