Faces of the Flag by Torey Presti

Faces of the Flag by Torey Presti

The faces behind the National Glory Figure 1 are too numerous to mention, but without them, we would not be in our seventh year of serving Puerto Rico from Houston.

Figure 1: MV National Glory

National Shipping of America’s dependable Jones Act container service has served and supported the 3.2 M population of Puerto Rico since 2013.

This dedication and commitment were specifically demonstrated during times of crisis, most recently after Hurricane Maria in 2017. The rapid deployment of the Jones Act fleet not only provided an adhoc mobilization effort to the island, but moreover, to the doors in Puerto Rico where disaster struck and the cargo most needed. The National Glory manned by US Citizens of the AMO and SIU unions, played its role by providing relief goods as rapidly as possible while navigating three hurricanes in a period of less than a month – Harvey, Irma, and Maria. Figure 2

Figure 2: Crew holding canned goods provided by NSA for Hurricane Maria relief in Puerto Rico

 

 

The Jones Act will be 100 years old in 2020. It is a complex law given the multitude of dependencies starting in the name of national security.  Since vessels are deployed on the US domestic non-contiguous trades it is easy but erroneous to compare to the global ocean carriers.  To bring a fairer perspective, Jones Act ships should be compared to US Rail and US trucking industries rather than international deep-sea carriers. The domestic ocean trades are dedicated and consequently have built infrastructures on the island to support door to door service. The domestic 53’ container is the preferred container in Puerto Rico.As a dedicated asset to the trade, the National Glory acts more like a ‘utility’ than an ocean carrier. The 3.2 M Americans of Puerto Rico depend on their goods on a timely, fixed day basis. Dependability best sums up the carriers serving the island. Ships and containers specifically built for the trade demonstrate carrier’s commitment to specific needs of Puerto Rico by providing the vital ‘lifeline’ to stateside origins and destinations. When speaking to island inhabitants, they will tell you what date the supermarkets receive which products on which line.

Lastly, it should be noted that of the three modes of moving freight in USA commerce, moving freight by water is the least expensive mode of transportation, short of the pipeline.

US Flag shipping and particularly the Jones Act trades are important to our nation from a national security position as well as the Americans that rely on these services for sustaining their lifestyles. These are the faces of the US Flag.

 

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