Why is the Jones Act important to America?

The military strategy of the United States relies on the use of U.S.-flagged ships and crews and the availability of a shipyard industrial base to support national defense needs, according to a recent study on the Jones Act by the Government Accountability Office. Most importantly, a strong and vibrant maritime industry helps ensure the United States maintains its expertise in shipbuilding and waterborne transportation.

Is the domestic maritime industry or its shipbuilding segment subsidized by the federal government?

The domestic American maritime industry strengthens U.S. national security at zero cost to the federal government.  The domestic maritime fleet provides capacity and manpower that the armed forces can draw upon to support U.S. military operations.  American ships, crews to man them, ship construction and repair yards, intermodal equipment, terminals, cargo tracking systems, and other infrastructure are available to the U.S. military at a moment’s notice in times of war, national emergency, or even in peacetime.

How does America’s domestic maritime industry contribute to the nation’s overall economy (jobs, etc.)?

The Jones Act fleet and domestic maritime industry supports nearly 650,000 American jobs, which pump more than $150 billion into the nation’s economy annually. Five indirect jobs are created for every one direct maritime job, which results in more than $41 billion in labor compensation.

What about the domestic U.S. shipbuilding industry?

The nation’s domestic shipbuilders, which are a key part of America’s maritime industry, delivered more than 1,300 vessels in 2016, which represented billions in total economic activity and thousands of direct and indirect jobs. To this day U.S. shipyards are growing and entering into contracts for hundreds of new vessels, including the construction of state-of-the-art tankers and Articulated Tug Barge units and expanding America’s fleet of low-emission LNG-powered containerships. U.S. shipyards are also leading the way in innovation with the construction of vessels to build America’s offshore wind farms.

How many Jones Act vessels are there in the domestic maritime industry?

The 40,000 vessels operating in the domestic trades moves 1 billion tons of cargo every year, which plays an important role in relieving congestion on the nation’s crowded roads and railways.

How does the Jones Act and its fleet of American-owned, American-built, and American-crewed vessels boost America’s homeland security?

The Jones Act ensures that the vessels navigating our coastal and inland waterways abide by U.S. laws and operate under the oversight of the U.S. government.  A recent report by the Lexington Institute noted that without the Jones Act, DHS would be confronted by the difficult and very costly task of monitoring, regulating, and overseeing all foreign-controlled, foreign-crewed vessels in internal U.S. waters.

Are products more expensive when they are shipped using Jones Act vessels?

There is no evidence that shows the Jones Act contributes to the higher cost of goods.  The cost of goods is affected by a host of supply and demand factors, and as GAO has acknowledged, the impact of Jones Act shipping costs on the costs of consumer goods “is difficult, if not impossible, to determine with precision.”  Foreign vessels operating in domestic commerce would likely be required to comply with a host of U.S. laws – taxation, immigration, labor, etc. – the same laws that apply to any business operating in the U.S.

How much crude oil does American maritime transport every month?

Currently, America’s domestic maritime industry moves tens of million of barrels of crude oil and petroleum products throughout the United States, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.  That number is only expected to grow because transporting cargo on our nation’s waterways is one of the most cost-effective and efficient ways to move crude oil and petroleum products.

What would happen without the Jones Act?

Without American maritime, the U.S. would be completely dependent on foreign owned and flagged vessels for the transport of all waterborne commerce in and around the country. A strong and vibrant maritime industry helps ensure the United States maintains its expertise in shipbuilding and waterborne transportation.  A cautionary lesson surrounds Great Britain, which has seen its maritime industry outsourced and the global influence of its naval forces drastically reduced.

Our American Made, American Maritime is a Cornerstone of our Nation.