WASHINGTON Nov 7 Four companies have told the
United States since last Friday they intend to take advantage of
a rare waiver allowing foreign-flagged ships to take oil
products and additives from the U.S. Gulf to the Northeast to
help relieve a fuel crunch after Hurricane Sandy, the federal
government said on Wednesday.
The Department of Homeland Security issued a blanket waiver
of the 1920 Jones Act last Friday.
"As of today, four companies have notified MARAD of their
intent to use the waiver to transport petroleum products and
fuel additives from the Gulf to the Northeast to ensure it has
the fuel needed to proceed with recovery efforts," said the
Department of Transportation's Maritime Administration, also
known as MARAD.
The number of shippers could rise as companies do not have
to tell the government they intend to ship oil to the Northeast
until 24 hours after loading in the Gulf of Mexico.
The waiver allows foreign-flagged ships to load oil products
from the Gulf of Mexico until November 13 and deliver it to
ports in the Northeast by November 20.
MARAD would not say which companies intended to use the
Successful oil traders could profit by nearly $2 million on
each exempt cargo of gasoline they are able to ship from Houston
to New York, according to Reuters' calculations. The journey
takes around a week.
The Jones Act, part of the 1920 Merchant Marine Act, was
created to support domestic jobs in the shipping industry. It
requires goods moved between U.S. ports to be carried by ships
built domestically and staffed by U.S. crews.