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Hawaii, Alaska, territories team up on Jones Act

By Cathy Bussewitz / Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 03:55 p.m. HST, Mar 13, 2014

Lawmakers from Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico and Guam are teaming up to pressure the U.S. government for relief from a maritime law passed in the 1920s.

The Jones Act was designed to protect the domestic shipping industry. It says that only ships made in the U.S. and flying the country's flags can deliver goods between U.S. ports.

That means that a cargo ship filled with goods from China can only make one stop in the U.S. at a time. It can't stop in Hawaii to exchange goods before heading to Los Angeles.

Hawaii state Sen. Sam Slom says the law punishes the people of Alaska, Puerto Rico, Guam and Hawaii with high costs of living.

Representatives from the impacted states and territories met in a videoconference Thursday.

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Wazdat wrote:
Good news. Time to change this outdated law
on March 13,2014 | 03:51PM
serious wrote:
But it won't mean a thing unless our federal legislators get involved and that won't happen with shipping campaign funds--this is an election year!!!
on March 14,2014 | 06:49AM
Locokane wrote:
Agree that this outdated law needs to be changed since it adds to the cost of living in Hawaii. For instance, new automobiles shipped from Japan or Korea have to be shipped to a port in the West Coast then shipped from the West Coast to Hawaii due to the Jones Act. Guess who pays for this extra shipping? This is just one example of many items shipped from foreign ports destined for Hawaii.
on March 14,2014 | 07:19AM
false wrote:
That is not true! You can ship autos or any cargo directly from Japan, Korea or almost any country directly to Hawaii and not be in conflict with the "Jones Act".
on March 14,2014 | 08:59AM
false wrote:
C'mon Brian Shatz. As our senior U.S. senator, speak out instead of sitting quietly in the corner. What a waste.
on March 13,2014 | 04:00PM
kekelaward wrote:
He's tired from staying up all night at his pajama party.
on March 13,2014 | 05:01PM
Skyler wrote:
on March 13,2014 | 08:46PM
serious wrote:
He has already announced that he is all for the Jones Act. The heck with the people of Hawaii!!! AND, I might say, it's about time the lawmakers got together to do something. It's okay to subsidize the American ship building industry but why on the backs of two states. BTW, Puerto Rico is just about bankrupt
on March 13,2014 | 05:45PM
HAJAA1 wrote:
Brian Shatz. Pffft. I'm still waiting for him to do something substantial. Start with killing this farce of a law!
on March 13,2014 | 11:38PM
Papakolea wrote:
It's not only the stuff coming from China that's affected. When we want to ship pineapples, coffee, or macadamia nuts to California, we have to do it on an American-built, flagged, and crewed ship. Whereas when someone in Costa Rica wants to ship their products to California, they can use lower-cost foreign flagged ships. Add to that the higher cost of labor and land in Hawaii and there's no mystery about why agriculture struggles here.
on March 13,2014 | 04:23PM
Mythman wrote:
Didn't David Murdock start off as a shipping company before he came to Hawaii? Why didn't he deal with the Jones Act?
on March 13,2014 | 04:38PM
Admirable wrote:
Last I looked Costa Rica had one vessel in its merchant fleet I believe it's a large towboat...
on March 14,2014 | 11:17PM
Admirable wrote:
Just to put things in perspective the Environmental Working Group report has listed farm subsidies at 256 BILLION DOLLARS from 1995 to 2012! The database tracks $256 billion in farm subsidies from commodity, crop insurance, and disaster programs and $39 billion in conservation payments paid between 1995 and 2012. Wanna talk about the poor corporate farming companies?
on March 14,2014 | 11:12PM
usahwn wrote:
Who were the representatives in teleconference ? None of the congressional elected I bet . They are bought off by one big shipping co.
on March 13,2014 | 04:26PM
serious wrote:
That is true--our big chance to stop the Jones Act was when Uncle Dan was chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, by far the most powerful senator. But what did he accomplish---I'm waiting-----!!!!
on March 13,2014 | 06:28PM
HealthyandHappy wrote:
You wait. He will have a post office named after him.
on March 13,2014 | 06:55PM
pridon wrote:
Mink fought changes tooth and nail. Got to protect those union jobs, you know.
on March 13,2014 | 08:29PM
localguy wrote:
True. Hard to change your mind when you are on the union's dime, pulling your strings, telling you what to do.
on March 14,2014 | 06:47AM
kiragirl wrote:
Matson must be cringing.
on March 13,2014 | 11:30PM
cojef wrote:
No sweat! Between themselves and Big Union, nothing will happen unless they agree its best for Hawaii, more so the bottom-line. Money, that is.
on March 14,2014 | 08:09AM
HAJAA1 wrote:
It's about time - kill this pathetic Jones Act once and for all.
on March 13,2014 | 11:37PM
Sandybeach wrote:
