Sunday, May 24, 2020
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Friday, December 20, 2019
Ed Case Introduces Three Jones Act Reform Bills
By Ed Case @ 4:26 PM :: 1911 Views :: Congressional Delegation, Jones Act, Cost of Living

CASE INTRODUCES BILLS TO ATTACK KEY DRIVER OF HAWAI’I’S HIGH COST OF LIVING

His proposals would amend the century-old Jones Act to combat monopolies in domestic shipping

News Release from Office of Rep Ed Case, Dec 20, 2019

(Honolulu, HI) -  Congressman Ed Case (HI-01) has introduced three bills in Congress to reform the century-old Merchant Marine Act of 1920 (commonly referred to as the “Jones Act”), which is widely credited with artificially inflating the cost of shipping goods to Hawai‘i.  

The Jones Act mandates that all cargo shipping between U.S. ports occur exclusively on U.S., not foreign, flagged vessels. Additionally, the law requires that these vessels are built in the U.S. and owned and crewed by U.S. citizens. Because Jones Act shipping has shrunken and international shipping has increased dramatically, especially in the last quarter-century, the Jones Act results in a very few carriers serving all domestic shipping needs.

“My three bills aim directly at one of the key drivers of our astronomically high cost of living in Hawai‘i and other locations in our country that are not part of the continental U.S,” said Case. “Because the Jones Act severely limits the supply of shipping to and from our communities, it has allowed a very few companies to control our very lifeline to the outside world and as a result command shipping rates way higher than the rest of the world. 

“In the rest of our country, if shipping rates are too high then there are transportation alternatives like trucking and rail that act as a market check on the shipping companies,” continued Case. “But that is not a choice in our noncontiguous jurisdictions, and if there are artificially limited numbers of shippers then the price of virtually everything we need is jacked up.”  

Case points to Hawai‘i as a classic example. Located almost 2,500 miles off the West Coast, the state imports well over 90 percent of its life necessities, including food and other consumer goods, construction and housing supplies, and raw materials for Hawai‘i industries like agriculture, by ocean cargo only.

“At a basic level, the everyday goods that we rely on in Hawai‘i cost much more than on the Mainland. As just one example, yesterday there was a 30 percent difference in a gallon of milk at Safeway grocery stores in Honolulu and Long Beach, California. My constituents pay $6.39 for a gallon of whole milk, while those in Long Beach, one of the major ports where Hawaii’s good come from, pay $4.49. That difference of fully 30% is only about shipping, way above world prices, and is unacceptable.”

“There are plenty of international cargo lines who could and would compete for a share of that market. Yet in Hawaii’s case only two U.S. flag domestic cargo lines - Matson and Pasha - operate a virtual duopoly over our lifeline and they do not act as an effective market check on each other,” said Case.  

Case’s three measures and their proposed amendments to the Jones Act are:

- the Noncontiguous Shipping Relief Act, which exempts all noncontiguous U.S. locations, including Hawai‘i, from the Jones Act;

- the Noncontiguous Shipping Reasonable Rate Act, which benchmarks the definition of a “reasonable rate” which domestic shippers can charge as no more than ten percent above international shipping rates for comparable routes; and

- the Noncontiguous Shipping Competition Act, which rescinds the Jones Act wherever monopolies or duopolies in noncontiguous Jones Act shipping develop.

Case said the Jones Act was enacted in a protectionist era under the guise of preserving a strong national merchant marine. “But today it is just an anachronism: most of the world’s shipping is by way of an international merchant marine functioning in an open, competitive market. And those few U.S. flag cargo lines that remain have maneuvered the Jones Act to develop virtual monopolies over domestic cargo shipping to and from our most isolated and exposed locales: our island and offshore states, territories and possessions,” said Case.

“While they are nominally subject to federal regulation, the fact of the matter is that cargo prices have gone in only one direction—up, fast and accelerating—and it is indisputable that there is no downward market pressure which would otherwise result from meaningful competition,” said Case. 

Michael N. (“Mike”) Hansen, President of the Hawai‘i Shippers’ Council, said: “The Hawai‘i Shippers’ Council welcomes Representative Case’s introduction of important new Jones Act reform legislation in the Congress to directly benefit the noncontiguous jurisdictions of the United States.”

“The Jones Act has made the domestic United States maritime industry the most expensive in the world and its burden falls most heavily on the noncontiguous jurisdictions embraced by the Act due to their complete reliance on ocean shipping for interstate surface transportation,” said Hansen.

