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Shipping organization calls for Jones Act overhaul, not just a 1-year exemption

Daniel Ramirez

The Jones Act is more than 100 years old and recently Rep. Ed Case began calling for a year-long exemption from the maritime legislation because of the rising inflation and fuel costs.

The Jones Act restricts cargo between two U.S. ports to U.S.-owned and U.S.-built vessels with U.S. crews.

The Hawaiʻi Shippers Council represents a couple dozen shippers like grocery chains and the Cattlemen's Association. Mike Hansen, president of the council, believes an exemption isn’t the answer — but rather an overhaul of the act.

"The problem that we have with the call for a one-year Jones Act waiver to bring domestic crude oil to the islands is that it's completely misleading," Hansen told The Conversation. "We're wasting efforts that could be used for real Jones Act reform."

"Our basic position is — and one that we've had a proposal in place since 2010 — is that the non-contiguous jurisdictions of the United States that are encompassed by the Jones Act — namely Alaska, Hawaiʻi, and Puerto Rico — should be allowed to have to use foreign-built vessels registered under the U.S. flag and employing U.S. crews."

Hansen added that the cost of constructing a large, ocean-going ship in the U.S. is not five times the cost of what can be built in South Korea.

This interview aired on The Conversation on May 23, 2022. The Conversation airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on HPR-1.

Catherine Cruz is the host of The Conversation. Originally from Guam, she spent more than 30 years at KITV, covering beats from government to education. Contact her at ccruz@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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