Statement by SIU President Michael Sacco
At their core, there is nothing new about recent, erroneous attacks against America’s freight cabotage law, commonly known as the Jones Act. This century-old law has endured because it always has been – and still remains today – vital to United States national, economic and homeland security.
Jones Act opponents typically resort to the same old, worn-out, losing playbook when they go after this critical maritime law. That’s been the case again lately, first with the posting of an easily and quickly debunked study about the law’s alleged impact on Hawaii, and then with attempts to chip away at components of the Jones Act.
From my view, any attack on the Jones Act is a direct attack on the people of Hawaii and on the U.S. as a whole. This law helps support more than 653,000 American jobs while protecting the security of our rivers and waterways. Further, a recent study by Reeve & Associates that delivers actual facts about the Jones Act and The Aloha State found that freight rates in the U.S. Mainland-Hawaii trade lane have declined in real terms over the last 10 years, “while the Jones Act has delivered positive and substantial economic contributions, including job creation, new infrastructure investments, and a reliable pipeline for critical consumer and industrial goods moving to and from the Islands.”
There are many good reasons why 91 countries around the world maintain some form of cabotage law.
There are many good reasons why the Jones Act has been American policy for a century.
There are many good reasons why the Jones Act consistently enjoys strong bipartisan support from Congress and the White House and solid backing from our top military leaders.
Without the Jones Act, the American-flag merchant fleet would be wiped out, as would the pool of U.S. citizen mariners who crew our commercial and military-support vessels. In turn, our country would face monumental security risks as foreign-flag vessels and boats and foreign crews had free reign on our rivers, waterways and coastlines.
The Jones Act was exceptionally sound policy when it was enacted in June 1920. Today, it’s arguably more important than ever, and I’m proud to support it.