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What is the purpose of the Jones Act?

On Behalf of | Mar 28, 2024 | Admiralty & Maritime Defense

The Jones Act is important to the realm of maritime commerce within the United States.

This legislation, formally known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, regulates maritime trade and protects the interests of American shipping.

Purpose of the Jones Act

According to the American Maritime Partnership, there are 40,000 Jones Act vessels operating in domestic trade. The primary aim of the Jones Act is to promote and maintain a strong domestic maritime industry. It requires that American citizens or permanent residents build, own and operate all vessels that transport goods between U.S. ports. This regulation helps to ensure a market for domestically produced vessels and supports American jobs in shipbuilding and seafaring.

Key provisions

One of the key provisions of the Jones Act is that ships must have a U.S. registration and meet specific eligibility criteria to operate in U.S. waters. The act mandates that vessels have crews of American citizens or lawful permanent residents.

Impact on the economy

The Jones Act impacts various sectors of the U.S. economy. It ensures reliable transportation of goods between U.S. ports and supports domestic commerce and national security. The act also creates employment opportunities for American workers in shipping and related industries.

Controversy and criticism

Despite its intended benefits, the Jones Act has been subject to criticism and controversy. Critics argue that the act’s requirements can lead to higher shipping costs, which companies may pass on to consumers. Some argue that the act restricts competition and innovation in the maritime sector.

The creators of the Jones Act intended it to protect the maritime industry in the U.S.