Jones Act restriction on use of foreign ships endangers US in a weather crisis
With the onset of another snowstorm hitting the Northeast, New Jerseyans are shaking their snow shovels at a federal law that causes them almost yearly fits. In 2014, New Jersey municipalities, in desperate need of salt to keep roads safe, wanted to buy the salt from willing suppliers in Maine. But thanks to a hundred-year old law, they could not find someone to legally ship the life-saving salt.There are a total of only 90 ships that comply with act. As a result, although there is a glut of oil on the Gulf coast, the East Coast is have to import oil from Mexico because they can't find transportation for oil from Texas and Louisiana. The act should be repealed immediately.
The “Merchant Marine Act of 1920,” better known as the “Jones Act,” effectively bans shipping between U.S. ports, unless the ship transporting goods is U.S. built, U.S. flagged and staffed by at least 75 percent U.S. crewmen. Irish, Canadians or Panamanians need not apply. As the U.S. merchant marine became concentrated into a handful of companies, the remaining shippers used their government-granted monopoly to drive up profits at the expense of other Americans. Though foreign companies already carry 80 percent of America’s international commerce shipping, at lower costs, Americans are still forced to utilize monopolist ships between domestic ports.