MYTH: The Jones Act keeps foreign ships out of America’s inland waterways
from Grassroot Institute of Hawaii October 6, 2021
U.S. Rep. Brian Babin, R-Texas, who sits on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, claimed on the House floor in 2019 that without the Jones Act, Chinese-built and operated vessels could travel up and down the rivers of “the very heartland of the United States of America.”1 This concern has been echoed by other Jones Act supporters.2
However, there already are foreign-owned ships transporting goods along inland waterways such as the Mississippi and Delaware rivers.3 The Jones Act doesn’t prevent foreign-built and operated vessels from using these routes. As long as these ships are carrying merchandise between one U.S. port and one foreign port, they are free to operate in U.S. waters.
Babin’s presentation also included an image of a giant Chinese containership Photoshopped to look like it’s traveling along the Mississippi River.
Talk about myths: Massive oceangoing vessels like the one depicted in Babin’s presentation cannot navigate the Mississippi because the river is too shallow.4