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A recently issued report reconfirms what the MTD has been saying for years – Jones Act shipping provides a substantial economic benefit for the commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

Conducted by Ernst & Young for the Transportation Institute, the three-year study reviewed the shipping performance and economic contributions of Jones Act routes in the Caribbean.

The account found Jones Act operations on the island provided more than 2,000 jobs directly and indirectly producing nearly $96 million in annual income. It also showed a yearly economic impact for the commonwealth of more than $220 million.

Released on August 23, the report dealt with the period between April 2019 and April 2022. Ernst & Young collected data through a survey of 49 companies that ship to-and-from the continental United States and the Caribbean to evaluate changes in freight rates, service reliability and customer satisfaction. As the dates show, the study includes the period immediately prior to the covid pandemic as well as time since.

The Jones Act, part of the 1920 Merchant Marine Act, states that cargo moved between two domestic ports must be carried by US-crewed, US-built, US-flagged and US-owned vessels.

The report looked at cargo moved between the US and Puerto Rico, which is covered by the Jones Act, as well as to-and-from Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, which aren’t. It noted global shipping rates during the time reviewed increased 27 times more than rates in the Caribbean and global vessel delays were eight times more than in the Caribbean.

During its June convention, the MTD saluted the Jones Act carriers and their mariners for their dedicated service to Puerto Rico, especially as the island recovered from the 2017 hurricanes and 2020 earthquakes that rocked the commonwealth. Members of MTD affiliates through the Puerto Rico Ports Maritime Council have delivered food, water and supplies all across the island.

The Transportation Institute is a Washington-based, non-profit organization dedicated to maritime research education and promotion. It supports a wide range of programs that promote the strength of America’s shipping capability.