USA - Opinion: A Bipartisan Boost for Dredging, the Economy, and the Environment
When leadership at the White House changes parties, you can expect a shift in priorities and policies. In one case, however, continuity is welcome, as President Biden has voiced his support for Buy American and the Jones Act, which are especially beneficial to the maritime and dredging industries.
While the benefits of these pro-American policies extend beyond maritime and dredging, they’re also a recognition of our essential, if underappreciated subtle role in the economy. It provides our companies and workers with an opportunity to not only invest and expand, but also to educate Americans about the role the largely unseen dredging industry plays in our lives.
I doubt anyone shopping at Walmart or Target gives much of a thought to the dredging industry while picking up groceries or birthday gifts for the kids. But, whether they know it or not, virtually everything we find on our store shelves, whether made in America or not, at some point travelled on a ship. We take pride in the role dredging plays in keeping cargoes moving by providing our services to America’s ports.
To keep up with the growth of global commerce, the dredging industry is one of the first calls a port makes to help it expand and to widen and deepen channels to safely accommodate fleets of ever-growing international trading vessels that call on them. The dredging and marine construction industry make it happen to keep cargoes moving and our economy growing.
If Americans aren’t thinking about dredging when they shop, they certainly aren’t doing it when they’re on vacation. Yet we play an essential role in protecting America’s shorelines through beach reclamation.
Our nation benefits from more than 95,000 miles of coastline and, according to NOAA, more than $3 trillion of investment in dwellings, resorts, infrastructure, and other real estate sit on just the Atlantic and Gulf coasts alone. Our industry protects those investments by using innovation and technology to excavate accumulated deposits and transfer appropriate-quality sand to replenish beaches and barrier islands.