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A shipping agency or shipping agent is the designated person or agency held responsible for handling shipments and
cargo In economics, the word cargo refers in particular to goods or produce being conveyed—generally for Commerce, commercial gain—by water, air or land. "Freight" is the money paid to carry cargo. ''Cargo'' was originally a shipload. Cargo ...

cargo
, and the general interests of its customers, at
port A port is a maritime Maritime may refer to: Geography * Maritime Alps, a mountain range in the southwestern part of the Alps * Maritime Region, a region in Togo * Maritime Southeast Asia * The Maritimes, the Canadian provinces of ...

port
s and
harbor A harbor (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of variety (linguistics), varieties of the English language native to the United States. C ...

harbor
s worldwide, on behalf of
ship owners A ship is a large watercraft Watercraft, also known as water vessels or waterborne vessels, are vehicles A vehicle (from la, vehiculum) is a machine A machine is any physical system with ordered structural and functional properti ...
, managers, and charterers. In some parts of the world, these agents are referred to as port agents or cargo brokers. There are several categories of shipping agents such as: ''port agents'', ''liner agents,'' and ''own agencies'', each rendering specific services depending on the
shipping company Freight companies are companies that specialize in the moving (or " forwarding") of freight In economics Economics () is a social science that studies the Production (economics), production, distribution (economics), distribut ...
they represent. In other words, a ship agent is any person or company that carries out the functions of an agent. They can be in business as a ship agent, or they perform such functions as an adjunct to, or conjunction with, other activities such as ship owning or operating, providing cargo handling or similar. Shipping agents will usually take care of all the regular routine tasks of a shipping company quickly and efficiently. They ensure that essential supplies, crew transfers,
customs Customs is an authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture that surrounds everyday life. It is a social science that u ...

customs
documentation, and waste declarations are all arranged with the
port authorities In Canada and the United States, a port authority (less commonly a port district) is a governmental or quasi-governmental public authority for a special-purpose district usually formed by a legislative body (or bodies) to operate ports and other t ...
without delay. Quite often, they also provide the shipping company with updates and reports on activities at the destination port so that shipping companies have real-time information available to them while goods are in transit.


Tasks and responsibilities

Succinctly, the term shipping agent refers to the relationship between the principal (in this case the shipping company conveying the goods) and its representative. The principal, expressly or impliedly, authorizes the agent to work under his control and on his behalf. The responsibilities/competencies as well as the
remuneration Remuneration is the pay or other financial compensation provided in exchange for an employee's ''services performed'' (not to be confused with giving (away), or donating, or the act of providing to). A number of complementary Employee benefit, ben ...

remuneration
of the agent may be explicitly entered into a
contract A contract is a legally binding agreement that defines and governs the rights and duties between or among its parties Image:'Hip, Hip, Hurrah! Artist Festival at Skagen', by Peder Severin Krøyer (1888) Demisted with DXO PhotoLab Clearview ...

contract
which has been concluded between himself and the
ship owner A ship-owner is the owner of a merchant vessel A merchant ship, merchant vessel, trading vessel, or merchantman is a watercraft Watercraft, also known as water vessels or waterborne vessels, are vehicles A vehicle (from la, vehiculum ...
. This practice is very common in the cargo trade, booking agents, etc. The duties of a cargo broker are similar to those of a shipping agent, but may also vary. For example, a cargo broker will also book outward cargo and inform the shippers on which
quay A wharf, quay (, also ), or staith(e) is a structure on the shore of a harbour A harbor (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of var ...

quay
and when the goods are to be presented and when loading and unloading is due to start. He will draw up booking lists according to the incoming bookings and ensure that the
manifest Manifest may refer to: Computing * Manifest file A manifest file in computing is a file containing metadata for a group of accompanying files that are part of a set or coherent unit. For example, the files of a computer program may have a manife ...
department collects the shipping documents (shipping permits, bills of lading) which are necessary to commence the loading and unloading operations. The collected documents are also compared with the booking lists. Responsibilities of Shipping Agents Include: * Ensuring a berth for the incoming ship * Arranging for the pilot and the
tugs A tugboat or tug is a marine vessel Watercraft, also known as water vessels or waterborne vessels, are vehicles A vehicle (from la, vehiculum) is a machine A machine is any physical system with ordered structural and functional ...

tugs
if necessary * Drawing up the documents for the customs and harbor services * Arranging for the necessary ship fresh water / provisions * Arranging for a doctor in case the crew needs medical assistance * Arranging for storage bunkers if these are needed * Arranging for necessary repairs * Conveying instructions to and from the ship owner * Organizing the supply, transport and the handling of the goods * Organizing the necessary contacts with the
stevedore A stevedore (), also called a longshoreman, a docker or a dockworker, is a waterfront Waterfront may refer to: *Waterfront (area), the dockland district of a town Music *Waterfront (band), a 1980s British pop duo *Waterfront Records, an Austra ...
s * Collecting freights, cargoes * Contacting shippers and the receivers of the goods In the case of damage to cargo or the ship, the shipping agent also makes the necessary arrangements (at the request of the ship's master or owner) with the
insurance Insurance is a means of protection from financial loss. It is a form of risk management Risk management is the identification, evaluation, and prioritization of risk In simple terms, risk is the possibility of something bad happening. ...

insurance
company, and for nautical inspections and the services of experts or
surveyors Surveying or land surveying is the technique, profession, art, and science of determining the terrestrial or three-dimensional positions of points and the distances and angles between them. A land surveying professional is called a land survey ...
, etc. The specific tasks of a cargo broker or port agent include: * Providing the necessary information concerning the
freight rate A freight rate (historically and in ship chartering simply freight) is a price at which a certain cargo is delivered from one point to another. The price depends on the form of the cargo, the mode of transport (truck, ship, train, aircraft), the w ...
s and the publication of the sailing lists * Looking for cargo via notices and sailing lists * Booking of cargo and the conclusion of the agreements * Drawing up, initiating and delivering the required documents (booking lists, shipping permits, delivery orders) related to the cargo * Contacting the shippers/ forwarders with regard to the deliveries for shipment * Fulfilling the necessary formalities regarding the delivery and reception of the goods (
customs Customs is an authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture that surrounds everyday life. It is a social science that u ...

customs
etc.) * Settling cargo claims with insurance companies


Fees

Shipping agents or port agents receive a fee called an agency fee for their services.


See also

*
Shipping portalShipping portals are websites which allow Freight transport, shippers, consignees and forwarders access to multiple carriers through a single site. Portals provide bookings, track and trace, and documentation, and allow users to communicate with thei ...


References

{{reflist Shipping