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We know all too well the seemingly endless assaults under which the Jones Act finds itself. When these attacks happen, one of the most common targets is the U.S.-build requirement, the section of the cabotage law that requires vessels operating within the Jones Act trade be built at an American shipyard.

The build requirement is a critical part of keeping the U.S.-flag fleet sailing, while also creating thousands of jobs for American workers in shipyards across the country. According to the Maritime Administration, there are 124 active shipyards in the United States – located in 27 states – and more than 110,000 shipyard-related jobs, in all 50 states. Together, the individuals at those facilities work tirelessly to build, repair or refit vessels to keep the Jones Act fleet strong and growing. Any attack on the Jones Act – especially on the U.S.-build requirement – is an attack on American workers, plain and simple.

Significantly, the American-built fleet contains some of the most efficient, modern vessels across the globe. Matthew Paxton, president of the Shipbuilders Council of America, stated during a recent U.S. House of Representatives hearing, “U.S. shipyards build some of the most technologically advanced vessels in the world. For example, the world’s first LNG-powered containership was built in the U.S. and is now serving the Puerto Rican trade. [May we add by union workers!] Our shipyards also build world-class offshore service vessels for oil and gas exploration, vessels of all types for the Coast Guard, and state-of-the-art vessels for the Navy.”

Paxton also said, “The Jones Act ensures a commercial shipbuilding industry, supplier chain, and workforce that can support building and maintaining these Navy assets, making it a major national security benefit. It is for that reason that the U.S. Navy has always, and continues, to support the Jones Act.”

These American-built ships create good-paying jobs, protect the nation and contribute $37.3 billion dollars to the national GDP. The MTD, its affiliates and its Port Maritime Councils proudly stand with and support our brothers and sisters in the shipbuilding trade and will continue to defend the U.S.-build requirement of the Jones Act to ensure that America’s shipyards remain open for business and thriving.

Approved 2018 MTD Executive Board Meeting