Maritime Industries Contribute More Than One Trillion Dollars To The Annual GDP, Aug 15, 2005

That commerce travels through 3.4 million square miles of exclusive economic zone and along more than 95,000 miles of coastline, dotted by about 360 seaports.

Every year, more than 7,500 ships make port calls - carrying 6.5 million passengers, six million containers and one billion tons of petroleum.

All in all, 95 percent of our commerce is carried through our seaports.  And there's no let-up on the horizon:  worldwide, intermodal shipping is expected to increase by two-thirds over the next six years; world trade is projected to double by 2020.  To sustain our prosperity, we must be able to accommodate this increase.

Our ships and ports are more valuable to the global economy than any other mode of transportation - and, I would suggest, more vulnerable, especially to an enemy whose self-professed desire is to "destroy our economy."

After September 11th, it took days to restore movement by aviation; the aftermath of losing several ports would be measured in months, if not years.

Remember that the impact of a relatively benign labor strike on the West Coast two years ago was a not-so-benign $20 billion or more.

The threat is real.  Now, the biggest challenge facing our marine transportation system is to ensure that legitimate cargo is not needlessly delayed as we and other nations institute new security measures

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