NEW EY Study: Jones Act Shipping – More Affordable and Reliable Delivery for Puerto Rico

Comprehensive study indicates global shipping rates increased 27 times more than rates in the Caribbean in recent years

WASHINGTON – Today, the Transportation Institute (TI) released a comprehensive study by Ernst & Young (EY) evaluating the Jones Act and its implications on freight rates, container availability, port congestion, and carrier performance in the Caribbean Region relative to global averages. The study evaluated the timeframe between January 2019 and December 2021 and captured the heightened volatility of freight movement during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Across multiple metrics, shippers overwhelmingly associated better carrier performance with Jones Act carriers than non- Jones Act ones,” according to the study. It also concluded that “in addition to providing stability and security in the region, the Jones Act shipping industry continues to provide substantial economic benefits to Puerto Rico.”

“Jones Act carriers are dedicated to Puerto Rico and help local businesses make goods more affordable and the supply chain more reliable compared to our global competitors,” said James L. Henry, Chairman and President of the Transportation Institute. “While the entire global supply chain was disrupted during the pandemic, our Jones Act carriers proved to be 27 times more affordable and 8 times more reliable than non-Jones Act carriers.”

Key Findings:

  • Global shipping rates increased 27 times more than rates in the Caribbean Region
  • Global shipping vessel delays were 8 times more than in the Caribbean Region
  • Jones Act Economic Impact on Puerto Rico
    • Over 2000 jobs
    • $96 million in wages
    • $221 million in economic output

About the Study:

EY engaged in primary data collection through a survey of 49 companies that ship to and from the continental United States and the Caribbean. The survey gathered information from shippers on advantages or impediments that they experienced while shipping via Jones Act and non-Jones Act carriers with respect to freight and shipping cost, the availability of containers, and the resiliency and adaptability in carrier customer service models to meet the COVID-19 pandemic and supply chain challenges. The study also evaluated the economic contribution of the Jones Act shipping industry in Puerto Rico based on direct, indirect and induced contributions.

An Executive Summary of the study is available HERE.


Transportation Institute: Sara Fuentes /

An EY analyst can be made available for a background interview upon request:


About the Transportation Institute (TI)

The Transportation Institute (TI) was established in 1967 as a non-profit organization dedicated to maritime research education and promotion. The Institute participates in all phases of the nation’s deep-sea, foreign and domestic shipping trades, and barge and tugboat operations on the Great Lakes and on the vast network of America’s inland waterways. Many member company vessels are contracted to the U.S. military services. All are of U.S. registry — crewed by American citizens operating under the world’s highest safety standards, and proudly flying the American flag. With offices on the East and West coasts, Transportation Institute supports a wide range of programs that promote the strength of America’s capability. For more information please visit: (English) / (Spanish)