Understanding the Nuances of Port Agency

There are numerous international shipping ports present across the world. Hence, having offices and employees on all of them is not really a viable option for the ship operators. After all, the next destination always depends on the clients’ requirement.

This is where port agency comes to the ship owners’ rescue. It acts as the owner’s eyes & ears and ensures a smooth and safe operation of the vessel. This way, the agent keeps the ship sailing, and the profits flowing.

The agency takes this challenging front-line role. From fulfilling the everyday duties and taking care of the legal aspect associated with shipping to maintaining the bulk of documentation, a port agency helps its clients to navigate through murky waters of the maritime industry.

What does a Port Agency do?

The captain approaches an agency so that an adequate mooring area is allotted to the ship and all the paperwork is well taken care of. It also informs and advises the clients on custom duties and other government procedures which the ship might be subjected to upon arrival.

One of the best things about hiring good agencies is that they are physically present when the vessel arrives. They oversee all the necessary procedures and make sure that all of them are completed without any hiccups. As a result, everything keeps moving, which creates reliability and trust between the operators and the agency.

In addition to them, it is also responsible for coordinating and supervising various activities (including port calling, from booking a berth and other services ahead of ship’s arrival) to maintaining accounts and getting all the paperwork in order after the vessel’s departure. It acts as a conduit for the exchange of information between the ship and authorities on the port.

It is evident that port agency plays an extremely crucial role in the international maritime and shipping industry. Hence, it does not come as a surprise that ship owners look for agents who demonstrate complete proficiency with commercial, safety, and statutory regulations set forth by International Maritime Organization (IMO).

It needs to be fully aware of the industry norms and rules so that any delays arising out of failure to comply or meet the regulations can be avoided. The agency also needs to have cordial relations with a variety of port operators, regulators, and service providers so that the operations of the vessel remain unaffected under all circumstances.

What are its responsibilities?

There are over 130 operations that form part of an agency’s undertaking. Whilst it is highly unlikely to perform all of them for every single port call, an agency needs to possess the vast ocean of knowledge and experience, and more importantly, keep itself updated with the latest developments of the industry.

Some of the operations are listed below: –

  • Search for a berth before the ship’s arrival;
  • Arrange some pilot & tugboats;
  • Prepare documentation for customs and other harbor services;
  • Act as the middleman between ship, harbor, and port authorities;
  • Arrange the necessary provisions;
  • Get the repairs done;
  • Convey directions to & from the operator;
  • Organize handling, supply, and transporting of cargo;
  • Collect freight;
  • Arrange some spare bunkers, if needed;
  • Liaise with the shippers & receivers of the cargo;
  • Deal with the insurance company in case of any damage.

The Bottom Line

To sum it up, when a ship sits idle on a port, it makes no money and wastes a lot of precious time. The port agency’s duty is to keep the port-visits as short as possible and maximize the vessel’s profitability. It won’t be wrong to say that a good agency will go a long way in increasing your earnings.

We are the leading port agency in Singapore. You can rely on our team to look after all the needs of your ship right from the moment it drops the anchor till the time it leaves. To know more about our services, you can reach out to us at +65 66357605 or drop a message on enquiry@nimbusmaritime.com.

Posted in Uncategorized