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Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Jones Act in the News
By Michael Hansen @ 1:32 PM :: 7220 Views :: Jones Act

by Michael Hansen, Hawaii Shippers Council

The past week was busy with coverage of the Jones Act, the Hawaii Shippers’ Council (HSC), and the domestic shipping reform we have proposed.  As such, we would like to share several of these timely pieces with you.

Beginning on Tuesday, April 2nd, the Workboat Magazine published an editorial by their independent columnist, Capt. Max Hardberger, supporting the HSC’s Jones Act reform proposal.  Capt. Hardberger wrote the HSC’s proposed reform  that would exempt just the noncontiguous trades – Alaska, Guam, Hawaii and Puerto Rico – from the U.S. build requirement of the Jones Act is “long overdue.”   However, he chided us for not going further.  He would like to see the HSC extend the obvious benefits of our proposed exemption nationwide to include the coastal trade along the seaboards of the contiguous 48 states.  In fact, Capt. Hardberger called us “self-serving” for not including those trades.

The Workboat is one of just a couple of well known and widely read U.S. maritime journals, and Capt. Hardberger is well-known and respected commenter on things maritime and has written for the magazine since 1995.

In his column, Capt. Hardberger refers to “powerful interest groups still intent on preserving the Jones Act.”  A key one of those interests is the lead Jones Act industry trade association, the American Maritime Partnership (AMP).  It was formed in the mid-1990’s as the Maritime Cabotage Task Force (MCTF) in response to Mr. Rob Quartel and his Jones Act Reform Coalition (JARC) initiative that proposed to allow foreign flag ships into the coastal and noncontiguous trades under limited circumstances.  Although the MCTF changed its name to AMP, it’s URL remains www.mctf.com

On Thursday, April 4th, the Honolulu Star Advertiser, Hawaii’s major daily and only statewide newspaper, published an interview with Hawaii’s senior U.S. Senator, Brian Schatz (D).  He was appointed to office on December 26, 2012, by Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie (D) to fill the vacancy left by the late Senator Daniel K. Inouye (D).  The interview was wide ranging and among the subjects addressed was the Jones Act.

Mr. Alan Yonan, Jr., the Star Advertiser reporter who interviewed Sen Schatz, asked the Senator about his views regarding the companion resolutions introduced in the current session of the Hawaii State House calling on the U.S. Congress to exempt the noncontiguous trades from the U.S. build requirement of the Jones Act.  This question was asked by Mr. Yonan in the context of the Star Advertiser’s endorsement of the resolutions in their editorial published on March 28, 2013.  Sen Schatz declined to answer the Mr. Yonan’s direct question and made a general pro forma statement in support of the Jones Act in all its aspects.

We responded to Sen Schatz’s Jones Act statements in a letter to the editor published on April 4th.  In that letter, we challenged Sen. Schatz to answer the direct question posed by Mr. Yonan regarding the resolutions in the State House and refuted his arguments in support of the Jones Act.   As we noted in our letter,  “U.S. Senator Brian Schatz should have had the courage of his Jones Act convictions and answered Mr. Yonan's direct question regarding the limited Jones Act exemption for the noncontiguous trades.”

Also on April 4th, Ms. Malia Bloom Hill, senior policy analyst for the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, interviewed me over Blog Talk Radio and posted the podcast on their website.  We discussed the recently released Government Accountability Office (GAO) study of the economic impact of the Jones Act on Puerto Rico.   The GAO study, formally known as “Characteristics of the Island’s Maritime Trade and Potential Effects of Modifying the Jones Act” (GAO-13-260), was released on March 14, 2013.

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The Hawaii Shippers Council (HSC) is a business league organization incorporated in 1997 to represent cargo interests – known as “shippers” – who tender goods for shipment with the ocean carriers operating the Hawaii trade.

Please contact the HSC at email pacmar@hawaiiantel.net if you wish to be placed on our email list.

++++++

Workboat Magazine: Don’t limit Jones Act reform

Honolulu Star Advertiser: Inouye projects supported, Schatz says

Hawai’i Free Press: Schatz Evades Jones Act Question?

Grassroot Perspective: Interview with Michael Hansen on the Jones Act

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