top of page

"the Jones Act"

"The Jones Act is “an archaic, 100-year old law that stays around solely because it benefits a small group of politically well-connected private shipbuilders.”

-National Taxpayers Union Foundation

Section 27 of The Merchant Marine Act of 1927, also known as the Jones Act, requires that only American ships carry goods and passengers from one United States port to another port in the United States. In addition, every ship must be built, crewed, and operated by American citizens.


There are four main requirements for vessels and their crews to be compliant with the Jones Act:

        They must be owned by U.S. companies that are controlled by U.S. citizens with at least 75

        percent U.S. ownership.


        A crew that is 75% comprised of U.S. citizens.


        The vessels must be built, repaired and maintained in the United States. 


        It must be registered in the United States.

When the Jones Act was signed into law in 1920, it was intended to protect the U.S. shipbuilding and transportation industries, which were suffering after World War I. 

The Jones act...
However, the jones act produced many negative consequences.
America's fleet is shrinking

The Jones Act is intended to maintain the shipbuilding industry,

but the exact opposite is happening.

Use our shrinking U.S. fleet-sizes as evidence. 

Since World War II, the number of Jones Act vessels and shipyards have significantly declined.


1960             15 public shipyards

2016             5 public shipyards 

1960             3,000 U.S.-Flag vessels 


2016             169 U.S.-Flag vessels

                       93 of those Jones-Act eligible 

                       73 could be utilized during wartime 

The Jones Act is not only outdated and irrelevant during modern times, but it's sole purpose for keeping it has been to protect the U.S. shipbuilding industry. Clearly, based on these numbers it has not only failed to protect the industry but has sabotaged the hardworking Americans that relied on it to do so.

The Jones act is unaffordable

Not only is the Jones Act shrinking our fleet numbers, but it's also making shipbuilding unaffordable.

Jones Act ships: 


  • Cost 8 times more than competitors

  • Have longer, delayed construction and costs 

  • 5 times more expensive crew costs than comparable crews of foreign-flag ships.

  • Only serve special interests, not the average American

Americans living on our islands & territories face the greatest burden.


As a result of The Jones Act, they have to pay more for basic necessities such as: ​

  • food

  • medicine 

  • clothing

  • oil


It costs approximately 3 times more to ship oil from the Gulf Coast to New England, than it does to ship oil to Europe.


Repealing the Jones Act would create an economic gain of $5 billion to $15 billion, according to the U.S. International Trade Commission. Consumers should not have to pay more because of this outdated policy. 

The Jones act is dangerous

The shipbuilding industry cannot afford to continuously update or maintain ships to the costly, outdated standards imposed on them.


Jones Act ships tend to be older and less safe, putting American lives at risk.


In 2015, "El Faro," a 40-year old Jones Act ship sank while servicing Puerto Rico. The U.S. Coast Guard considered it to be "one of the worst maritime disasters in U.S. history."

The Jones act needs to be repealed

“It is unacceptable to force the people of Puerto Rico to pay at least twice as much for food, clean drinking water, supplies and infrastructure due to Jones Act requirements…”

– Sen. John McCain, R-AZ. 

“Puerto Rico can’t borrow funds, and they are required to use American shipping only, which is the most expensive in the world.”

-Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill.

“The Jones Act is just another example of a federal regulation that harms American consumers, gives foreign corporations an edge over American businesses, and makes disaster response harder,” Lee said in a statement last September. “It is far past time to repeal it.”

– Sen. Mike Lee, R-UT.

The Jones Act impacts every American and has bipartisan opposition. From the blue-collar shipbuilder looking for work, to the single mother looking to heat her home, this piece of legislation places unnecessary burdens on those striving to make ends meet.


Additionally, this outdated law places hurdles on struggling communities devastated from a natural disaster. They should not have to rely on lawmakers to waive it in emergency situations when they need help the most.


It's time to move forward instead of looking to last century. 

It's time to protect our workers and save our economy.

It's time to come together and modernize the way we view trade.

It's time to repeal The Jones Act.

bottom of page