989Re: Dan Walters: Ship pilots, shippers take their money fight to Capitol: AB 907
- Jun 16, 2011PMSA Statement & San Francisco Bar Pilot Rebuttal on Rate Increase Legislation
Wednesday, June 15, 2011PMSA, Rate Increases for the San Francisco Bay Pilot Monopoly Fail To Pass Key Senate Committee:
Legislation that would increase compensation to $530,000 a year for each San Francisco Bar Pilot who moves container and cruise ships in and about of the bay, today failed to get the votes it needs to pass a key Senate committee. AB 907 (Ma), on a 6-5 vote, did not pass the Senate Governmental Organization Committee, however it was granted reconsideration and could be heard again in committee on June 28th.
Given the arcane rules that govern the San Francisco Bar Pilot monopoly, all increases in the rates paid to the pilots by their ocean carrier customers must be approved by the state Legislature. Despite a whopping and enviable 60% pay increase in the last nine years -- during a time when millions of Californians have lost their jobs -- the pilot monopoly is seeking to boost net pay to an unbelievable $530,000 in 2015. To remain viable in international trade, California ports must remain cost competitive -- and while the many different costs that go into shipping may seem insignificant on a per ton basis, no cost increase is trivial.
The San Francisco Bar Pilots respond:
The San Francisco Bar Pilots remain engaged in the public oversight and review process now underway in the California Legislature of the modest rate increase recommended by the state Board of Pilot Commissioners. It is regrettable, but perhaps not unexpected, that the Pacific Merchants Shipping Association is seeking to block legislation that will enhance maritime safety in Northern California and provide for an additional pilot to help safely guide the largest vessels expected to transit San Francisco Bay. The amount of the rate increase would cost the users of pilot services around 16 cents per shipping container. This is at a time when shipping companies are reaping average profits of around $560 per container.
Pilot rates have not gone up in five years. We think this recommended rate increase, to be paid primarily by foreign shipping companies, is fair and warranted, given the dangerous, important job the pilots perform on the water every day.
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