'Integral part of the cruise ecosystem'
'Cruise ports are an integral part of the cruise industry ecosystem, and, as such, are experiencing enormously detrimental financial impacts as a result of this crisis,' AAPA President & CEO Christopher Connor said in a letter to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.
'Cruise operations would not exist without ports, and, accordingly, cruise ports must also be backstopped when consumer confidence falls. Public port authorities in the United States provide the space and related infrastructure for cruise lines to operate,' Connor continued.
'US port authorities are the entities making the capital investments that allow all modes of waterborne transportation, including cruise ships, to function efficiently and deliver goods and services all across America.'
13m cruisers, hefty economic impact
AAPA noted ports are key to the more than 13m international cruise-goers who bring significant tourism dollars to communities across America.
The association said the US cruise industry had a total economic impact of more than $52.7bn in 2018, a 10% increase over 2016. 2018 also saw a new peak in the cruise industry’s US spending. Passengers and crew spent a record $23.96bn on goods and services while cruise activities generated 421,711 domestic jobs, resulting in more than $23.15bn in wages and salaries.
In addition to including assistance for cruise ports in any aid package considered by the Trump administration and the Congress, AAPA recommended several ways the federal government could help weather the downturn in economic activity resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.
The association would like to see a boost in the Port Intermodal Investment Program grants that advance technology-supported safety and design efficiency improvements, help improve resilience to withstand weather-related crises and help leverage private and local investments for shovel-ready projects like terminal construction and harbor expansions.
Furthermore, AAPA requested the repeal of the '301' China tariffs as a way to increase domestic consumer spending and help American manufacturing.