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HQ 115587

February 26, 2002

VES-3-17-RR:IT:EC 115587 GEV


David K. Saguchi
Intermodal Terminal, Inc.
2160 E. Dominguez Street
Long Beach, CA 90810

RE: Coastwise Trade; Cranes; Stevedoring Equipment; Sixth-Proviso; 46 U.S.C. App. § 883

Dear Mr. Saguchi:

This is in response to your letter dated January 7, 2002, requesting an “Intermodal Proviso Ruling” regarding your proposal to transport two cranes between locations in California on board a foreign-flag vessel. Our ruling on this matter is set forth below.


Your company has recently purchased two gantry cranes located in the Port of Oakland, California. You want to utilize a Chinese-flag vessel to transport these two cranes to a new location at the Port of San Diego, California.

You are planning on using ZPMC to carry these cranes, as they will be coming to the Port of Oakland to discharge two cranes in April 2002. You would like to use them after they deliver the new cranes to save on transportation of the old ones to San Diego.


Whether the transportation of two gantry cranes from Oakland, CA to San Diego, CA by a Chinese-flag vessel is violative of 46 U.S.C. App. § 883.


Title 46, United States Code Appendix, § 883 (46 U.S.C. App. § 883, the merchandise coastwise law often called the “Jones Act”), provides, in part, that no merchandise shall be transported between points in the United States embraced within the coastwise laws, either directly or via a foreign port, or for any part of the transportation, in any vessel other than one that is coastwise-qualified (i.e., U.S.-built, owned and documented). Pursuant to § 4.80b(a), Customs Regulations (19 CFR § 4.80b(a)), promulgated pursuant to 46 U.S.C. App. § 883, a coastwise transportation of merchandise takes place when merchandise laden at one coastwise point is unladen at another coastwise point.

Pursuant to the so-called Sixth Proviso to 46 U.S.C. App. § 883, the prohibition contained within that statute does not apply to the coastwise transportation of, among other things, stevedoring equipment in vessels of foreign nations that are found to extend reciprocal privileges to vessels of the United States. The Customs Service considers items qualifying as stevedoring equipment to be limited to equipment that is necessary to unlade cargo from its place of stowage aboard a vessel to its first place of rest on the shore, or to lade cargo from its last place of rest on shore to its place of stowage aboard a vessel. (see Treasury Decision (T.D.) 91-87)) In this regard we note that cranes used in the loading and unloading of cargo in foreign trade have been held to be stevedoring equipment. (Customs ruling letter 109629, dated July 21, 1988)

The Sixth Proviso further provides that such stevedoring equipment must be owned or leased by the owner or operator of the transporting vessel, or be owned or leased by the stevedoring company contracting for the lading or unlading of that vessel, and must be transported without charge for the use in the handling of cargo in foreign trade.

Section 4.93, Customs Regulations (19 CFR § 4.93(b)(2)), lists the nations which are entitled to privileges provided by the Sixth Proviso. China is not on that list. In addition, the information contained within your letter does not indicate that the remainder of the requisite criteria found in the Sixth Proviso and discussed above have been met.

Accordingly, the Chinese-flag vessel to which you refer may not be used to transport the subject cranes from Oakland to San Diego.


The transportation of two gantry cranes from Oakland, CA to San Diego, CA by a Chinese-flag vessel is violative of 46 U.S.C. App.


Larry L. Burton

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