* Jones Act waiver expires Nov. 13, ships must unload by
* Waiver attracts 5 shipments, more could come on Tuesday
* No word from DHS on potential extension of waiver
WASHINGTON, Nov 13 At least five companies will
use a rare waiver that expires Tuesday allowing foreign-flagged
ships to take oil products and additives from the Gulf of Mexico
to the Northeast to help relieve a fuel crunch after Superstorm
Sandy, the federal government said.
The Department of Homeland Security issued on Nov. 2 a
blanket waiver of the 1920 Jones Act to help get fuel to the
region. Shortages continue to plague the New York City and Long
Island areas after the storm.
The DHS has not yet said whether the waiver will be
Five companies had planned to use the waiver as of Nov. 9,
the Department of Transportation's Maritime Administration, or
MARAD, said on Tuesday. Each company was shipping one cargo
each. MARAD did not name the companies.
More shipments could be announced later on Tuesday, MARAD
added. 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 Nov. 13 and deliver them to ports
in the Northeast by Nov. 20.
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.
But the journey from the Gulf Coast to New York Harbor can
take about a week, and some shippers are concerned about
repercussions if they are not able to deliver by the deadline.
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.