In a July 28 published opinion piece, Colin Grabow of the Cato Institute took issue with my characterization of a minimal Jones Act cost impact on offshore wind projects. He was reacting to the earlier publication of my critique of a June 7 article in the New York Times. For ready reference, the full text of Mr. Grabow’s editorial, my critique and the NYT’s article are all shown below in that order.

I always love a challenge, particularly one involving numbers. My estimate of the incremental project cost from using a Jones Act vessel versus a foreign flag vessel of…


My May 27 article in Medium used the actual lump sum charter for a foreign-flag tanker booked under the waiver resulting from the Colonial pipeline shutdown to show that the apples to apples Jones Act cost was 31% above the foreign flag cost. It can be accessed at https://john-d-mccown.medJium.com/jones-act-critics-hyperbole-exposed-7433ba3d6f84. So much for the 3x, 4x and 5x differences touted by the Jones Act critics. Apparently math is not a skill in which they put a lot of credence.

We now have another actual market driven example to highlight the hyperbole and shortsightedness of the Jones Act critics and it relates…


Last week the New York Times had a story on offshore wind that I believe unfairly characterized the impact of the Jones Act. I submitted a letter to the paper outlining my concern that they chose not to publish. My letter is presented below with the text of the NYT article below it.

Dear Sir/Madam:

Your June 7 “Offshore Wind Farms Show What Biden’s Climate Plan Is Up Against” article referred to the Jones Act four times and was long on calling it the bogeyman but short on the underlying facts. Using a Jones Act turbine installation vessel will marginally…


Nothing like hard actual numbers to deflate the hot air balloon certain Jones Act critics have been energetically blowing up over the past few years. The recent Jones Act waiver resulting from the shutdown of the Colonial pipeline provided just such tangible facts. Before getting to that, let’s set the stage on the claims the critics have been making about the relative rate impact to shipping customers from the Jones Act.

One think tank likes to focus on differences in ship construction costs, initially saying it was 6–8 times more to build a ship in the U.S. When the source…


The news of the container ship blocking the Suez Canal and bringing some 15% of world trade to a halt cast a spotlight on a shipping industry now accustomed to operating behind the scenes. Such was not always the case. In the past, the comings and goings of cargo vessels were causes for mass excitement. A century and a half ago the expected arrival dates of clipper ships with exotic goods from faraway lands was front-page news. Vessels were most often greeted by cheering crowds. Almost everyone knew someone who sailed on, loaded cargo on and off those ships or…

John D. McCown

Co-founder/CEO of US flag container operator, transport sector investment leader at large hedge fund, holder of two patents, Harvard MBA

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