US Coast Guard Proposes 2024 Great Lakes Pilotage Rates

August 16, 2023

© Holden / Adobe Stock
© Holden / Adobe Stock

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) has published a Proposed Rule in the Federal Register outlining U.S. Great Lakes pilotage rates for the 2024 shipping season.

The new rates seek to generate revenue for each of the three U.S. Great Lakes pilot associations by implementing hourly charges for pilotage services according to geographic area. Pilotage rates are paid by vessel operators serving Great Lakes ports.

The Coast Guard proposes to increase the overall cost of U.S. Great Lakes pilotage in 2024 compared to 2023 by $1.9 million or 5%. In 2024, the USCG is proposing a total workforce of 56 fully registered pilots and seven apprentice pilots. The Coast Guard will be increasing annual individual pilot compensation from $424,318 to a new high of $442,403 - a 4.2% increase.

Although pilotage is a necessary service for safe navigation, Great Lakes ports have historically criticized the Coast Guard for being insensitive to high pilotage costs, which can negatively impact the competitiveness of maritime commerce on the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway system.

In 2022, 241,286 jobs were sustained in the U.S. and Canada by Great Lakes Seaway shipping. Of these 147,350 were in the U.S. and 93,936 in Canada. $17.8 billion in wages were paid to the jobs supported by maritime commerce.

135.7 million tons of cargo were moved on the navigation system. The value of that cargo was $26 billion. $6.3 billion in tax revenue was generated by maritime-supported economic activity.

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