(WASHINGTON) — The U.S. Coast Guard on Tuesday published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register outlining pilotage rates for the U.S. Great Lakes pilotage system for the 2021 shipping season. 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 Coast Guard proposes to slightly increase the overall cost of U.S. Great Lakes pilotage in 2021 compared to 2020. Specifically, the service seeks to generate $29,328,787 in revenue in 2021, compared to its target of $28,268,030 in 2020. This 4 percent increase is attributed to inflation and the addition of three new pilots. In 2021, the Coast Guard is proposing a total workforce of 55 U.S. pilots.
The Coast Guard will be increasing individual pilot compensation by inflation from $367,085 to a new high of $378,180.
The proposed 2021 rates are largely a “maintain the status quo” scenario. The recent history of pilotage cost increases is detailed below.
(Year / pilot numbers / total estimated cost / percentage 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 / $29,328,787 / +4 percent over 2020
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. 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