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American Feeder Lines is seeking a temporary exemption of the Jones Act to allow foreign-built ships into U.S. domestic maritime service, as the company tries to attract investment to domestic marine highways.
AFL's step is one of the most significant efforts to overcome one of the major obstacles facing the development of U.S. marine highways: a shortage of suitable U.S.-built ships.
The acquisition of foreign ships would give U.S. shipbuilders the time to build a marine highways fleet and allow operators to begin service. The company is negotiating with the Maritime Administration and seeking support in Congress for an exemption to the Jones Act, which requires vessels in domestic service to be built in the U.S.
The exemption would be contingent on the operator securing contracts for new vessels to be built in U.S. shipyards, to replace the foreign vessel as they are completed.
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