Ship Agency

The ship agent is defined in the new IMO FAL Convention, which comes into force on 1st January 2018, as follows:

Ship agent. The party representing the ship’s owner and/or charterer (the Principal) in port. If so instructed, the agent is responsible to the Principal for arranging, together with the port, a berth, all relevant port and husbandry services, tending to the requirements of the Master and crew, clearing the ship with the port and other authorities (including preparation and submission of appropriate documentation) along with releasing or receiving cargo on behalf of the Principal.

In that role, the agent is often called a port agent and, amongst other duties, undertakes the following key roles:

  • Booking the vessel in and out of the port, and arranging the pilot and tug boat services

  • Providing information on the crew and any passengers to the local immigration authorities

  • Ensuring the ship’s documentation complies with international regulations prior to Customs inspection

  • Preparing quarantine pre-arrival report (QPAR) which provides details on the crew, the ship’s previous route and any deaths or illnesses which may have occurred during the voyage

  • Advising Customs of the ship’s arrival and reporting the cargo on board

  • Logistics involved with provisions and fuel

  • Providing the stevedore’s ship planner with the manifest which gives detailed information on the cargo to be handled

  • Liaising with stevedores and terminal operators regarding the safe handling of containers, break-bulk and bulk liquids, and ensuring that the ship’s master is aware of shore requirements

  • Organizing crew changes, any associated immigration documentation and arrangements such as booking flights

  • Paying the crew

  • Handling ship services including repairs and maintenance

PORT AGENT: Organizes and coordinates the port call, acting on behalf of the owner or operator of the vessel.

CARGO/LINER AGENT: Solicits cargo on behalf of the owner, or operator, usually within a defined geographical area

OWNERS/CHARTERERS AGENT: Acts for another party that has an interest in the port call. The specific duties undertaken vary depending on the relationship between the parties

OTHERS: As the principal may decide or require