Coast Guard proposal would raise Great Lakes pilotage costs by 12 percent

The change is attributed to attributed to inflation and the addition of five pilots in the region

(WASHINGTON) — On Tuesday, the U.S. Coast Guard published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register outlining pilotage rates for the U.S. Great Lakes system for the 2022 shipping season. The service’s proposal would increase overall pilotage costs by 12 percent.

The service has requested public comment on its proposed rates, which seek to generate revenue by implementing hourly charges for pilotage services according to geographic area. The American Great Lakes Ports Association (AGLPA) will coordinate joint comments with other allied stakeholders, specifically the Shipping Federation of Canada and the U.S. Great Lakes Shipping Association.

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AGLPA photo

The Coast Guard proposes to increase the overall cost of U.S. Great Lakes pilotage in 2022 compared to 2021. Specifically, the service seeks to generate $33,860,077 in revenue in 2022, compared to its target of $30,332,652 in 2021 — an increase of $3.53 million. This 12 percent increase is attributed to inflation and the addition of three apprentice pilots and two fully registered pilots. In 2022, the Coast Guard is proposing a total workforce of 56 fully registered U.S. pilots and nine apprentice pilots.

The Coast Guard will be increasing individual pilot compensation from the current level of $378,180 annually to a new high of $393,461 annually.

The recent history of pilotage cost increases is detailed below:

(Year / Pilot numbers / Total estimated cost / Percentage change over prior year)

2014 / 36 / $12,889,868

2015 / 36 / $15,451,455 / +20 percent over 2014

2016 / 37 / $19,103,678 / +24 percent over 2015

2017 / 45 / $22,326,381 / +14 percent over 2016

2018 / 49 / $25,156,442 / +12.7 percent over 2017

2019 / 51 / $27,988,185 / +11.3 percent over 2018

2020 / 52 / $28,268,030 / +1 percent over 2019

2021 / 55 / $30,332,652 / +4 percent over 2020

2022 / 56 / $33,860,077 / +12 percent over 2021

It is important to remember that the Coast Guard’s annual rate setting process is a hypothetical exercise. It seeks to estimate the overall revenue and hourly charges necessary to operate the three U.S. pilot associations on the Great Lakes. Real-world revenue generation will be impacted by traffic levels and business trends, which sometimes vary from the Coast Guard’s estimates.

To view a copy of the Federal Register notice, click here.

– American Great Lakes Ports Association

Categories: Maritime News