With Hawaii hosting APEC, talk about the value of free trade among Pacific nations has hit our local media. There is, however, no mention of the restrictive trade laws, like the Jones Act, that severely limit international shipping.
Foreign-flagged vessels cannot freely engage in international commerce in Hawaii, and our ability to export and the exorbitant costs of our imports are controlled by a tightly held local company.
If Horizon fails, there will be only Matson and its parent company, Alexander & Baldwin, holding a nearly total monopoly. Pasha will still be operating on its limited basis.
The cost of living in Hawaii is much higher than anywhere else in the United States. Because of our isolation and unique dependency on shipping that is controlled by a monopoly, the cost of living will only get worse.
Hawaii's political elite can talk all they want about free trade, but as long as they take campaign contributions from those that control it now, there won't be any competition any time soon.
Download the the John Carroll White Paper Report: Open Ports and Free Trade in Hawaii