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Episode 524: Me and Mr. Jones

A cargo ship stands on Long Beach harbour, California.
JOE KLAMAR/AFP/Getty Images

If you want to send a bunch of oranges by truck from Florida to Baltimore, no one cares who made the truck. Or if you want to fly computer chips across the country, it's fine if the plane is made in France. But if you want send cargo by ship, there's a law that the ship has to be American made.

Here's why: a 90-year-old law, called the Jones Act. Every time you want to send something from one US port to another, the cargo must travel on a ship built in the US, staffed by mostly Americans, and flying the American flag.

Today on the show, we look at the all the unexpected places this law pops up: on cruise ships, cattle farms, and in New Jersey, where a guy really, really needs salt.

Music: Amy Winehouse's "Me & Mr Jones." Find us: Twitter/ Facebook/ Spotify/ Tumblr. Download the Planet Money iPhone App.

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