Op-Ed: Give noncontiguous territories exemption on U.S.-build requirement
The noncontiguous parts of the United States need to be given at least partial exemption from the Jones Act to benefit the economies and help reduce costs for the people of those jurisdictions.Shipping to the noncontiguous territories -- Guam, American Samoa, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands -- is expensive and competition limited. Last year, Guam lost one of its two domestic shippers when Horizon Lines pulled out, citing high costs.The Jones Act requires vessels that carry goods between U.S. ports be at least 75-percent owned by U.S. companies, at least 75 percent crewed by U.S. citizens, and built and registered in the United States. It became law in 1920, when there was a definite need for these regulations -- to protect the nation's shipbuilding and shipping industries, and the U.S. economy, and promote national defense by ensuring transportation for military supplies, equipment and personnel.While these are still important today, the world has changed tremendously since the Jones Act became law. Globalization has changed our economy and those of every other nation. The United States no longer relies solely on shipping to transport its armed forces or its equipment and supplies; most of this is done through the air now.