Lloyd’s List, a leading publication that covers the maritime industry, is calling for the U.S. to suspend controversial Jones Act rules for Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico.

The Jones Act requires that vessels that move commercial cargo between U.S. ports be U.S. built, owned, flagged and crewed. Critics say this cuts down on competition and therefore leads to higher costs for consumers.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office is scheduled to release a report in February that looks at the cost of the Jones Act has had on Puerto Rico. In an editorial, Lloyd’s calls on Congress to give a waiver to the U.S. territory as well as Hawaii and Alaska if the report finds any detrimental impacts.

“Many critics of the Jones Act, including Lloyd’s List, hope that the GAO will provide evidence that can be used to persuade Congress to scuttle the U.S.-built requirement of the Jones Act as it applies to Puerto Rico — and further to Hawaii and Alaska — under a so-called sunset waiver. …
“Any action that weakens the protectionism of the Jones Act will ultimately be to the long-term benefit of U.S. shipping — no matter what the medium-term gain to individual U.S. companies and yards.”
You can read the full editorial here. A subscription is required.
Photo of Honolulu Harbor, courtesy of Flickr user jdnx.