Solidarity with the Jones Act was the topic of discussion between the leadership of the Hawaii Ports Maritime Council and a newly elected member of Congress from the Aloha State.
During a November meeting, PMC President Randy Swindell and Secretary-Treasurer Hazel Galbiso (the SIU’s port agent in Honolulu) thanked U.S. Rep. Kai Kahele (D-Hawaii) for his support. Elected to the Congress in 2020, Kahele serves on both the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the House Armed Services Committee. Kahele also is a 20-plus-year veteran of the Hawaii Air National Guard, holding the rank of Lt. Colonel.
The congressman reminded the PMC officials of his staunch support for the nation’s freight cabotage law. (The Jones Act states that cargo moved between domestic ports must be carried aboard a U.S.-flag, U.S.-crewed, U.S.-built and U.S.-owned vessel.)
He referred Swindell and Galbiso to his posted remarks on the law: “The Jones Act plays a critical role in support of U.S. national security. Eliminating the Jones Act would allow foreign-built ships to operate in our domestic trade, which only rewards countries like China at the expense of U.S. businesses and jobs. Jones Act carriers provide a reserve force of well-trained seafarers who in times of national emergency can crew reserve sealift vessels, while ensuring the United States does not need to rely on foreign carriers to move people and military assets.”
Kahele’s statement continues, “This is a commonsense law that is critical to our national security and helps sustain a fleet of vessels that can provide reliable trade of goods to Hawaii.”
He adds that the businesses affected by the Jones Act “support 13,000 jobs for Hawaii families and deliver $787 million in annual workforce income. It has a $3.3 billion economic impact on the local economy.”