BY STEPHEN H. FRASER – Horizon Lines is, and always has been, a very staunch supporter of the Jones Act and all of its requirements.
The Jones Act stipulates that cargo shipped between two U.S. ports must be transported on vessels that are American-made, American-flagged, at least 75% American-owned and predominantly American crewed.
We fully support these requirements and steadfastly believe they are vital to American economic, merchant marine, military, national and homeland security interests.
The Jones Act has provided a strong foundation for America’s domestic shipping industry since 1920, and has enjoyed the long-standing support of the U.S. Navy, bi-partisan members of Congress and every president in modern history.
As one of the nation’s leading domestic ocean shipping companies and as a proud member of the American Maritime Partnership, Horizon Lines understands that the history and livelihood of our company, our customers and the markets we serve are inextricably linked to the Jones Act. Fifty-six years ago this week, the converted U.S. built tanker Ideal X departed Port Newark with 58 containers bound for Port Houston.
With that voyage, Sea-Land Service, our predecessor, went on to revolutionize ocean cargo transportation. Today, the associates of Horizon Lines, in partnership with our maritime and shore-side union partners, are proud of the role we play supplying the citizens of Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico with goods that are vital to their lives.
The Jones Act has made this possible. It has been integral to our nation’s past and it is critical to our future.
Horizon Lines’s interim President and Chief Executive Officer Stephen H. Fraser issued this statement. Horizon Lines is one of the nation’s leading domestic ocean shipping companies and the only ocean cargo carrier serving all three noncontiguous domestic markets of Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico from the continental United States. The company maintains a fleet of 15 fully Jones Act qualified vessels and operates five port terminals in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.
The Jones Act probably made sense in 1920, but not anymore. Do you think it’s worth paying 25% more for everything just to protect a shipping monopoly to Hawaii? I don’t.
The Jones Act is century-old crony-capitalism. Of course Horizon Lines supports it because its business depends on it. The Jones Act makes everything more expensive in Hawaii and precludes a HECO conversion to plentiful and cheap natural gas from the mainland USA — and necessitates that we will be stuck burning expensive petroleum to generate the most expensive electricity in the United States. (This is because no U.S. ship-builder can build a ship cheaply enough to make carriage of liquified natural gas between here and Long Beach economically feasible.) Dan Inouye managed to get an exception for Norwegian Cruise Lines — there ought to be more.
The Jones Act, and other anti-free market legislation does not serve the public interest. Only free markets and competition will drive the costs down for the benefit of the people of Hawaii. Its time Horizon Lines and the unions to stop raping the people of Hawaii.
It is absolutely just this side of Criminal, that as citizens of these islands we continue to be hamstrung by these archaic protectionist Maritime Laws; that have so outlived their validity, usefulness, and serve only to perpetuate enslavement to a non-competitive shipping monopoly: For residents of this State, it is tantamount to the perpetuation of the plantation mentality and amounts to little more than economic racism.
Any and every “elected” representative of this state, who stands before the population to espouse that the Jones Act is good for Hawaii is simply another dupe in the pocket of Alexander Baldwin. These career politicians, for decades, have had their coffers filled by these Jones Act entities, whether the actual shippers, the longshoreman, or what have you: All to the detriment of every working family, every child, and every business.
The pro Argument Jones Act Lobby is extremely wealthy, with enormous funds on hand and they have been in the past, and are at present willing to spend what ever it takes to keep the dirty little secret of the Jones Act off the table. Never has their been an issue so directly impacting so many so taboo to discuss.
The talking points are always the same from the proponents: Homeland Security (fear), Reliance and consistency, (competition would end that?). Protects US Shipping Industry (has effectively killed domestic shipping Industry which in turn ensures no competition for them). Foreign Shipping doesn’t adhere to the high standards required by the US. (flat out obfuscation, Maritime Law and its standards is overseen by a World Body with stringent standards.) The ability to co-opt American Flagged vessels in time of war, for troop, or military materials. (Many foreign flagged vessels were used and are still being used in operations in the Persian Gulf.)
These are flat out the same arguments they have paraded for nearly 100 years. The facts are American Ship building industry has Nearly vanished. It costs roughly a 1/3 to 1/2 less to construct in comparable vessel in Asia. Truth of the Matter is, Matson, in flat out defiance of the Jones Act, which mandates repairs to their vessels must take place through American facilities, regularly take their vessels for repair in China, and even after having paid the penalty for having done so, the repairs are still cheaper than had they been done in America. America’s protectionist Jones Act is a dinosaur in today’s world shipping industry, there are only two other countries on the planet whose “protections” are as restrictive. Both in South America.
Everything, and I mean everything that is cited as the intended purpose of the Jones Act, protecting merchant marines, protecting American Jobs, protecting American Shipbuilding has fallen to merely empty slogans in a Maritime Industry that is facile and growing and ever evolving in a World that is ever changing: Whereas the once devised Act is religiously held on to, to the detriment of the very interests it was devised to protect: The only protection it provides now, is to the shipping gentry that control the wholesale life line to these islands: As they once controlled the water on Maui, or the trains: How they once controlled who would eat, and who wouldn’t by selecting from their captive work force: For the pine, for the Cane. It’s the same mindset.
The promulgation and the Sacred pact of politicians and the Shipping Industry is a detriment to each and every one of us in these islands: All the reasons put forth for the sustaining of a monopoly are on their face tepid, and when fully analyzed wholly fraudulent.
The Model for Hawaii, should be the model practice in Singapore; With less landmass than Hawaii, with fewer deep water ports than Hawaii: With an abandonment of restrictive shipping Policies Singapore IS A WORLD power in shipping, with a GDP greater than the US, this from an island Nation: They now have not only a transportation power, but thousands of jobs added in the Ship building industry: It is time for the powers that be to open their eyes, and stop protecting the relatively few jobs shipping provides in these Islands and embraces a view for Hawaii that includes these islands as a World Shipping Power, with 10’s of thousands of New Jobs. Well paying jobs, not only the result of the commerce as a shipping hub, but to all the business associated with housing, merchants, maintenance and on and on: In the small minded vision that has become the norm, the interest is in protecting what we have, and that amounts to the protection of the few. It is a failed paradigm. Because of Hawaii’s location in the Pacific, as a Hub to all points South as well as East, the only constraint on Hawaii’s future as a shipping power, is the myopic small minded protectionist politicians, influenced by the those who fund them: There is a whole world out there, with investment, with the ability to provide the infrastructure, and the will, who see the great untapped potential these Islands present. And at the door stands Uncle with his cigar and his scythe warning them away: Drinking a cocktail provided by lobbyists, and blowing smoke up all our………….okole’,,,,,,,,thanks for letting me vent.
Well put Mokibrs!!! Indeed!
I hope Hawaii Reporter got the full one time ad rate for this advertorial, because it is about as far from a legitimate piece of journalism as it gets.
The bottom line is that the Jones Act is no longer needed except by folks like Mr. Frasier and his Horizon Lines.
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