Hansen continued: “In contrast the 48 Contiguous United States (CONUS) have access to other modes of interstate surface transportation including by road trucking (motor carriers), rail, pipeline and inland barge. The Jones Act is one of the significant cost drivers impacting the Hawaiian economy and the high cost of living plaguing the islands.” 

Case said: “Essentially, my bills are intended to lay out options for providing relief for our U.S. noncontiguous areas. We can resolve the issue in many ways, but we must change the status quo which has had such a negative impact on my state and the other jurisdictions beholden to the Jones Act.

“These long-overdue bills are of the utmost importance to the unique localities which have been left undefended to bear the brunt of the Jones Act. It is often difficult to pierce the veil of longstanding custom and understanding to see the real negative impacts of a law and what should instead be. It is even more difficult to change a law which provides a federally-created and endorsed monopoly under which no competition exists to hold down prices. Yet clearly the time for these measures is overdue.”

---30---

PDF:  Case’s remarks to the full House on introduction of his bills.

NOTE: The Hawai’i Shippers’ Council represents “shippers,” which in the domestic and international transportation industry and in law are the cargo owners. Similarly, the shipping companies, shipowners, and ship operators are known as “carriers.” 

HSC: Rep. Case Introduces Three Noncontiguous Jones Act Reform Bills 

KITV: Bill from Hawaii Congressman hopes to fix one source of Hawaii's high cost of living 

TGI: Case proposal would amend Jones Act 

AS: Hawaii congressman wants to modify Jones Act

Links

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote

2aHawaii

808 Silent Majority

808 State Update AM940

ABCDEFG Blog

ACA Signups Hawaii

ACCE

ALEC

Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Life Advocates

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

American Mothers of Hawaii

AMVETS-Hawaii

AntiPlanner

Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Astronomy Hawaii

Audit The Rail

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii 

Blaisdell Memorial Project

Broken Trust 

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

CAFR Hawaii

Castaway Conservative

Children's Alliance Hawaii

Children's Rights Institute

ChinaTownWatch.com

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Citizens for Recall

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

Coffee Break

CSIS Pacific Forum

DAR Hawaii

DeedySupport.com

DVids Hawaii

E Hana Kakou Kelii Akina

E Māua Ola i Moku o Keawe

Farmers For Choice Hawaii

FIRE

Fix Oahu!

Follow the Money Hawaii

Frank in Hawaii

Front Page Magazine

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Get Off Your Butts!

God, Freedom, America

Grassroot Institute

Habele.org

Hawaii Aganst Assisted Suicide

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crime Victims' Rights

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defending Marriage

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Families for Educational Choice

Hawaii Family Advocates

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Firearm Community

Hawaii Fishermen's Alliance

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii March for Life

Hawaii Meth Project

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Right to Life -- Big Island

Hawaii Right to Life -- Oahu

Hawaii Shield Law Coalition

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

Heritage Foundation

HI Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

HIEC.Coop 

HiFiCo

Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Homeless Crisis

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

Horns of Jericho Blog

House Minority Blog

House Republican Caucus YouTube

HPACC

Hump Day Report

I Vote Hawaii

If Hawaii News

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

Iowa Meets Maui

Jackson v Abercrombie

Jihad Watch

July 4 in Hawaii

Kahle v New Hope

Kakaako Cares

Kau TEA Party

Kauai Co GOP

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

KeyWiki

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group

MentalIllnessPolicy.org

Middle East Forum--The Legal Project

Mililani Conservatives for Change

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

Muslim Brotherhood in America

NAMI Hawaii

NARTH

Natatorium.org

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

National Wind Watch

New Zeal

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Northwest Economic Policy Seminar

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

Now What I Really Think

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

ObamaCare Abortion Hawaii

Obookiah

OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

OurFutureHawaii.com

Pacific Aviation Museum

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons 

Pro-GMO Hawaii

P.U.E.O.

RailRipoff.com

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Republican Party -- Hawaii State

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

School Choice in Hawaii

SenatorFong.com

SIFE Remington

SIFE W. Oahu 

Sink the Jones Act

Smart About Marijuana--Hawaii

St Marianne Cope

State Budget Solutions Hawaii

State Policy Network

Statehood for Guam

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Harriet Tubman Agenda

The Long War Journal

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

Truth About Trade & Technology - Hawaii

UCC Truths

Union Members Know Your Rights

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

Valor in the Pacific

VAREP Honolulu

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii

Yes2TMT