The Jones Act: What to Know About Shipping to Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and Alaska
If you’re shipping to Puerto Rico, Alaska, or Hawaii, you’ll need to understand (or work with a logistics partner who understands) the Jones Act. Also known as the Maritime Act, the Jones Act is a federal law that regulates maritime commerce in the United States and commonly comes into play when shipping to Puerto Rico, Alaska, or Hawaii. Customodal’s team is well versed in the Jones Act and here to help you navigate the specific requirements involved with getting your freight where it needs to go.
This Act requires goods shipped between U.S. ports to be transported on ships that are built, owned, and operated by United States citizens or permanent residents. It restricts nonqualifying vessels from operating in inland waterways and from transporting cargo between two U.S. ports — an activity known as “cabotage.”
Passed in the wake of the first World War to boost the shipping industry, since the 1920’s, the Jones Act has been a relevant and important to the U.S. maritime industry and its workers. Its original goal was to revitalize the U.S. maritime shipping industry, which had been depleted after World War I. It also aimed to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign-built ships and generate jobs and revenue.
The Jones Act Requires:
- Ships transporting cargo between two U.S. ports must be owned by U.S.-based companies, with over 75% of the ownership stake held by U.S. citizens.
- A ship’s crew must consist of a majority of U.S. citizens.
- The ships must be built and registered in the U.S.
This means that these ships—and their workers—must follow the United States worker safety laws and environmental regulations. The act can be waived in times of natural disaster (such as during a hurricane), and if designated in the interest of national defense.
If you are planning to ship freight to Puerto Rico, Alaska, Hawaii, or anywhere else, reach out to our professional team today! We’ll take the time to understand your business and educate on the best way to get your goods where they need to go at a fair cost. Learn more about the Customodal Difference.