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FMC Issues Interim Report Examining Impacts to Eastern Seaboard

Commissioner Louis E. Sola, in a report, noted that the challenges being posed by the current pandemic on the cruise activity along the U.S. eastern seaboard are fluid and not easily met "Although the lower spring COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and increasing vaccination rate are encouraging, the appearance of new variants continues to cast uncertainty," the report noted. Commissioner Sola released early August the Economic Impact of COVID-19 on the Cruise Industry on the East Coast, the last in a series of interim reports issued as part of the ongoing Fact Finding 30 investigation he is conducting.

The report examines direct and indirect economic impacts to ports and cities of Baltimore, Boston, Charleston, New York, Norfolk, Bar Harbor and Portland, Maine. Though none of these cities’ economies relies exclusively on pleasure cruising, collectively, the industry generates more than $1 billion annually to the region.

Progress in achieving high vaccination rates of Americans has allowed the resumption of some cruise operations, continued restrictions on cruise ships calling on Canada from the United States will impact ports in New York/New Jersey, Maine, and Massachusetts, all which serve cruise vessels making northern voyages. Given the short duration of the U.S.-Canada cruise season, it is unlikely these ports will see any voyages between the countries in 2021.

This is the fifth and final in a series of Interim Reports issued by Commissioner Sola examining economic impacts to cities and states resulting from COVID-19 related impacts. Previous reports have focused on Florida, Alaska/Pacific Northwest, Texas/Gulf of Mexico, and U.S. Territories in the Caribbean.

“From region to region and from report to report, we found that the cruise industry is an important part of economies across the United States and confirmed the necessity of restarting this important driver for jobs and revenues,” said Commissioner Sola.

In April 2020, the Federal Maritime Commission voted to authorize Commissioner Sola to conduct Fact Finding 30, an investigation of the economic impact on cruise lines, the ports on which cruise ships call, and the industries that serve these ship.

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