Maritime Industry Statistics

Is this a living industry?

When you think about transportation, trucking might come to mind, or, if overseas services are needs, you may begin to picture airplanes (FYI – you can learn about trucking jobs in that section of JobMonkey).

Shipping by boat seems like a fairly old-fashioned method, and it’s tempting to wonder if
this is even a large industry anymore.

However, the numbers are staggering.

The Maritime Industry is a Staple Industry in the United States

According to the Maritime Industry Foundation’s Maritime Knowledge Center, there are approximately 1.2 million people currently employed at sea in the maritime industry!

This doesn’t take into account all of the employees working in related maritime jobs on shore, such as those in the Navy or those working at docks. The maritime industry is booming, and it is still much less expensive that travel or transport by plane. The MIKC also reports that 90% of the world’s trade is done by ship. How’s that for an “old fashioned” industry? The maritime world is not dead.

Some more maritime industry statistics, from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration:

  • The United States increased container trade by 37% from 2010-2015. The average size of containers increased by 18%.
  • Cruises are beginning to leave from more varied ports. In the United States, the top 5 ports for departing cruises are Miami, Port Canaveral, Fort Lauderdale, Galveston, and Los Angeles. Other popular ports for cruises include San Juan, New York, Tampa, Seattle, Long Beach, and Honolulu.
  • Over the last five years, the largest growth in the United States maritime industry has been for offshore supply vessels.
  • As of October 2015, there were approximately 44,000 privately-owned ships operating out of the United States
  • Since 2010, there have been over 14,000 new positions created in the United States water transportation and port services industries.
  • Next to rail transportation, water transportation is the most energy efficient way to travel or ship items. Air travel is the least energy efficient.


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