Ship Agent Duties Before Ship Arrival

Ship agents look after all the needs of the ship and crew while ship is

  • Arriving at Port
  • Staying in Port
  • Departing from Port

First, ship agent must acknowledge the appointment and establish whether the appointee is to be responsible for settling the port disbursement account (Port DA). Unfortunately, there have been many cases where the appointment has been made by the ship-managers. Then when the actual shipowner has fallen into financial difficulty, ship-managers have averred that ship-managers were only agents and have successfully avoided settling outstanding balance.

Second, ship agent must provide the shipowner with a pro forma disbursement account (pro forma DA), which will include the intended agency fee. Pro forma disbursement account (pro forma DA) at this stage need only be in round sums under the main headings of expenditure but the object is to receive advance funding from the shipowner. BIMCO (The Baltic and International Maritime Council) agrees that ship agents should not be expected to provide the funds for a ship’s port disbursements (port DA).

Ship agent’s other tasks before the ship’s arrival:

  • Establish liaison with the shippers or consignees to determine where the ship is to berth
  • Maintain contact with the shippers or consignees so that the necessary port labor and equipment are ready at the appropriate time
  • Arrange pilots, tugs and boatmen for mooring in advance
  • Contact with the ship to get information about expected time of arrival (ETA) and to give berthing details
  • Learn in advance of any urgent requirements of crew