New Jersey's Commissioner of Transportation said last week he had tried to arrange for a waiver to the Jones Act so that he could arrange a shipment of road salt from Searsport, Maine, to Newark on a foreign-flag ship to alleviate a shortage of salt.
The Jones Act requires that cargo shipped between U.S. ports be moved on ships flagged and built in the U.S. and crewed by Americans, though waivers to allow movement of crude oil or petroleum products with foreign vessels in cabotage trades have been granted in the past (for example, when the Strategic Petroleum Reserve has been opened and after Hurricane Sandy).
Jim Simpson, the head of New Jersey's DOT, told the radio station WKXW 101.5 FM
, "I’ve got a shipload of salt 400 miles from here.” He added: “The only thing that we’ve been able to define as an American flag vessel would take us a month to get the salt here when I can have the salt here in a day and a half. We have been going back and forth with the Feds."
The radio station reported that the Department of Homeland Security denied the state's request for a waiver, but American Shipper
was unable to immediately confirm this because government offices were closed on Monday.