[Definition] What is a Shipping Agency or Shipping Agent?

[Definition] What is a Shipping Agency or Shipping Agent?


3 minute read | By Detype Studio

Last updated: January 4, 2024 | Published: March 15, 2018


What is a Shipping Agency or Shipping Agent?

A shipping agency or shipping agent is the party representing the ship’s owner and charterer (the Principal) in port. The shipping agent is responsible for arranging a berth, all required port and husbandry services, looking after the needs of the Master and crew, clearing the ship with the port and other authorities, preparation and submission of appropriate documentation, along with releasing or receiving cargo on behalf of the Principal.

Port Agency Services

The shipping agency is often referred to as the port agency or port agent and carries out the following:

  • Booking vessel in and out of the port, and arranging the pilot and tugboat services
  • Submitting information on crew and any passengers to the local immigration authorities
  • Completion of all relevant vessel clearance documentation
  • Advising Customs of the ship’s arrival and reporting the cargo on board
  • Supervision of loading and discharging of cargo and the safe handling of containers, break-bulk and bulk liquids
  • Ship’s husbandry
  • Crew changes and repatriation, immigration documentation and onward travel arrangements
  • Handling ship services including fuel, repairs and maintenance
  • Sourcing of supplies and spare parts

Shipping agencies come in all shapes and sizes from small family run businesses to large global organisations. At John Good Logistics, along with our subsidiaries Dan Shipping and Chartering and Bay Shipping, we offer port agency services at ports throughout the UK that provide a personal and caring service to vessels, their crew and cargo.

Liner Agency Services

Another service often associated with Shipping Agency services is Liner Agency Services. Most major carriers have a network of liner agents in the key locations served by their services, and their primary function is to secure bookings of shipping space from local shippers. Liner agencies are therefore responsible for the sales and marketing of the shipping line and provide additional services such as vessel operations, container tracking, haulage, documentation and crew transfers.

At John Good Logistics, we’ve been providing marketing leading shipping agency services including port agency and liner agency services since 1833. For more details about how we can support your business, contact our friendly team.

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