Philip M. Grill, head of the Maritime Cabotage Task Force since its creation in September 1995, retired last week from Matson Navigation Co., where he had been vice president, government relations, since 1986.
The Maritime Cabotage Task Force was established in response to a campaign led by former Federal Maritime Commission member Rob Quartel to repeal or modify the Jones Act, which restricts U.S. waterborne commerce to U.S.-flag vessels that are owned, built and crewed by American citizens. Jones Act repeal efforts sparked lively industry debate in the late 1990s but never gained traction in Congress.
Grill was in the thick of those fights. He joined Matson in 1980 after five years as minority staff counsel to the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, and was instrumental in forming the cabotage task force, whose members include carriers, shipyards and unions.
James L. Henry, president of the Washington-based Transportation Institute, praised Grill's role in beating back challenges to the Jones Act.
"The Jones Act and other U.S. maritime cabotage laws were facing their most serious challenge ever when Phil agreed to be chairman of MCTF upon its launch," Henry said in a statement. "A well-organized campaign of disinformation had some legislators favoring repealing the Jones Act and other U.S. maritime cabotage laws. Under Phil's leadership, the U.S.-flag domestic industry banded together like never before and the Jones Act has remained the unshakeable foundation of U.S. domestic maritime policy."