Our marine transportation system includes 500,000 square nautical miles of navigationally significant waters. Over 1.34 billion metric tons of cargo, valued at $1.73 trillion, shipped in and out of U.S. ports in foreign trade in 2011. Those ports support, directly and indirectly, more than 13 million American jobs. The connections between the system, coastal communities, and maritime industries is intuitive. Less recognized are the links between communities in our nation's heartland and the marine transportation system. NOAA tools — such as nautical charts, accurate positioning services, and ocean and weather observations — play a key role in ensuring that shipments move swiftly and safely along our marine highways.