Port Agency

Port Agency

A Group Two Subject/Course : NB: No exemption is permitted from this subject.


  1. To ensure a thorough knowledge and understanding of port agency.
  2. To develop relevant communication skills.


  • 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.

Ship Documentation

  • 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.
  • Noting protest.
  • Certificates, reason for and validity.

Charter Parties

  • 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.

Cargo Documentation

  • 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.


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