“While dozens of foreign vessels wait at anchor off the coast with delayed cargo, American carriers serving our markets, because of their own substantial capital investments in purpose-built vessels, equipment and terminals, continue to deliver cargo on reliable sailing schedules.”
The American Maritime Partnership (AMP) – a coalition of U.S.-flag maritime unions (including the MTD and several of its affiliates), operators and shipyards – reported to the U.S. Transportation Department in response to a call for information dealing with the current backlog of vessels outside the ports of Long Beach-Los Angeles and elsewhere domestically.
In a letter dated October 25 to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, AMP President Michael Roberts wrote while great attention is being called to the supply-chain situation off the coast of southern California, “we wanted to highlight that these problems have largely not affected the domestic maritime industry, showing the resilience of our American system.
“When the COVID-19 pandemic began, over 500 trans-Pacific sailings were cancelled, or ‘blanked’ by international carriers,” Roberts continued. “On the other hand, few if any domestic voyages had been blanked by any Jones Act carrier during the same period.
“Across the country, including in areas like Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico – areas that are dependent on ocean shipping for their basic goods – American carriers have continued to provide an uninterrupted flow of goods in our domestic (Jones Act) markets,” he added.
The Jones Act is the nation’s freight cabotage law. It requires cargo moved from one domestic port to another be carried aboard U.S.-crewed, U.S.-built, U.S.-owned and U.S-flag ships. AMP notes that the Jones Act industry accounts for more than 650,000 jobs throughout the country accounting for more than $150 billion in annual economic impact.