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New Jersey's rock salt held up at Maine port because of maritime law

Feb. 17, 2014 at 1:05 PM   |   Comments

NEWARK, N.J., Feb. 17 (UPI) -- New Jersey officials say they've been unsuccessful getting a federal waiver to allow shipment of 40,000 tons of rock salt to the state before the next snowfall.

The salt is sitting at a port in Maine but New Jersey officials need a federal waiver to the Jones Act that requires port-to-port shipments arrive on a vessel flying a U.S. flag, the Record in Hackensack, N.J., reported Sunday.

Without the waiver, State Department of Transportation spokesman Joe Dee said, the state will have to send smaller, slower barges to haul the shipment to New Jersey, Dee said.

Last week, New Jersey Transportation Commissioner Jim Simpson said during a radio interview a ship in Maine could carry the entire load to Newark within two days, but cannot do so because it isn't flying under a U.S. flag. Simpson said the nearest U.S.-flagged vessel would take about a month to deliver the shipment.

"We've been going back and forth with the feds," Simpson said. "This is the kind of stuff we're dealing with. Even government, the federal government, gets in the way."

A spokesman for Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., told the Journal his office and the office of Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., have contacted the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the state Department of Transportation to resolve the matter.

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