Since 1920 the Jones Act has mandated that the sea transport of cargo between U.S. ports must be performed by vessels that are U.S.-built, U.S.-owned, U.S. flagged, and U.S.-crewed. Justified on national security grounds, the law was meant to ensure a strong maritime sector to bolster U.S. capabilities in times of war or national emergency. These envisioned benefits, however, have proved illusory while the Jones Act has imposed a very real and ongoing economic burden. Despite this, the law survives thanks to well-connected supporters and ignorance of the Jones Act and its costs by the general public.

More on Jones Act

Commentary

Duncan Hunter Should Stop Supporting the Jones Act and Sink This Rusted-Out Hulk of a Law

By Colin Grabow. Riverside Press-Enterprise. August 5, 2018.

No Truckers? Let’s Try Ships

By Colin Grabow. National Review (Online). July 26, 2018.

The Jones Act Drives America’s Finest into Exile

By Colin Grabow. The Wall Street Journal. April 29, 2018.

Cato Studies

The Jones Act: A Burden America Can No Longer Bear

By Colin Grabow, Inu Manak, and Daniel J. Ikenson. Policy Analysis No. 845. June 28, 2018.

Cato Reviews & Journals

Does the Jones Act Endanger American Seamen?

Thomas Grennes. Regulation. Fall 2017.

America’s Welfare Queen Fleet: The Need for Maritime Policy Reform

Rob Quartel. Regulation. Summer 1991.