On a typical sunny Southern California day, a bright red tugboat cuts through the channel in the Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach. On the banks, containers filled with cargo are stacked high. Massive cranes dip in to pull them out one at a time and load them onto waiting vessels.
After a steep drop in activity that followed the Great Recession, the maritime industry is growing again. In 2012, global seaborne trade reached 9 billion metric tons for the first time ever, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. The growth in trade is translating into growth in jobs.
"Our plan is to hire 500 to 600 maritime workers over the next five years," said Thomas Crowley, CEO of Crowley Maritime.
The family-owned company based in Jacksonville, Florida, will find it has some competition when it looks to build its 5,000 person workforce. A 2010 report from the International Maritime Organization forecast the industry could be short 27,000 to 46,000 officers to man the world's tankers, cargo and container ships and tugboats over the next few years.