• ITVI.USA
    13,670.690
    -217.880
    -1.6%
  • OTRI.USA
    22.060
    -0.040
    -0.2%
  • OTVI.USA
    13,638.790
    -223.800
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  • TLT.USA
    2.800
    0.000
    0%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
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  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
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  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
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  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
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  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    2.720
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    -9%
  • WAIT.USA
    127.000
    0.000
    0%
  • ITVI.USA
    13,670.690
    -217.880
    -1.6%
  • OTRI.USA
    22.060
    -0.040
    -0.2%
  • OTVI.USA
    13,638.790
    -223.800
    -1.6%
  • TLT.USA
    2.800
    0.000
    0%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.480
    -0.170
    -6.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.070
    -0.210
    -6.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.370
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  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    2.280
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    -8.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
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  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
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  • WAIT.USA
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American ShipperShippingTrade and Compliance

Ala. congressman unsuccessful at getting Puerto Rico exempted from Jones Act

Rep. Gary Palmer, R-Ala., was unsuccessful in persuading the House Rules Committee in getting his proposed amendment to exempt Puerto Rico from the Jones Act included into the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act.

   Rep. Gary Palmer, R-Ala., was unsuccessful in persuading the House Rules
Committee in getting his proposed amendment to exempt Puerto Rico from the Jones Act included into the Puerto Rico Oversight,
Management and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA).
   The Jones Act requires waterborne cargo between two points in the United States to be transported on vessels that are American built, owned and crewed.
   The amendment was strongly opposed by the American Maritime Partnership, a group that represents domestic shipping companies, shipyards and unions representing U.S. mariners.
   At a Wednesday hearing, Palmer told the Rules Committee that Congress should free Puerto Rico from the requirement of a law that was created “without them in mind.”
   Palmer argued that Congress should exempt Puerto Rico from “economy stifling regulations” to the maximum extent possible so the territory can rebuild its economy.
   Eliminating the requirement would allow the cost of living in Puerto Rico to decline, therefore, residents could stretch their wages further than before, while power companies could replace foreign-sourced oil with cheaper and cleaner U.S.-sourced natural gas, Palmer said.
   During the hearing, Rep. Garret Graves, R-La., asked that Palmer’s amendment be rejected because it was not germane to the bill and said the Transportation Committee was the committee of jurisdiction for the bill.
   In addition, Graves disputed many of Palmer’s contentions saying that studies did not support Palmer’s statement that “from 1991-2010, the Jones Act cost Puerto Rican residents $16.4 billion,” noting that a Government Accountability Office study had debunked those allegations.
   Graves also said that while the Jones Act is a piece of protectionist legislation, it protects our homeland and national security, and to replicate the cost of the service that the Jones Act vessels provide would cost taxpayers over $10 billion a year.
   Had Palmer’s amendment passed, it would have thrown a monkey wrench into the domestic shipping industry. Companies such as TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico, which has built two brand new container ships for the Puerto Rico trade, and Crowley Maritime, which has two ships under construction, would have faced possible competition from low cost foreign flag operators after spending hundreds of millions of dollars on new assets, or they would have been forced to redeploy their ships on other domestic routes where the Jones Act applies.

Chris Dupin

Chris Dupin has written about trade and transportation and other business subjects for a variety of publications before joining American Shipper and Freightwaves.