Jones Act Hatchet Job

Poorly researched and reported story on NPR this morning: http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2014/02/28/283451010/how-an-old-law-caused-a-modern-day-salt-shortage

Might be worth some comments on that site.

[B]An Old Law, A Snowy Winter, And A Modern-Day Salt Shortage[/B]

There were so many winter storms in New Jersey this year that the state nearly ran out of the salt used to melt snow and ice on the roads.

State officials thought they had found a solution when they discovered an extra 40,000 tons of rock salt for sale up in Searsport, Maine.

The state bought the salt but ran into problems getting it to New Jersey — despite the fact that there was an enormous, empty cargo ship, sitting at the Searsport port, headed down to Newark.

“I mean, it was just like serendipity,” says Joe Dee, chief of staff with the New Jersey Department of Transportation. “Here’s this ship that’s big enough to take 40,000 tons of salt, on its way to Newark anyway. This is perfect.”

But standing between that pile of salt and the port of Newark was an ancient law. Stemming back to the 1600s, reaffirmed in its modern form in 1920, it’s called, the Jones Act. Under the Jones Act, if you want to bring something from one U.S. port to another, you have to use an American-built ship, flying an American flag, with a mostly American crew.

And that ship up in Maine was from the Marshall Islands. So it was a no go. “It seems a little ridiculous,” Dee says, “when there’s such a simple, elegant solution, staring you in the face.”

The only ship that the New Jersey Department of Transportation could find, to bring down the rock salt from Maine, is a barge that carries 9,500 tons at a time. So it will take a couple weeks for all the salt to make it to Newark.

The Jones Act is a big deal in other instances as well. Because they live on an island and need to get almost everything by ship, Hawaiian businesses end up paying higher costs for many goods because of the Jones Act.

Defenders of the Jones Act say it’s good for jobs and it’s a national security issue.

“There are certain things in this country that are core to protecting the country,” says Darrell Conner, a lobbyist who represents the domestic shipping industry. “Shipbuilding industrial base just happens to be one of them.” This requirement keeps U.S. shipyards in business, building up an American fleet that could be conscripted into military service, he says.

[QUOTE=txh2oman;131884]Poorly researched and reported story on NPR this morning: http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2014/02/28/283451010/how-an-old-law-caused-a-modern-day-salt-shortage

Might be worth some comments on that site.[/QUOTE]

This is EXACTLY what I was talking about in the other thread about this debacle. Those two senators from NJ can say all they want about how great the Jones Act is and how it was the NJDOT’s fault, NOT the Jones Act, but NONE of that matters if that message doesn’t reach the public ear. CLEARLY the media are set in their stance against the Jones Act and nothing is going to change that for the foreseeable future. As far as the public are concerned we’re all a bunch of douche bags for having a 94 year old law protect our jobs and families. Screw us, right?

Yes, I agree…a horribly reported piece which as almost entirely onesided. NPR fell hook line and sinker for the brainless hysteria! They also failed to mention that American mariners are a critical defense asset as well as shipbuilding!

[QUOTE=c.captain;131891]Yes, I agree…a horribly reported piece which as almost entirely onesided. NPR fell hook line and sinker for the brainless hysteria! They also failed to mention that American mariners are a critical defense asset as well as shipbuilding![/QUOTE]

I don’t remember what the subject matter was but I suggested a couple of months ago that NPR was on the fringe of what I recognize as news and I was met with disdain. THIS is why I do not like them. Also, NPR backing a “critical defense asset”? In what universe!?

[QUOTE=c.captain;131891]Yes, I agree…a horribly reported piece which as almost entirely onesided. NPR fell hook line and sinker for the brainless hysteria! They also [B]failed to mention [/B]that American mariners are a critical defense asset as well as shipbuilding![/QUOTE]

Not exactly.
[I]Defenders of the Jones Act say it’s good for jobs and it’s a national security issue.
“There are certain things in this country that are core to protecting the country,” says Darrell Conner, a lobbyist who represents the domestic shipping industry. “Shipbuilding industrial base just happens to be one of them.” This requirement keeps U.S. shipyards in business, building up an American fleet that could be conscripted into military service, he says.[/I]

They could have done a lot more, but they did put that in. They did carry on like the law is an archaic relic of the 1600s and failed to mention it got adapted to airplanes too. See “cabotage”.

[QUOTE=PaddyWest2012;131888]This is EXACTLY what I was talking about in the other thread about this debacle. Those two senators from NJ can say all they want about how great the Jones Act is and how it was the NJDOT’s fault, NOT the Jones Act, but NONE of that matters if that message doesn’t reach the public ear. CLEARLY the media are set in their stance against the Jones Act and nothing is going to change that for the foreseeable future. As far as the public are concerned we’re all a bunch of douche bags for having a 94 year old law protect our jobs and families. Screw us, right?[/QUOTE]

I should have read that other thread before commenting on NPR … I actually enjoy NPR’s reportage on many issues, but they do sometimes fall short. In this case, far short.

npr bozo’s! man thats a slow tugboat, two week roundtrip from NJ to Searsport…maybe rowing? I intend to write the writer later today.

