The Pacific Merchant Shipping Association (PMSA) is an independent, not-for-profit association focused on global trade.

Welcome to PMSA

The Pacific Merchant Shipping Association (PMSA) is an independent, not-for-profit association focused on global trade. PMSA operates offices in San Francisco, Long Beach and Seattle, and represents owners and operators of marine terminals and U.S. and foreign vessels operating throughout the world.

On behalf of its members, PMSA engages in community affairs and legislative and regulatory affairs in California and Washington state.  PMSA provides members with information services, including regular updates on matters of interest to the shipping industry.  It also serves as a clearinghouse for environmental practices across the industry.

The Pacific Merchant Shipping Association (PMSA) is an independent, not-for-profit association focused on global trade.

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8/4/15 - PMSA Statement on Northwest Seaport Alliance

7/17/15 - PMSA Applauds Gov. Brown's Executive Order on Directing Creation of Integrated Freight Action Plan

5/19/15 - PMSA's Mike Moore Recognized For Maritime Safety Contributions

4/17/15 - PMSA Headquarters Moving to Oakland, CA on May 1, 2015

10/13/14 - The Tacoma-Seattle port alliance: More challenges still ahead

4/30/14 - Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti seeks cooperation with Long Beach on port issues

10/10/13 - USCG Sector San Francisco thanks maritime community for helping to make America's Cup race a success

Interested in becoming a PMSA member? Contact Laura Williams at

PMSA Blog Corner

Millionaire Monopoly Asks The Legislature For A Raise … Again

By John R. McLaurin

President of the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association

Monday, August 24th, 2015

It's nice to have a state-sanctioned monopoly. It's even nicer to have a monopoly in an important, yet obscure profession, like the San Francisco Bay's 60 bar pilots do. In 2014, the San Francisco Bar Pilots, who guide ships in and out of the Bay, collected their highest revenues ever in their 150+ year history, nearly $40 million, from the ships that called on the Bay Area's seaports. After expenses, each pilot took home an annual income of $453,766 last year.   And that income is for an estimated six months of work per pilot – indeed, at the urging of a pilot, the US Tax Court recently determined that a pilot working in the San Francisco Bay works so few hours that the IRS can consider it a part-time – job..

Despite their 2014 record-high revenues, $450,000 annual salary, and a less-than-full-time workload, the San Francisco Bar Pilots apparently still feel that they are underpaid, as they are currently seeking an 11% pay increase (yielding an additional $12.4 million over four years) from the California Legislature.  As justification, they're arguing that their expenses are increasing and they haven't had a rate increase in 10 years. These are similar arguments to those used by the pilots when they asked the Legislature for a rate increase in 2011.

Fortunately, the facts have demonstrated that the pilots are much better navigators than they are financial planners.   In 2011, the pilots projected that their income in 2014 would be $362,147 per pilot if they didn't receive a rate increase. The ratepayers in the maritime industry disagreed, and argued that their incomes would grow without the need for rate increases. The Legislature agreed with the ratepayers and rejected the pilot's requested increases.  The result? The Legislature made the right choice. At $453,766 last year, each Bar Pilot made $91,619 more than what they told the Legislature they would be making.

Click here to read the rest of the Op/Ed.

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