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Should the Jones Act be repealed?

If you work in the shipping industry in New York, you have likely heard of the Jones Act. You may even have strong feelings about it. You wouldn’t be alone. Many people have boisterous opinions about this law from the 1920s. Most of them feel it is time to retire it completely and allow for better, less restrictive regulations to take its place.

According to The Hill, the Jones Act was meant to stop competition on and strengthen the security of U.S. ports. It places limits on domestic shipping so only American made, registered and built vessels can transport goods between American ports. This restriction has had a detrimental impact on the country’s economy.

The biggest impact is felt by those states not connected to the lower 48. Hawaii and Alaska are reliant upon imported goods, especially oil. Having to follow the Jones Act means increases in costs for residents. It also is becoming quite limited due to the reduction in the number of American vessels available.

Those who still support the law, suggest it helps increase national security. They say the restrictions allow ports to be more secure and protect our waterways. However, this argument is often dead in the water because the U.S. Navy is strong enough and has the best technology in the world enabling it to offer superior protection for ports and waterways.

If you still are unsure about repealing the Jones Act, then it might help to know that it leads to increased fuel costs for every citizen in every part of the country. That is because oil shipped from domestic providers have to use American vessels that are more expensive to build, maintain and own than foreign ones. This information is only intended to educate and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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