Made in America

Energy Efficient USA Shipbuilding Program

Mission: To revitalize the US shipbuilding industry with innovative and green practices and open trade between US ports that are currently restricted by the Jones Act.

The initial goal is to raise $50,000 to begin the production of a cargo ship that will utilize methanol fuel cells for power.

If our mission for creating sustainable solutions to some of our global problems seem aligned with your goals and you would be interested in learning more about our organization, we would be happy to meet online or in person to provide further information.


The Problems:

The Jones Act requires shipping between two US ports utilize vessels built, owned, and operated by Americans but shipbuilding subsidies ended in the 1980s leaving few US shipbuilders. Less than 1% of the world’s ships are built in the United States. The Jones Actis a federal law that regulates maritime commerce in the United States. The Jones Act requires goods shipped between U.S. ports to be transported on ships that are built, owned, and operated by United States citizens or permanent residents. It is also known as The Merchant Marine Act of 1920. The Jones Act doesn’t apply to cargo shipped between the mainland states and the U.S. Virgin Islands, but it does affect Guam and Puerto Rico, whose 3.4 million residents get a large portion of their goods via container ships from the mainland.

  • Currently, the fleet of US vessels that comply with the Jones Act restrictions has dwindled from 2,300 in 1946 to less than 100 today, and many of those ships are old and among the most expensive in the world to maintain.
  • US territories, including Puerto Rico, are subject to the Jones Act meaning that goods between the US mainland and US territories like Puerto Rico cannot ship directly to one another unless the vessels are built, owned, and operated by Americans.
  • There is less opportunity to sell and enjoy goods from/by Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and other US island locations because it is so much more costly. The average cost to ship a 20-foot container to Puerto Rico from the US is $3,500 versus $1,100 to the Dominican Republic or other nearby islands. It is more economical for Hawaii ranchers to transport cattle to Canada rather than wait for a Jones Act ship to take them to California.
  • The American shipbuilding industry has all but disappeared – apart from military ships – as 90 percent of the world’s deep draft shipbuilding has moved to China, South Korea, and Japan.
  • Almost all current cargo ships use bunker fuel, the most crude and toxic of fuels, that gets dumped into our waterways and are a significant source of air pollution globally. Pitch black and thick as molasses, “bunker” fuel is made from the dregs of the refining process. It is also loaded with sulfur – the chemical that, when burned, produces noxious gases and fine particles that can harm human health and the environment, especially along highly trafficked areas.

There are both proponents and critics of the Jones Act.

Proponents say:

  • Without the Jones Act, the Navy would need to spend many billions of dollars on new sealift vessels.
  • Without the Jones Act, the Navy would be hard-pressed to crew the sealift vessels it already has.
  • Without the Jones Act, U.S. construction of large oceangoing commercial vessels would cease.
  • Without the Jones Act, foreign ships and mariners would take over critical U.S. economic infrastructure.
  • Without the Jones Act, safety and professional standards would erode.
  • The Jones Act provides major national security benefits.

Critics say:

  • The residents of Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Guam pay a special “tax” via higher prices every time they buy something from the continental U.S. It’s a direct transfer from their wallets to the U.S. shipping and shipbuilding industry.
  • A 2012 New York Fed study found it costs twice as much to ship a freight container from the U.S. East Coast to Puerto Rico than to nearby Haiti.
  • The protectionist mentality embodied by the Jones Act directly contradicts the lessons we have learned about the benefits of a free and open market.


Most people believe the Jones Act will remain in place, mostly due to national security concerns. If so, there are still many things that can be done to make the U.S. shipbuilding process more efficient, environmentally friendly, and improve trade between the U.S. mainland and Puerto Rico.

Currently, most container/cargo ships use the cheapest fuel available, heavy oil, while they are in international waters as there are no environmental regulations. Jeremy Plester wrote in The Guardian that large ocean-going ships tend to use bunker fuel, the world’s dirtiest diesel fuel—a toxic, tar-like sludge that usually contains 3,500 times more Sulphur than the diesel used for cars and it’s also cheap. Per his article, shipping accounts for 13% of sulfur oxide emissions worldwide and although new global rules for shipping to cut sulfur pollution are due to come into force in 2020, the sulfur content of shipping fuel will still be 500 times more than road diesel. There are alternative fuels that can run efficiently and are friendly to the environment.

USA Shipbuilding will open the doors of commerce between the mainland of the United States and Puerto Rico through a unique and green approach to US shipbuilding by building a new kind of cargo ship, the opening of two new shipping ports, one in the mainland U.S. and one in Puerto Rico, and the operation of a direct shipping route between the U.S. mainland and Puerto Rico. The ultimate goal os USA Shipbuilding is to:

  • Increase commerce between the mainland of the United States and Puerto Rico thereby providing the opportunity for local Puerto Rico merchandise to be shipped to the mainland U.S. and for mainland U.S. businesses to competitively sell goods to Puerto Rico.
  • Build a new kind of cargo ship in the United States that is comfortable, clean, low-cost and reliable
  • Operate one or more cargo ships for the transportation of goods in compliance with the Jones Act
  • Build and operate two new U.S. ports, one in Florida and one in the Puerto Rico
  • Operate a direct shipping route between the mainland U.S. and Puerto Rico
  • Employ U.S. shipbuilders and purchase and utilize U.S. products in the production of the cargo ship
  • Eliminate the use of heavy oil and utilize green approaches, such as a self-contained septic system and alternative fuels like LNG, solar and wind
  • Build LNG refueling stations in both Florida and Puerto Rico. LNG is non-toxic, non-corrosive and fuel efficient. These refueling stations would be available to truckers who operate LNG rigs making fuel availability more readily available.
  • Build and operate with state-of-the-art technology to reduce maintenance and be efficient
  • Use an electronic stabilization system for safer and smoother transport
  • Offer flexible alternatives to container-only shipping to make the of shipping goods feasible for smaller companies
  • Build and operate using good practices, such as environmentally friendly operations and no dumping