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National Association of Waterfront Employers

Learn more about this industry through hyperlinks for our Members' websites on the next page.

The National Association of Waterfront Employers (NAWE) was founded in 1933 as the National Association of Stevedores (NAS). The NAS was founded in the wake of several Supreme Court decisions in the 1910s and 1920s holding that the admiralty and maritime jurisdiction of the United States is exclusively federal, which led to the enactment of the federal Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act in 1927.

NAWE is now the voice of the private sector U.S. marine terminal operator (MTO) and stevedoring industry in Washington, DC. NAWE members are a critical part of the world maritime transportation system (MTS). NAWE members load and unload cargo in every major port in the U.S. and are the link between ocean, rail, and motor carriers. The cargo that flows though U.S. ports is the lifeblood of the U.S. and world economy, creating jobs, lowering consumer costs, and increasing the standard of living.

The industry’s work still falls squarely within the admiralty and maritime jurisdiction and commerce clause jurisdiction of the federal government. Because of this federal jurisdiction, the industry is probably the most heavily federally regulated industry in the country. Federal statutes and international treaties, rather than state laws, control contracts for services, leases for terminals, cargo inspection, workers’ compensation insurance, cargo liability, cargo security, port security, worker safety and health, and environmental protection.