Resolution in Support of Repealing the Jones Act


This model resolution urges the Congress of the United States to consider repealing the Jones Act to fully utilize waterborne transport when shipping goods domestically and improve intra-United States commerce and supply chain linkages.

Resolution in Support of Repealing the Jones Act

WHEREAS, Section 27 of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 (P.L. 66-261) (46 U.S.C. § 55102), commonly known as the Jones Act, is a federal cabotage law that restricts the surface carriage of cargo by water between coastwise points in the United States to vessels that are U.S.-built, U.S.-flag, U.S.-owned and U.S.-crewed; and

WHEREAS, the requirements of the Jones Act dramatically increase the cost to purchase, staff, and maintain shipping vessels. The high costs of constructing shipping vessels in the United States diminishes the size of the United States shipping fleet and increases its age, increases fuel costs due to age, increases maintenance costs due to age, and increases crewing costs due to age and a lack of automation; and

WHEREAS, all other modes of domestic transportation in the U.S. are permitted to use foreign manufactured equipment for commercial operation without restriction including aircraft, railroad cars and locomotives, trucks, automobiles, and mass transit vehicles; and

WHEREAS, both the U.S. commercial shipbuilding industry and domestic shipping fleet have experienced significant declines under Jones Act protectionism; and

WHEREAS, a 2013 report issued by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with Bain & Company and the World Bank described the Jones Act as “the most restrictive example” of a cabotage law and that “such barriers actually damage local economies and saddle businesses and consumers with significant costs.”; and

WHEREAS, the Jones Act has been cited as a key factor behind U.S. refineries purchasing Russian oil instead of domestic supplies due to the high cost of domestic transport; and

WHEREAS, New England and Puerto Rico must import liquified natural gas due to the total lack of Jones Act-compliant gas tankers needed to transport it domestically; and

WHEREAS, numerous useful types of vessels do not exist in the Jones Act-qualified fleet including gas tankers, livestock carriers, and heavy-lift vessels; and

WHEREAS, the high cost of Jones Act transport and lack of appropriate vessel types serve as a barrier to commerce within the United States and discourage domestic supply chains; and

WHEREAS, United States trading partners restrict their markets to U.S. exports in retaliation for U.S. refusal to modify the Jones Act and open its domestic shipping and shipbuilding markets; and

WHEREAS, the high costs associated with the Jones Act has many domestic businesses utilizing the nation’s highway and rail systems in order to transport goods to various markets, leading to increased wear and tear on the nation’s roadways and railways, increased maintenance costs on roadways and railways, increased fuel consumption, and increased vehicle congestion on the nation’s roadways; and

WHEREAS, repealing the Jones Act would allow domestic businesses to realize cost savings by utilizing the nation’s waterways as a safer and easier method of transporting goods to market, would reduce the number of vehicles on the nation’s highways, and would permit goods to arrive to markets in a more timely fashion.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Legislature of this state urges the United States Congress to consider repealing the Jones Act; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this resolution be sent to the President of the U.S., the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, the Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate, the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, and the members of this state’s congressional delegation.