On high freeboard ships, such as some container ships and autocarriers, there is a door let into the ship's hull, below the weather deck and closer to the waterline. This reduces the height the pilot has to climb.
OOCL Oakland is an example of how this works:
A pilot ladder is suspended adjacent to the hull door. Although the pilot needs some agility to transfer from ladder to doorway, the door is sufficiently high that he is out of the way of the boat whern he makes that transition. The is also a safety railing around the doorway.
On the current Atlantic Container Line G3 ships, the ladder is rigged from the doorway itself, Atlantic Cartier is typical:
When the G1 (S class) ACL's were lengthened, large sponsons were attached to the hull for strength and stability. Atlantic Song is typical:
The sponsons prevented the pilot from getting alongside the ship's hull, and thus to reach a pilot ladder. The solution was to recess the pilot door in a recessed area of the sponson (well aft of amidships), and extend a small platform and steps for boardng directly into the ship.
Here's a blowup:
Another feature of the lenghtening of the G1s and G3s were long steel plate battens welded to the ships' hulls just below the deck line. These added longitudinal strength to the longer ships.