Role of the shipping agent
Owner/Charterer Representative. Shipping agents have been in existence for over a hundred years. Every time a ship visits a port, the owner or charterer (lessor of the vessel) needs to appoint a shipping agent as representative of his own interest in the port of visit. The shipping agent will be the sole appointed figure between the vessel owner/charterer and the country’s authorities and suppliers during the port stay of the ship. He will be entitled to liaise with all the relevant parties in the place of the owner to arrange of a whole range of goods and services required by the ship during its port stay.
Responsibilities of the shipping agent
- Berth/Anchorage Spot booking for the vessel with the port authorities (Call announcement).
- Liaison with the various service suppliers (Courier services, Water Taxis, Ship Chandlers, Fresh Water Supply, Bunker Suppliers, Transportation services etc) for scheduling and delivery of goods and services to the vessel.
- Liaison with the various authorities required in providing different services to the vessel (Custom, Authorities, Fire Fighting Services etc).
- All in all the shipping agent is fully responsible and liable to ensure that ships visiting its port of operations are provided with all required goods and services in a timely, efficient and above all legally respectful manner.
Before the arrival of the ship, the shipping agent will receive a nomination from the vessel owner/charterer or the upcoming port call. Once the nomination is received, the shipping agent starts to prepare for the visit of the ship. Amongst other things this procedure will include:
The services provided by a ship agent can indeed be quite complex depending on the nature and purpose of the port call.