April 11 - Senator Frank F. Blas, Jr. introduced a resolution that requests Guam's Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives to introduce legislation to exempt Guam, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and Alaska from the U.S. Build provision of the Maritime Shippin
"While Guam already has exemptions from the Jones Act, it has very little effect on our shipping costs because other non-contiguous U.S. ports that shippers would need to connect through to make a shipping route sustainable are subject to all the restrictions," said Blas. The Senator further stated that while gathering the information for the resolution, he received information about increased costs for containers arriving from the United States that merchants have had no choice but to pass on to their consumers.
Concerning fuel costs and how they factor into shipping costs, Blas says, "I recognise that the increasing cost of fuel has played a role in the rising costs we are seeing on the store shelves. But at the same time, if shipping companies who are doing business or want to do business in our region can acquire larger and more fuel efficient ships to replace their aging fleet at a substantially reduced cost, those savings can be passed on to merchants, who in turn can lower their prices for their customers."
If the resolution is passed by the Guam Legislature, copies will be sent to the members of Congress who represent Guam, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Alaska, and the CNMI, and to U.S. Senator John McCain, who in 2010, introduced a measure that would have exempted the non-contiguous states and territories from the Jones Act, as well as to the general manager and board members of the Port Authority of Guam, and to the Governor of Guam.
As our correspondent Ian Putzger wrote in the Jan/Feb issue of HLPFI, the Jones Act continues to cause major problems for some US maritime operations, but the political forces are unsympathetic to calls for change particularly in an election year. Indeed Putzger wrote that Congress seems bent on closing loopholes to the legislation. For Putzger full article visit the HLPFI website and download the digital edition or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org we will send a pdf.