New Report Debunks Jones Act Myths in Puerto Rico

From gCaptain: New Report Debunks Jones Act Myths in Puerto Rico

What the authors found was that not only does the Jones Act have no impact on either retail prices or the cost of living in Puerto Rico, but the Jones Act actually ensures a high level of supply chain efficiencies which helped the island recover in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.



Having sailed on the Puerto Rico run for a few years, I never understood all of the latest wrangling and crying about how nothing was getting to the Island. No doubt the crying is/was politically motivated.

Considering that the commissioner of the study is a lobbying group for American shipping companies that has spent an average of $1,000,000/year over the last 3 years, the report lacks credibility in my opinion.

Agree, coming from a lobbying body… it may prove ultimately counter productive as it will give detractors, and Puerto Rico, something to chew on.

There is a fundamental misunderstanding of how the Jones Act works among our elected officials and the population at large. Many are under the false impression (probably planted in their minds by anti-Jones Act interests) that they must receive all goods on US ships, not just those coming from the U.S., and that this contributes significantly to their costs. My own congressperson is one of them, and I have been informed that I will not be voting for them. It’s shameful and wrong and anti-American.

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This report’s conclusions seem similar to the GAO’s report:

Characteristics of the Island’s Maritime Trade and Potential Effects of Modifying the Jones Act
GAO-13-260: Published: Mar 14, 2013. Publicly Released: Mar 20, 2013.

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Yes. This has always been obvious to anyone with a little common sense.

From Marine Log

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According to the GAO report some shippers claimed that the Jones Act increased shipping costs but when the GAO asked for data they were not able to provide any. If the shippers couldn’t produce any data to make a case against the Jones act it seems unlikely that this report will provide any.

When I sailed to Puerto Rico, I was able to get off the boat and sightsee a little. I had several well educated, successful, local Puerto Rican’s swear to me that foreign flag ships were not allowed in the port and that 100% of all goods must be shipped to the island from the mainland on US hulls and this was why everything was so expensive. I explained to them how this was absolutely false. They laughed at me and told me I didn’t know what I was talking about. So misunderstanding of the Jones Act and shipping seems quite an issue on the island.

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Do you have evidence beside your own personal opinion that this article is wrong?

The Jones Act has weathered criticism over the years because the proof is in the pudding- costs are not higher because Americans are shipping the goods. They are higher because PR, Hawaii, Alaska etc are remote and isolated areas that simply cost more to deliver to, period. No matter who does the delivery. Plenty of non Jones Act trade in all of those locations btw