By Judy Jordan,2014-09-30 07:07
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    1. The structure of shipping

    shipper (sea) carrier consignee

    Personnel and organisations

The major components of the industry can be divided into

    three sections

     Ship interests

     Cargo interests

     Ancillary services





Ship interests



     Shipping line


    Shipping line

    A company which operates a ship or ships between advertised ports on a regular basis and offers space for goods in return for freight based on a tariff of rates.


    The shipowner or charterer or whoever enters into a contract with the shipper for the transportation of merchandise.

Cargo interest



     Freight forwarder


    A person or company who enters into a contract with a liner conference, shipping line or shipowner for the carriage of goods.

    The shipper could be the seller of the cargo, the buyer of the cargo or some third party that solely arranges the transportation of the cargo.


    A person or organisation that contracts to acquire a vessel, for a voyage or a period of time, to carry his cargo. Freight forwarder

    An increasing importance is being placed upon the freight forwarder, as he takes over many of the functions of the traditional shipowner/carrier yet retains interested in the cargo.

    Many of the larger exporting companies maintain an inhouse shipping and distribution department which negotiates contracts of affreightment or carriage of goods for the company with the shipping line that trades to the area of the world where the company’s goods are destined.

    However, there could probably be a lack of knowledge of exporting procedures, and a lack of expertise for negotiating, in a smaller company that exports.

    Traditionally, the freight forwarder filled the need for expertise, with their knowledge of export/import documentation and procedure, plus their wide experience in dealing with shipping companies with regard to contracts and documents.

    The freight forwarder can offer services that come under four distinct headings

     Purely as a shipper’s agent procuring transport and

    shipping services on behalf of the exporter and under

    his direction

     As a forwarder offering a total expertise package to the

    exporter with regard to routeing and choice of mode

    together with ancillary documentation and perhaps

    packing service. With regard to transport he remains an

    agent for the exporter and bills of lading are made out in

    the shipper’s name and to the shipper’s account

     As a principal, usually multi-modal transport operator,

    taking responsibility for the goods irrespective of who

    actually carries them. In many cases he may be the

    actual carrier for at least part of the transit. He issues

    the transport documents, combined bill of lading As a specialist provider of ancillary selfstanding

    services, such as, custom clearance, warehousing,

    packing and port agency

    Ancillary services




     Classification societies

     Flag state officials

     Port management


     Port authorities



    The first of these headings is of relevance because of the countless persons met who calls himself a ‘broker’.

    In relation to shipping the term broker covers a wide and varied list of activities

    Agents employed (at a customary

    or agreed rate of commission or

    remuneration) to buy or sell

    goods, merchandise or marketable

    securities, or to negotiate

    insurance, freight rates or other

    matters, for a principal; the sales

    or transaction being negotiated

    not in his own name but in the

    name of the principal (the marine

    encyclopaedia dictionary).

    More specifically brokers connected with the maritime industry can be categorised as:

    Insurance brokers, who act as the intermediary between the ship/cargo owner and the underwriters when marine insurance is negotiated. This form of broker could be an individual but more likely it will be part of a large organisation providing a global service of insurance, consultancy, risk management, and information.

Shipbrokers, who can be further divided into

     Sale and purchase brokers, who buy and sell ships for

    clients (principals) or arrange contracts for building new


     Shipowner’s brokers, who act for the shipowner with a

    ship to charter for a voyage, he is approached by the

    shipowner with a view to finding cargo to carry

     Loading broker/liner brokers, who represent the

    shipowner or shipping line at the port of loading. He

    advertises the date of sailing in shipping publications,

    obtains cargo and co-ordinates the arrangements for

    delivery to the ship and loading, though the actual

    stowage is decided upon by the cargo superintendent

    and the ship’s officers. It can also be this broker’s

    business to sign the bill of lading on behalf of the master

    and issue it to the shipper (cargo owner) or his agent in

    exchange for freight, if freight is to be paid in advance

     Charterer’s or merchant’s broker, who acts for the

    cargo interest and finds ships for the cargo, they will tend

    to specialise in a particular area or commodity.

