Mediation of GALTEX Pilot Rate Increase Fails

Rate hearing set for July 16 & 17 to go on as planned.

A hastily arranged mediation session, agreed to both by stakeholders and the GALTEX pilots did not yield any joy on Wednesday. A West Gulf Maritime Association (WGMA) prepared statement said, "Regrettably today’s mediation did not lead to an agreement. Both sides worked hard all day; however, we were unsuccessful despite best efforts." As a result, the Public Hearing will commence today and continue on Friday (if business is not completed on Thursday) for the pending GALTEX Rate Application. WGMA represents a large portion of the local stakeholders opposed to the proposed pilotage rate hike.

In a direct challenge to GALTEX Pilots and in an apparent effort to avoid the upcoming scheduled rate hearing on July 16th, the West Gulf Maritime Association (WGMA) had proposed mediation for Monday of last week, but the two sides were not able to come together for discussions until yesterday. Those discussions ended with no agreements between the two sides.

Before the conclusion of the June 8 meeting, Board of Pilot Commissioner Chairman Vandy Anderson urged both parties to try and reach an agreement before the next hearing. In an interview with MarEx during the week of June 23rd, Anderson reiterated his desire that both parties work out an agreement through non-binding mediation before the scheduled July meeting. Although he also admitted that both sides appeared to be very far apart on a number of issues, he did concede that if the decision was not reached prior to the July meeting, that “Probably, both sides would not be happy with the final result.”

Public hearings were scheduled to commence today at 9 AM in the Galveston County Commissioners Courtroom, 722 Moody (also known as 21st Street), Galveston, Texas. 77550-2317. The public hearing is open to all maritime industry stakeholders and interested parties.

According to a prepared WGMA statement issued last week, “The Galveston-Texas City Pilots have filed an application for a multi-year rate increase. When compounded with all the additional fees, PPI, and miscellaneous charges the total impact is very large (more than 80 percent). Reference is made to the proposed additional surcharge of $87.31 to be imposed per in/out transit to recover storm related costs and loses. The application, if approved by the Commission, would significantly affect pilotage costs in our region for many years.”.

MarEx telephone calls to GALTEX representatives for comment have not been answered.