Puerto Rico is a small and open economy that depends heavily on its external trade. Its principal trade partner is the continental United States (CONUS). This is especially relevant in food imports. Given its insular condition, most of the trade in Puerto Rico uses maritime transportation services. For that reason, regulations on maritime transportation are a key factor in the economic development of Puerto Rico in general and the cost of food in particular.
In November 2018, due to the lack of official statistics, Advantage Business Consulting carried out a Survey of Maritime Transportation Practices among food industry companies in Puerto Rico. The survey had a 70% response rate. The survey included information on 32 companies with nearly 40,000 containers transported over nine months (January 2018 to September 2018). Most containers imported (90%) came from the US. Among them, 88% came from Jacksonville, FL.
The Jones Act Carriers’ (JACs’) higher prices were confirmed by the survey. Shipping imports from US ports costs 151% more than shipping imports from non-US ports. The figure is the blended rate from a 180% additional cost in dry goods and 129% in refrigerated goods.
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