     Chartering brokers, who act as intermediaries between

    the shipowner and the charterers, or shippers and

    receivers. They are mostly responsible for the drafting or

    signing of the charterparty

    The parties to the contract may use separate brokers or complete the fixture through the intervention of a mutual broker. This broker usually retains the original documents and issues certified copies to each party

    The broker’s commission, paid by the shipowner, is generally specified in the charterparty in the form of a stated percentage of the freight (voyage) or hire (time)

     Forwarding agent, is employed by the shipper to find a

    ship, usually on a liner trade, to carry his cargo. It is the

    forwarding agent’s normal duty to ascertain the date and

    place of sailing, obtain a space allocation and to prepare

    the bill of lading

    As different shipping lines tend to have their own form of bill of lading, it is the duty of the forwarding agent to obtain the correct bill of lading, complete it with the necessary particulars and forward it to the loading broker for signing

    His other duties often include arranging for the goods to be brought alongside the ship, making custom entries and paying any dues on the cargo.

    After shipment the forwarding agent collects the completed (signed) bill of lading and sends it to the shipper

    The forwarding agent will also be employed by the consignee to collect the delivered goods and arrange the inward customs clearance and formalities.

Ship’s agent/shipping agent, though technically not a broker,

    the ship’s agent does attend to the shipowner’s

    commercial needs and formalities before, during and after the ship’s stay in port

    The ship’s agent represents the shipowner with regard to the official requirements needed for the ship to enter port, arranging with the port authorities for the allocation of berthing space to load/unload the ship, advising import and export cargo owners, or the forwarding agent, and loading/unloading the cargo

    The ship’s agent will also attend to the customs requirements of the port, and pay (to be later reimbursed by the shipowner) all charges and dues the ship incurs.

    The agent can often be nominated by the charterer and paid for by the owner. In this case he could have a conflict of interest, where he is nominally acting for the ship but

primarily puts the charterer’s interest first. Care must be

    taken in approaching charterer’s named agents and ships should be advised to contact the ship manager’s office on a secure line for advice.

    If the shipping company is little used or even unknown to the ship’s agent company, they will usually be ask for

    advance sums of money to pay disbursements and cash advances to the crew

    Apart from the commercial duties the ship’s agent will also look after the ship’s non-commercial activities, crew

    replacement, repatriation and arranging stores, bunkers, water and money

    With passenger ships the agent handles all that is needed for the embarkation and disembarkation of the passengers

    Chartering agents, are brokers who undertake the import and/or export of commodities in large quantities, they act as an intermediary between the owner and consignee of the goods

    Brokers thus appear to discharge well developed and separate functions, but in practice the activities of firms may include more than one of these functions and the same firm is often acting for both parties, e.g. Loading broker and forwarding agent.


    Surveyors is a general term used by anybody wanting to inspect the ship or its cargo, its procedures or operation.

They can be associated with:

     The company - superintendents, auditors etc.

     Quality/sep/ism code P&i clubs


     Classification societies Flag state authorities Port state authorities Cargo

     Possible buyer of vessel

Independent surveyor

    There is no such person as an independent surveyor - all

    surveyors are contracted to work for some person or organisation and they must be dealt with in a careful manner.

    In many case the office will request the ship for permission for a surveyor’s visit and will provided his details, such as name and organisation.

    On all occasions identification must be requested and when in doubt, refuse permission to board until the office has been contacted.

    Time must be spent showing them the ship and its operation, though company confidentiality must be respected. In areas of doubt, ship’s masters are advised to

    contact the management office and - ask.

    Time must be spent showing them the ship and its operation.

    To proceed on its voyage a vessel must use the necessary brokers and agents.

Classification societies

    Ship classification societies set and maintain standards of safety and reliability.

    They provided this service to the shipper and insurer before the days of statutory control on the way ships were to be constructed and the equipment they were to carry.

    Because of this, a trust was established between the classification society and the shipping industry and if a

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