Collectively, the five ports on the Mississippi River handle more tonnage than any other port in the world, providing $10’s of billions in annual economic impact and 100,000’s of jobs. The estimated impact of just the Crescent Pilots’ wages is $600 million, and with all the pilots living in the local area, that money is spent here. It’s spread out across the community, to barbers, gas stations, car dealers, restaurants, charities and even cell phone companies.
Although the money is spent locally, it originates from outside of the country. Pilots are equivalent to exporters. Foreign shipping companies buy local knowledge of the river from the pilots. Ninety-nine percent of the rates and fees collected to pay pilots is paid by foreign interests. No taxpayer dollars contribute to those fees.
If these tariffs were reduced, then the money previously distributed in Louisiana goes back to the foreign countries where it originated. Pilots receive no guaranteed salary. Their income is based on the ship movements and will vary from year to year depending on the volume of vessels calling on Louisiana ports.
Cruise Ship Industry
The fervent push for economic development is nowhere more evident than in New Orleans’ booming cruise ship industry. With Carnival, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean already calling New Orleans home, current port expansions are luring in even more cruise ships.
Pilots play an important role in the cruise ship industry. Before the cruise ship industry made its mark upon the city, the Mississippi River was already the world’s busiest waterway, with over 17,000 vessel movements traveling through New Orleans annually. Now, with ships getting larger and river traffic becoming heavier, the Pilots must draw on their unique skills to accommodate the additional needs. If properly monitored, big cruise ships bring thousands of tourists and millions of dollars to our economy. The Crescent Pilots work closely with the Cruise Ship owners and the Port to ensure the continued safe and efficient operation of this industry.
As professionals and individual businessmen, the Crescent Pilots are interested in the economic development of ports along the Mississippi. If they don’t succeed, the pilots don’t succeed. That’s why they have embarked on a mission to enhance economic development through reliable service, partnerships and security. The Crescent Pilots also provide the port with financial resources as well as technical expertise.
The Crescent Pilots have engaged in many efforts to enhance economic development along the rest of the Mississippi River. These projects include: Stolthaven Terminals in Braithewaite, Louisiana; Mid-Stream mooring buoys in Chalmette, Louisiana; redesign of Dolphins at Chalmette Slip and Electro-Coal Midstream Buoy System.
Meanwhile, Exxon Mobil in Chalmette reconfigured their dock to accommodate larger tankers, Wilhelmsen Lines will soon increase vessel calls in the Port of New Orleans as a result of consolidating cargoes from the Ports of Mobile and Houston and Concord Line will now call on New Orleans weekly rather than bi-weekly.
The Crescent River Port Pilots are at the heart of waterborne commerce. Last year the Crescent River Port Pilots piloted over 17,000 vessels into, out of, or through the Lower Mississippi River.