Foreign Ships Not Using Jones Act Waiver for Puerto Rico

Oct 9, 2017

Not a single foreign vessel utilized the 10-day Jones Act waiver to deliver cargo from the US mainland to Puerto Rico, the American shipping industry executives told the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Democrats on October 3.

Tote and Crowley, which operate two of the three receiving terminals in San Juan, informed that, to their best knowledge, there were no foreign vessel scheduled to utilize the waiver during the period up to October 3.

When asked by committee member Representative John Garamendi if there has been any requirement for shipments from a US port to Puerto Rico that has not been met by the Jones Act carriers, Tote and Crowley executives both informed that there have not been such requirements.

Additionally, the executives informed the Committee that the US-flag fleet has delivered on every request from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) or the US government with regards to hurricane relief shipments to the island.

Furthermore, when asked by Representative Rick Larsen whether there was a practical impact of extending the Jones Act waiver for Puerto Rico, Tote’s CEO Anthony Chiarello said that “it didn’t make sense to us why the waiver was put in place in the first place, so an extension of the waiver would make even less sense.”

Chiarello added that “there isn’t a bottleneck of cargo to get to the island, the bottleneck is on the island.”

The waiver was authorized on September 28 by the Trump Administration, on the back of fierce criticism from the public saying that the restrictive regulation has delayed recovery efforts on the hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico. This waiver applies to all products shipped from US coastwise points to Puerto Rico through October 8.

The Jones Act prohibits the transportation of cargo between points in the US, either directly or via a foreign port, or for any part of the transportation, in any vessel other than a vessel that has a coastwise endorsement.

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