Ship’s Personnel

When the management includes the commercial work as well, or in the case of the management being carried out by the owners themselves, this close liaison between the operations staff and the commercial department is far simpler and in some companies this has developed into such a close tie that it is difficult to see where the precise divisions lie. It is the commercial department’s job to decide what business to go for and to authorise the brokers accordingly but such decisions cannot be made without the certainty that what is proposed is physically and conveniently possible. Given that a particular piece of business is workable, the commercial people have the task of ensuring that it is as profitable as possible so that an understanding of the market conditions, much of this learnt from the brokers, is an essential part of this decision-making.  Skill at producing voyage estimates to enable viability and comparison with other business to be checked is an important part of this. Each voyage cannot be looked at in isolation, an eye must be kept on where the ship will become empty and what sort of following business may be available.  It could be worth ignoring a cargo nearby and sailing in ballast to a further port if the business there takes the ship, in turn, to an area where there is the prospect of good following business. Whilst all the departments in a ship manager’s office are vital, the responsibility for the eventual success of the venture rests with the commercial department. Even with first class departments in the ship manger’s office and despite all the technological advances made in this century, a ship’s eventual success or failure will depend upon its officers and crew.  This in turn makes it imperative for the ship managers to have a well-run crewing department.