American Maritime Industry Opposes Bill to Exempt Puerto Rico Shipping from U.S. Build Requirement

Says Measure Would Unnecessarily Weaken America's National Security

By MarEx 2013-07-26 15:14:00

The American Maritime Partnership released the following statement opposing legislation introduced by Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi to relax the U.S.-build requirement of the Jones Act for particular vessel types operating in the Puerto Rico trade.  The Pierliusi bill would weaken U.S. national defense and undermine the investments made by American vessel owners and operators.

“We strongly oppose Mr. Pierluisi’s legislation because it would directly undermine America's national security. The non-partisan Government Accountability Office recently warned in a study specific to Puerto Rico that the ‘military strategy of the United States relies on the use of commercial U.S.-flag ships and crews and the availability of a shipyard industrial base to support’ the nation’s defense.

“The study also found that the U.S. domestic contaianer shipping fleet has a long history of providing regular, reliable service to the island, and in the past few years also offered significant rate reductions.

"But more specific to Mr. Pierliusi's concern regarding the availability of natural gas to Puerto Rico, there are fully compliant American vessels eligible to transport Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) once Puerto Rico develops the capacity to receive it.  There are also special provisions of law that already allow LNG to move to the island on foreign vessels from the U.S. Whether it is LNG or any other cargo needed by the Puerto Rican people, the American maritime industry stands ready to work with the Commissioner to ensure that the demand is met.”

Read: Pierluisi Introduces Jones Act Reform Legislation for Puerto Rico

Read the full GAO report here.  

American Maritime Partnership is the voice of the U.S. domestic maritime industry, a pillar of our nation‘s economic, national, and homeland security.  More than 40,000 American vessels built in American shipyards, crewed by American mariners, and owned by American companies, ply our waters 24/7, and this commerce sustains nearly 500,000 jobs, $29 billion in wages, and more than $100 billion in annual economic output according to a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers for the Transportation Institute.

So efficient are the vessels in the domestic trades that they carry a quarter of the nation‘s cargo for only 2 percent of the national freight bill, and being American owned, built and crewed helps make America more secure.