Representatives of the tugboat, towboat and barge industry met with members of the US Congress to express their concerns and demands, including protection of the Jones Act and sustained investment in infrastructure.
The interaction of dozens of vessel owners and operators with numerous Congressmen and women comprised more than 200 meetings on Capitol Hill.
It is an annual event by which members of the American Waterways Operators (AWO) get to meet legislators.
The AWO is the trade body for the industry that moves freight on the country’s rivers and coasts as well as the Great Lakes and in its harbours.
AWO members emphasized the importance of maintaining the Jones Act at a time when voices have been raised about its continued relevance.
The Act, dating to 1920, mandates the use of US-made vessels to deliver cargo on US waters between US ports. It also requires that the vessels be US flagged, US owned and crewed by US citizens or permanent residents.
Officially called the Merchant Marine Act, it was intended to protect domestic shipbuilders from foreign competition almost a century ago.
Its defenders say it is also an important element of security and that it underpins an industry employing hundreds of thousands of people.
AWO representatives also called for maintaining the integrity of the infrastructure of inland waterways.