Opening Breakfast: Jones Act 2024 – Threats, Opportunities and the Way Forward

July 11, 2024

A shipyard worker inspects the bow thruster of a Maine DOT ferry at Senesco Marine, North Kingstown, RI. Photo by WorkBoat.

This year International Workboat Show (IWBS) will present the Jones Act Breakfast, where industry experts will discuss the history of the Jones Act, its current state, the challenges it faces today, and the opportunities it presents for the future.

For more than a century, the Jones Act has been the backbone of American maritime policy. By requiring that goods transported between U.S. ports be carried by ships built, owned, and operated by Americans, the Jones Act has helped establish the maritime industry as a vital part of the nation’s economic framework.

As 2024 draws to a close, the Jones Act is once again in the spotlight. The threat of foreign competition and its impact on U.S. shipbuilding is of particular concern. U.S. shipbuilding companies are subject to stricter regulations than most of their international counterparts.

During the breakfast session, speakers will address key questions, such as:

  • Preventing exploitation and ensuring fair competition:How can the Jones Act be updated to close loopholes that foreign companies could exploit and ensure fair competition for domestic operators?
  • Navigation in the construction of hybrid ships:How does a shipyard’s project management adapt when building a hybrid vessel with European-made engines? Hybrid technology is not yet widespread in the United States, and since 70% of the ship’s weight must be American-made, a European-made propulsion system can exceed 20 to 25% of the weight, which calls into question compliance with the Jones Act. How do shipyards manage these builds?
  • Growth and sustainability:Can the Jones Act further support the growth and sustainability of the sector?
  • Global competition and strategic positioning:With increasing competition from China, how does the Jones Act affect U.S. maritime capabilities and global strategic positioning?

The session will also explore opportunities to leverage the Jones Act for the benefit of industry, covering:

  • Modernization and innovation:How can the Jones Act evolve to meet modern demands while continuing to protect and promote the U.S. maritime industry?
  • Regulatory adjustments and industrial innovation:Strategies to improve the U.S. shipbuilding industry to ensure its competitiveness and meet future demands.
  • Investments in technology and workforce development:Highlighting the political support and role of the Jones Act in strengthening U.S. maritime security amid global geopolitical changes.

Jones Act Breakfast attendees will gain a comprehensive understanding of the current Jones Act landscape and its implications for the maritime industry. They will learn practical strategies to adapt to regulatory conditions, optimize operations under the Jones Act, and develop business strategies in response to the changing maritime environment.

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