A decades-old law crafted to prevent foreign vessels from moving cargo from one U.S. port to another has halted a much-needed shipment of road salt to New Jersey.

The northeastern state, running low on salt after being hammered by snowstorms this winter, was expecting a 40,000-ton shipment of salt to make its way from Maine to Newark, WNYW-TV reported.

But the vessel carrying the shipment is not flying an American flag, as required by the 1920 federal Maritime Act, and is therefore not cleared by federal authorities to arrive at the port.

A truck carrying salt and slag drives along a near empty road as a winter storm moves into the area in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

A truck carrying salt and slag drives along a near empty road as a winter storm moves into the area in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014. (AP/Chuck Burton)

New Jersey officials were hoping they would be able to attain a waiver that would allow the state to receive the foreign transport, but it now seems unlikely one will be granted.

“We were pursuing a waiver, but we’ve been advised we wouldn’t get one,” New Jersey Department of Transportation spokesman Joe Dee told the Washington Free Beacon. “It seems unlikely we will get it.”

“We were pursuing a waiver, but we’ve been advised we wouldn’t get one.”
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The news is hitting particularly hard for many communities in New Jersey that have exhausted their supplies of road salt because of this year’s especially treacherous winter.

The state is now moving heaven and Earth to obtain the much-needed element.

“The supplies are tight. We have enough for another storm or two,” Dee said, according to the Beacon.

Gov. Chris Christie (R) warned of the impeding crisis in an executive order prior to the most recent storm.

“The recent series of winter storms in New Jersey have reduced the supply of rock salt to critically low levels,” Christie said. “Rock salt is an essential to maintaining safe travel on state, county, local, and interstate roads as a result of the dangerous and icy conditions during these winter storms.”

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