Amid Hurricane Power Outages, Biden Administration Waives Senseless Jones Act Shipping Restrictions: CEI Statement

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Competitive Enterprise Institute Senior Fellow Ryan Young praised the Biden administration for temporarily waiving shipping restrictions imposed by the 1920s era Jones Act.

“The Biden administration did the right thing by temporarily waiving the Jones Act shipping law of 1920. Now a ship idling off Puerto Rico’s coast with 300,000 barrels of diesel fuel may dock and help hurricane-stricken residents restore power.

“Under the Jones Act, only American-built, owned, and operated ships may travel directly from one U.S. port to another. Waivers are common during hurricane season, since the Jones Act often blocks aid providers from helping people. Recent union-backed legislation passed in 2020 made Jones Act waivers more difficult, which was one reason for the Biden administration’s delay.

“A better solution would be to permanently repeal the Jones Act. It raises domestic shipping costs to multiples of what other countries pay, triples shipbuilding costs, and has so destroyed the U.S. shipbuilding industry that the entire Jones Act fleet is down to 92 ships, many of which are aging and obsolete.

“Not only would Jones act repeal help ease longstanding supply chain problems, it would allow people to help each other during hurricane season without having to wait for permission from Washington.”

> Related report, America Last: The Grim Reality of the Jones Act by Mario Loyola