In an industry as international as shipping, it is impossible for a ship operator to have offices in every port where its ships might call. Instead, ship operators rely on a network of port agents to act as their eyes and ears to ensure the safe and secure running of their ships. As the representative of the ship, the port agent helps keep global trade moving and profits flowing.
Types of ships employed in dry cargo and liquid trades including Cape Size, Panamax and Handy Size bulk carriers,
General Purpose, Container, Ro/Ro, Ore/Bulk/Oil, Ore/Oil and tankers.
Basic dimensions, design and construction details including decks, holds, hatches, derricks, winches, cranes and specialised cargo handling gear.
Ballasting and ballast systems .
Terminology of measurements including dimensions, tonnages, cubic capacities, TEUs.
Content and information available from Capacity, General Arrangement and Stowage Plans.
Compatibility of different ships for cargoes and trade routes.
CARGOES AND TRADE
Commodities – their nature, characteristics, hazards and stowage requirements.
Areas of production. Trade routes and seasonal variations including approximation of time and distance.
Alternative routes and seasonal variations.
REGISTRATION, CLASSIFICATION AND SURVEYS
Choice of flag, flag states, offshore registries and flags of convenience.
The role and function of classification societies. Classification societies registers. Class maintenance programmes and class surveys.
Safety certification. Port State Control.
Other surveys including on/off hire, pre-loading, bunkers and draft surveys.
ISM Code – origin, application and audits.
Role of the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) and national trade unions.
PORT AGENCY OPERATIONS
The agent’s role; obtaining business, identifying the principal. Dealing with port authorities, terminal operators, pilotage, towage, stevedores, riggers etc.
Services for Master and ship’s personnel including bunkering, storing victualling, medical needs etc.
Cash to master.
Clearing of the vessel with statutory authorities including customs, port health and immigration.
Problems of smuggling, drug offences, illegal immigration.
Signing crew on and off and repatriation.
Certificates, reason for and validity.
Standard forms of voyage and time charter parties and their suitability to different trades.
Format and clauses common to all Charter Party forms.
Voylay Rules 1993 and FONASBA Time Charter Interpretation Code 2000.
Rights, responsibilities and liabilities of owners and charterers.
Consecutive voyage contracts and Contracts of Affreightment.
PORT WORKING DOCUMENTATION
Notices of readiness, arrived ship, statements of facts, timesheets.
Avoiding disputes in connection with time counting.
The importance of bills of lading in Port Agency.
The functions of bills of lading and their role in international trade.
Bills of lading legislation – UK Carriage of Goods by Sea Act 1992 or equivalent national legislation.
Hague/Hague Visby & Hamburg rules. Rules for combined transport including UNCTAD/ICC.
Clean and ‘dirty’ Bills of Lading. Letters of indemnity, their use, misuse and the avoidance of fraud.
Types of Bills of Lading: ocean, through, combined transport, waybills. Major and usual clauses.
Other documentation – Booking notes, Shipping notes, Manifests, Dangerous cargo declarations.
Regulatory control of imports and exports including customs procedures and licensing.
Computers: Their application and the development of paperless trading.
LEGAL ASPECTS FOR PORT AGENCY
The agent’s relationship with his principal including law of agency.
Charterer’s nomination of agent and appointment by time charterers.
Liabilities of the agent including authority, breach of warranty and fiduciary duty.
Errors and omissions insurance.
The essentials of General Average including documentation.
General average documentation.
Cargo and other claims and the role of the owner’s P & I Association.
The role of the agent in arrest in rem.
Funds in advance. Pro-forma disbursements accounts. Identifying costs for owner’s account, for time charterer’s account, for voyage charterer’s account, for merchant’s account.
Separation of owner’s and charterer’s financial responsibilities.
Freight collection and remittance.
Recovery of overdue accounts.