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Breakbulk April 2018

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April 2018 | The Journal of Commerce 21 Breakbulk & Project Cargo A PROPOSED 5 percent increase in US pilotage rates for oceangoing vessels plying the Great Lakes during this year's shipping season has rekindled arguments over how the US Coast Guard's determines pilots' compen- sation. The dispute, which has arisen annually during the last several years, came as shippers and carriers prepared for the March 29 opening of the 2018 Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway shipping season, which runs through the end of the year. Shipping interests have com- plained that rising pilotage rates threaten to drive breakbulk and bulk shipments to competing US Gulf and Atlantic ports. Pilots dispute those claims, and say they are paid far less than pilots regulated by state or local authorities on other coasts. Great Lakes domestic and international volume last year rose 9 percent to 38 million metric tons, largely because of iron ore shipments. Several ports reported in- creased breakbulk cargo. The Port of Cleveland handled 464,000 tons of general cargo, including an increase of nearly 20 percent in international shipments of steel, project cargo, and other shipments. The Coast Guard said it raised rates and surcharges by a total of 40 percent from 2015 to 2017 after what it said was "many years" of low increases that it claimed provided inadequate revenue for pilots, mak - ing it difficult for them to recruit and retain pilots. The proposed 2018 increase would add an estimated $1.162 mil- lion to costs for the approximately 215 oceangoing ships that transit the Great Lakes during an average year, the Coast Guard said when it announced its proposed rate levels. Controversy over pilotage rates landed in court last year after in- dustry groups challenged the Coast Guard's 2016 rate schedule. A US fed- eral judge upheld the rates, but said the Coast Guard appeared to have been "arbitrary and capricious" in its methodology for setting them. The court ruling on the 2016 rate levels came after the Coast Guard already had implemented a a 2017 rate schedule that increased rates 17 percent from the previous year. The 2017 schedule included a new "weighting" factor that reflected different sizes of ships, but, like the 2016 schedule, set pilots' target pay 10 percent above that of Canadian pilots who perform similar work but receive government-paid benefits that private-sector US pilots don't enjoy. The US Coast Guard sets rates Lakes pilots pay dispute continues Industry groups and pilots argue over US Coast Guard's proposed rates By Joseph Bonney Rising pilotage rates threaten to drive breakbulk and bulk shipments to competing US Gulf and Atlantic ports, shipping interests say. extend the life of its AN-124 fleet and is weighing the construction of a larger aircraft that would have a minimum payload of 150 to 170 metric tons and a flight range of up to 10,000 kilometers (6,250 miles). An AN-124 carrying 120 tons has a range of 4,500 kilometers. Antonov has chalked up some up eye-catching contracts since its breakup with Volga-Dnepr. One of its AN-124s carried two mining filtration units, weighing a total of 24 metric tons, from Santiago, Chile, to Mendoza, Argentina, in a record 39 minutes after adverse weather in the region had closed the roads and prevented the transport of the urgently required equipment by truck. Another AN-124 delivered a new turbofan engine to a Swiss International Airlines' B777-300 plane grounded after an emergency landing in Iqaluit, in the Canadian Arctic. The AN-124 waited there for five days while the old engine was removed and the new one installed. Earlier this year following the opening of its Houston base, Anton- ov transported an outsize communi- cations satellite weighing 23 metric tons in a container from Wash- ington Dulles Airport to Cayenne, French Guiana. The airline used a low-profile ramp system specifically designed and manufactured by its parent company for the satellite and space transportation sector. But these flights were overshad- owed by an AN-124, which flew around the globe 1 ½ times in a week in September. The plane flew from Mary Inter- national Airport in Turkmenistan to Helsinki, where it loaded industrial heaters weighing a total of 54 metric tons for delivery to Campinas, Brazil, after two interim landings at Leipzig and Dakar, Senegal. It then flew to Bangor, Maine, to transport water purification plants weighing 56 metric tons to Darwin, Australia, with stopovers at Anchor- age, Alaska, and Narita, Japan. The plane then returned to Turk- menistan before flying on to Milan where it loaded a 62-metric tons car- go for delivery to Rio de Janeiro. L email:

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