Jones Act lobby chairman steps down
by Michael Hansen, Hawaii Shippers Council, December 29, 2017
The Maritime Executive Magazine published on December 27, 2017, an editorial, “The resilient Jones Act fleet,” written by Thomas A Allegretti, the outgoing chairman of the American Maritime Partnership (AMP), the primary Jones Act industry lobbying group organized as an industry trade association IRS 501 (c) (6) entity.
Allegretti is also the long-time President of the American Waterways Operators (AWO), the industry trade association representing the inland waterways barge industry, which own and operate approximately 80% of all the vessels in the Jones Act fleet. In addition, the AWO membership includes several of the coastal tug and barge operators including in Hawaii.
The new AMP chairman beginning January 1, 2018, will be Matt Woodruff, Vice President of Public and Government Affairs, Kirby Corporation, and a member of the board of directors of the AWO.
Kirby Corporation is the largest operator of tank barges in the U.S. and maintains an operation in Hawaii (having purchased Smith Maritime Inc.). Kirby operates both on the inland waterways and in the coastal trades.
It is obvious why the Jones Act industry chooses its leader from the inland waterways and coastal tug and barge segments because they represent approximately 95% of all vessels in the Jones Act fleet.
In his editorial, Allegretti puts the Jones Act industry’s spin on the year 2017 events and admonishes the AMP membership to continue to their active support the Jones act.
Key excerpts from Alligretti:
Throughout my tenure as chairman of the American Maritime Partnership, I have had the great privilege of witnessing tremendous resiliency in our American shipyards, in our coastal and inland ports, and on our U.S.-flag vessels. This year in particular, we were acutely reminded of it. Our American maritime industry resiliently delivered for our nation’s economic, homeland, and national security—including during times of historic national disaster.
In addition to our many industry achievements, including the sustained employment of nearly 500,000 American workers, we have also confronted challenges and adversity, perhaps none more notable than the massive devastation inflicted by Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico and on our surrounding neighbors in the Caribbean.
But, unfortunately, we know that despite the resiliency of our industry, we have detractors who would rather engage in sensationalism and prioritize agendas over facts. Over the past year, the Jones Act was frequently scapegoated and targeted. Profiteers and the media utilized Hurricane Maria to promote an agenda that would benefit only foreign maritime corporations at the expense of the American worker and our national security.
Like our vessels and crews that continue to deliver for not only Puerto Rico but also our entire nation, we too must be resilient in defending the Jones Act. We must remain fully committed to educating policymakers, the media, and the public on the fundamental importance of this law to America’s economy and security.
This January, I am pleased to pass the helm to my good friend Matt Woodruff of Kirby Corporation who will skillfully guide the course ahead on behalf of the men and women of the American maritime industry as the new Chairman of the American Maritime Partnership.
The American maritime industry is the very cornerstone of our nation, and we must continue to be resilient in championing its importance.