A politician’s proposal to exempt Puerto Rico from the Jones Act has come under heavy fire from the US marine industry.
Representative Gary Palmer, a Republican from Alabama, proposed the exemption as an amendment to a bill dealing with Puerto Rico’s current economic woes.
The Jones Act of 1920 requires any cargo deliveries between US ports to use vessels that are US-made, US-flagged and US-owned. And they must be crewed by US citizens or US permanent residents.
Palmer’s amendment to the Puerto Rico Oversight Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA), would allow foreign vessels to replace American ships and crews on such journeys.
The American Maritime Partnership (AMP), the voice of the domestic maritime industry, condemned the proposal. Among several objections it said the plan would jeopardize US security and would offer no significant help to Puerto Rico’s economy.
Critics of the Act have long said it inflates the price of consumer goods and inhibits economic growth in those states and territories that are not part of the lower 48 states.