Trump Administration Waives Shipping Restriction For Puerto Rico

Glen Mclaughlin
October 2, 2017

Over 10,000 federal relief workers are on the island, and Puerto Rico's governor has praised the federal government's relief efforts.

President Donald Trump on Thursday removed shipping restrictions that critics said held back the disaster response in hurricane-battered Puerto Rico.

Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted Thursday morning, September 28 that Trump had signed off on waiving the restrictions for 10 days.

The Jones Act, otherwise known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, requires goods shipped between American ports to be carried exclusively by ships built primarily in the United States, and to have US citizens as its owners and crews. One constraint that officials anxious would really start to bite as the recovery stretches on is an almost-century-old US law meant to support a robust domestic shipping industry, known as the Jones Act. It therefore drives up the cost of shipping goods to isolated and faraway places like Puerto Rico and Hawaii.

Waiving the act means much-needed goods may be able to arrive more quickly to the island.

Puerto Rico's population of 3.4 million American citizens is in the throes of a humanitarian crisis in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, which killed 16 people and ravaged the islands electricity grid. Shipments are still sitting on docks because of damaged infrastructure, Bloomberg News reports in a separate article.

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In the meetings, the board said it also requested that several federal agencies assign employees "to the board for the next several months to support Puerto Rico's recovery efforts".

"We have a lot of shippers and a lot of people that work in the shipping industry that don't want the Jones Act lifted", he told reporters.

Sarah Sanders, Trump's spokeswoman, tweeted Thursday that the Jones Act would be waived.

The administration waived the act for Southeastern states from September 8 through 22, after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Floridians and Puerto Ricans are all Americans -and our federal government is failing Puerto Rico in its greatest time of need.

That's tied up getting critical supplies such as food, fuel and water to Puerto Rico, which has largely remained without power since Hurricane Maria made landfall last week.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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