Nobodies is worried about the Jones Act. Sure corporation love to export jobs. And yes, big money always chases cheap labor. Nobody in his right mind would want the Jones Act repealed. There would not be a single manufacturing job left in this country. Every store a Walmart. This law is the last protection from NAFTA and the rest of the theft of American jobs.
on March 14,2014 | 06:27AM
Sandybeach wrote:
Sam Slom...a crybaby that just won't go away. Sam after all these years you should have grown up. Goodness.... Sam does not know why he dislikes the Jones Act. He just does. Sam doesn't know why he dislikes the minimum wage increase; he just does. Sam is a professional hater of the poor and elderly. Somehow he gets elected on that platform. I wonder how many bills he has authored and passed since he has been in the Senate.
on March 14,2014 | 06:32AM
honokai wrote:
Sounds like you don't like him very much.
on March 14,2014 | 06:41AM
false wrote:
Isn't Sam Sloan the only elected official with any business experience?
on March 14,2014 | 07:08AM
localguy wrote:
Expect our greedy unions & Matson to try and pull out all the stops on this one. We need to cancel the Jones Act and place it in the ash heap of history, its mission no longer relevant in today's world. Lets hope our bureaucrats do not kow tow to the unions, show some real backbone and do what is right. Alaska and Hawaii will do even better with the Jones Act eliminated. If products can come to the USA mainland on foreign flagged ships, no reason they can't go to our states on them. This is purely a business and financial decision to improve service.Let the USA flagged ships compete for the business, best bid wins the deal. No need to subsidize overly expensive service if it can be done for less, giving people more money to spend. Let's Git'r done!!!!
on March 14,2014 | 06:45AM
mayihavesumor wrote:
The Jones Act has served it's purpose to protect US merchant fleet jobs. Employment is strong in both US shipping and shipbuilding..
on March 14,2014 | 06:55AM
Publicbraddah wrote:
I hope this effort does not lose steam. I'll be following our senators and representatives to hear how vocal they are in support of this effort.
on March 14,2014 | 07:02AM
sluggah wrote:
Our "senators" are a joke. They're in the pockets of the unions.
on March 14,2014 | 07:38AM
eastside808 wrote:
Repeal of the Jones Act should have been done a long time ago. At least it will release the islands from the stranglehold of the unions and the shipping lines. This is one of the reasons it pays to live in paradise.
on March 14,2014 | 07:39AM
Admirable wrote:
The premise by the author of this article in not true! First if a Chinese vessel has goods from China it can drop them off in Hawaii and proceed to Los Angeles and discharge cargo from China without being in conflict with the "Jones Act". What the foreign flag vessel cannot do is backload cargo from Hawaii and deliver that cargo from Hawaii to Los Angeles! Reduced to its essential terms, the Jones Act simply requires companies operating in the domestic commerce of the United States to comply with U.S. laws. This requirement includes corporate taxes, the National Labor Relations Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, Coast Guard standards, employing American citizens, etc. American ships are subject to these laws and foreign ships are not. This same fundamental principle applies to every other company doing business in the United States, from agriculture to retail. The "Jones Act" has been in effect for almost 100 years and has contributed greatly to Hawaii's economic prosperity as well as providing a necessary component of National Security. The "Jones Act" Provides a stable, secure supply line to the State of Hawaii both in times of peace and times of war.
on March 14,2014 | 09:45AM
Anonymous wrote:
"The Jones Act was designed to protect the domestic shipping industry. It says that only ships made in the U.S. and flying the country's flags can deliver goods between U.S. ports." So does this mean as long as they don't take on any cargo in Hawaii meant for any other port in the U.S. they can come directly here and then to every other U.S. location they have cargo for that originates from the foreign port? If so what is preventing them from doing that shipping now? Logistics cost?
on March 14,2014 | 03:10PM
Admirable wrote:
Los Angeles is a gateway to a much larger market. The State of Hawaii does not have the consumer base to attract more imports from the Far East. Hawaii will never have the population base that would compete with Los Angeles and its gateway to markets north south and east with trucking and rail facilities. As far as the huge savings in shipping costs if history repeats itself the profit margins for the shipping companies may increase but the end consumer here in Hawaii will not realize any significant decrease in the price of goods. The free traders and the small but noisy group promoting the repeal or modification of the Jones Act in most cases have personal and financial gain as an incentive. This recent video conference by a handful lobbyist to promote their own agendas. They do not have significant numbers to impact democratic elections in this country. In most cases they make up a few lies then bang the drum loudly to attract media attention to their propaganda...
on March 14,2014 | 10:39PM
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