Page 40: of Maritime Logistics Professional Magazine (Nov/Dec 2018)

Regulatory & Environmental Review

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REGULATORY REVIEW erans Affairs annual pay ranges for physicians, dentists and po- although there are signifcant differences). In comments regarding diatrists, effective November 2018, starts at $103,395 and tops the Coast Guard’s 2018 pilotage review an industry compendium out at $262,000. Likely, some docs and dentists make more, but, (the Shipping Federation of Canada, the American Great Lakes of course, so do some pilots. The Coast Guard references pilot Ports Association and the United States Great Lakes Shipping salaries ranging from a rather piddling $173,554 annually to a Association) points out that U.S. pilotage fees are “now often high of $758,922. the single highest cost component of vessel operations in the St.

This comparison isn’t meant to be fippant. It’s a core part of Lawrence Seaway and they frequently, if not always, signifcantly how the Coast Guard develops a comparative number, historically exceed the pilotage costs for similar or identical vessel itineraries linked to American Maritime Offcers Union (AMOU) data, but when pilotage is provided by Canadian pilots.” (Generally, ves- something of a black-box process now because AMOU, citing sels are assigned a U.S. or Canadian pilot depending on the order proprietary reasons, stopped providing the Coast Guard with con- in which they transit a particular area of the Great Lakes, and do tract information. However, the Coast Guard used AMOU data, not choose the pilot they receive.) available through 2015, to build a new compensation model. The As an example, the industry group cites 2016 Canadian and

Coast Guard is confdent that its model fairly captures and refects U.S. pilotage rates and compares an identical, hypothetical tran- comparative wages, infation and, importantly, a value of service, sit between Buoy 33 at Thunder Bay (northwestern Lake Su- always diffcult to price in, essentially, a monopoly. perior) to Port Colborne (eastern Lake Erie). Cost with a Ca- nadian pilot: CDN$28,000. An American pilot: approximately

Push Back US$41,800. The group writes that “adjusting for currency ex-

It’s surely an understatement to say that maritime businesses change rates at the time, the U.S. pilotage costs are roughly dou- fnd pilotage rates and rate setting to be unfair, untenable and ble the Canadian costs. This hypothetical assumes no delays and largely indefensible, something that perpetuates, via extraction, normal transit times.” a rich and largely untouchable economic fortress for a select few That smooth-sailing reference is important because pilots are who, of course, have no incentive to change anything except to paid, of course, even when they are not piloting, stuck like every- make the cash pipeline even bigger. one else, for example, because of weather or an accident or unex-

Businesses express outrage about direct and indirect pilotage pectedly delayed in a queue at a series of locks. Some vessel own- costs. The Chamber of Marine Commerce, for example, an indus- ers charge that pilots are dismissive of logistical effciency; after try group based in Ontario, with American and Canadian mem- all, slow transit pads a pilot’s billing sheet. That may be overly bership, writes in its current issue of Marine Delivers magazine cynical, but it references major concerns among vessel owners, that on the St. Lawrence River, “the hourly cost of pilotage ex- i.e. that pilotage fees are opaque, that pilot-related decisions are ceeds the cost of the entire crew of a vessel, or more than double arbitrary regarding operations and schedules. Vessel owners com- the cost of a vessel’s captain.” plain of widely variable pilot decisions made within similar, even

Just as galling are wage disparities between American and Ca- identical, maritime operating conditions. These peculiarities cost nadian pilots (who also work within a monopoly type structure, a lot of money.

Credit: MRC 40 Maritime Logistics Professional November/December 2018 | |

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