[QUOTE=z-drive;131896]npr bozo’s! man thats a slow tugboat, two week roundtrip from NJ to Searsport…maybe rowing? I intend to write the writer later today.[/QUOTE]

It wasn’t two weeks. Someone in Belfast posted a picture on tugboatinformation.com’s facebook page of them leaving Searsport less than two weeks ago and they have already arrived NJ several days ago. It was a week at most.

[QUOTE=yacht_sailor;131893]They could have done a lot more, but they did put that in. They did carry on like the law is an archaic relic of the 1600s and failed to mention it got adapted to airplanes too. See “cabotage”.[/QUOTE]

Adam Smith, the father of all modern economics was pro-Jones Act 144 years before the Jones Act was even written. You would think the Keynesian liberals of all people would UNDERSTAND such a concept!

sarcasm, my man. its about 370 miles one way. so call it 740 miles round trip, at 8kts its 93 hours, 3.8 days steaming. 5 day round trip factoring in the load at searsport, call it a weekfor Wx, tide, and to be safe for the politicians

[QUOTE=z-drive;131903]sarcasm, my man. its about 370 miles one way. so call it 740 miles round trip, at 8kts its 93 hours, 3.8 days steaming. 5 day round trip factoring in the load at searsport, call it a weekfor Wx, tide, and to be safe for the politicians[/QUOTE]

Sorry, I thought you were saying they called it two weeks in the article. As if NPR would know how long it takes to get from Searsport to Bayonne!

[QUOTE=PaddyWest2012;131901]Adam Smith, the father of all modern economics was pro-Jones Act 144 years before the Jones Act was even written. You would think the Keynesian liberals of all people would UNDERSTAND such a concept![/QUOTE]

don’t just blame liberals for this way of thought, plenty of conservatives are also anti-Jones Act. Do the names Charles Grassley or John McCain ring any bells in your head?

This is a business versus business issue here. Many businesses that need shipping between US ports hate the Act because it costs them money which I cry buckets of tears for but the Act protects a vital American industry which would not exist as we know it is there was none in place. People who can’t see the forrest for the trees are the ones who yell the loudest, but luckily the Jones Act operators know that their companies would have to directly compete against bottomdwelling foreign vessel owners are the loud proponents of the Act and do fund the campaigns of many on the Congress so there still is a strong pro Act feeling in Washington.

Still, listening to the story again made me feel incensed towards the news organization which I generally feel is more balanced that any Fox News would ever be. SHAME ON NPR!

The article says a “couple weeks”. Citing that the barge only carries 9500 tons and the shipment is 40,000 tons. I guess they think it would be just one barge making multiple trips instead of a six-pack taking all of it at once.

[QUOTE=PaddyWest2012;131901]Adam Smith, the father of all modern economics was pro-Jones Act 144 years before the Jones Act was even written. You would think the Keynesian liberals of all people would UNDERSTAND such a concept![/QUOTE]

I thought the article was OK, written from the business point of view. NPR - Nice Polite Republicans.

I read somewhere, don’ t know where now that the Searsport to Newark ship didn’t want the cargo anyway. Too corrosive, schedule issues.

[QUOTE=c.captain;131907]don’t just blame liberals for this way of thought, plenty of conservatives are also anti-Jones Act. Do the names Charles Grassley or John McCain ring any bells in your head?

This is a business versus business issue here. Many businesses that need shipping between US ports hate the Act because it costs them money which I cry buckets of tears for but the Act protects a vital American industry which would not exist as we know it is there was none in place. People who can’t see the forrest for the trees are the ones who yell the loudest, but luckily the Jones Act operators know that their companies would have to directly compete against bottomdwelling foreign vessel owners are the loud proponents of the Act and do fund the campaigns of many on the Congress so there still is a strong pro Act feeling in Washington.

Still, listening to the story again made me feel incensed towards the news organization which I generally feel is more balanced that any Fox News would ever be. SHAME ON NPR![/QUOTE]

When I said Keynesian liberals I was talking about NPR and the media outlets that were doing all the Jones Act bashing, not liberals in general.

[QUOTE=Kennebec Captain;131909]I thought the article was OK, written from the business point of view. NPR - Nice Polite Republicans.

I read somewhere, don’ t know where now that the Searsport to Newark ship didn’t want the cargo anyway. Too corrosive, schedule issues.[/QUOTE]

Well that’s the first time I have ever heard anyone associate NPR with Republicans.

Not like they need 40,000 tons in one day, if so they have a serious shortage!

Also doubt they could load the full 40,000 and still float at the dock.

If you think NPR are right leaning then I bet you think Marx and Lenin were middle of the road type of guys.

And someone else brought up McCain, most republicans outside of the party establishment no longer claim him.

C Captain, I disagree with you . You said plenty of Conservatives oppose the Jones act, then you go naming two anti Conservatives.