Friday, 07 April 2017 13:19

Review of Great Lakes Pilotage Rates

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The US Coast Guard proposes in the Federal Register Vol. 82, No. 64 April 5, 2017 to modify its calculations for hourly pilotage rates on the Great Lakes by accounting for the ‘‘weighting factor,’’ which is a multiplier that can increase the pilotage costs for larger vessels traversing areas in the Great Lakes by a factor of up to 1.45.  Pursuant to the Great Lakes Pilotage Act, the Coast Guard sets hourly rates for pilot services on the Great Lakes. While all vessels must pay these base rates, larger vessels pay a higher rate, as a ‘‘weighting factor’’ multiplies the base rates they pay by a factor of 1.15 to 1.45.  

In past rate-settings, the methodology used to calculate hourly rates on the Great Lakes did not adjust the rates for the weighting factor.  During the 2016 shipping season, under the revised methodology, preliminary estimates of actual revenues exceeded the projected revenues, even when adjusted for increased shipping traffic. Based on the 2016 data, it was determined that is necessary to account for the weighting factors in the hourly rate calculation in the methodology in order for the US Great Lakes pilot associations to more accurately generate total revenues. Until the final rule is produced, the 2016 rates will stay in effect, even if a final rule is not published by the start of the 2017 season. Comments on the proposal must be submitted by 5 May.

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