Comments from the Executive Director

The publication of these Comments is made to correspond with the introduction of a new and improved version of this USGLSA web site. Thanks go to Jackie Csiszar of World Shipping/Cleveland and Leo Shuder from the World Shipping IT Services team.

A few comments on some familiar matters for this newly designed site:

General Lake Conditions

High water levels continue this Season which can cause operational challenges at ports and other locations while in transit. Shore side residential locations are also adversely affected. Seems like just yesterday, the industry faced low water levels which restricted full capacity cargo loading. Seems like it is never easy.

Commercial Season to Date

Activity has been brisk since the opening of the Navigation Season. USGLSA member agents have reported international flag ship calls through June which exceed numbers not reported since 2006. Contributing to the strong results has been the recent performance and the growth of the passenger cruise business. Challenges which appear to face this prospect include Ports’ ability to provide adequate facilities for accommodating the vessels and passenger volume as well as coordination with CBP, Coast Guard other necessary and related services.


Several legal challenges from industry to USCG covering pilotage rate making as previously reported remain outstanding in various stages of Litigation or Appeal. Recently, The Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a Report to the U.S. Senate Committee for Commerce, Science and Transportation regarding Lakes Pilotage. Research included interviews with selected parties representing pilots and industry (including yours truly) as well as USCG. In my opinion, results of the Study were inconclusive and not terribly helpful since GAO deferred, albeit quite properly, on many of the difficult points of contention which are still subject to further litigation and judicial attention. In other pilotage activities, a meeting of the Great Lakes Pilotage Advisory Committee (“GLPAC”) is scheduled to be held August 12, 2019. Detailed agenda yet to be published.

USGC Personnel Changes

On June 6, 2019, RADM Donna Cottrell relieved RADM Joanna Nunan as USCG District 9 Commander. Other key staff appointments have also been made in accordance with normal personnel rotation policy. We thank Admiral Nunan for her service and leadership while on the Lakes and wish her all the best in the future. We also welcome Admiral Cottrell and look forward to working with her and the 0-9 team.

Green Marine, 2019

In June, Green Marine held its Annual Conference, “Green Tech,” in Cleveland. Approximately 350 were in attendance. Green Marine is dedicated to meeting or exceeding environmental standards and demonstrating such compliance through rigorous inspection and reporting regimes. USGLSA is proud to have been one of the founders of Green Marine.

Here’s hoping everyone will find the new web site “user friendly” and informative. Comments and suggestions are always welcomed. Also, best wishes to all that conditions will favor success and opportunity during the balance of the Season.

–Stuart H. Theis

Mr. Theis, who has served as Executive Director since April 2007, is an attorney and businessman with prior associations at Cleveland, Ohio based M. A. Hanna Company and Oglebay Norton Company. At Hanna, he held a variety of legal/operational positions including Corporate Vice President with responsibilities for Hanna’s Great Lakes/St Lawrence Seaway and Ocean Marine vessel and dock operations in the U. S. and Canada. While at Oglebay Norton, Mr. Theis served as President of the Company’s Great Lakes fleet and dock operations. Mr. Theis is a member of the American Bureau of Shipping and has served as a member on two U. S. Coast Guard Advisory Committees, the Great Lakes Pilotage Advisory Committee and the National Maritime Security Advisory Committee.