Terminals

Most ship managers will find that ships under their management tend to prefer certain trades and will become familiar with the virtues and vices of different loading and discharging terminals.  There is, however, one piece of advice which is always worth taking; that it is better to remember where to find the facts than to try to remember lots of facts. Having said that, any source of facts must be up to date.  There are many excellent (albeit costly) volumes available which list details of almost every berth in the world; many of them print a new edition each year or so.  This is not just a device to make you spend more money, the fact is there is constant change going on in the world of ports, docks, berths and terminals.  Usually, the change is for the better but shortage of money or even topographical changes can result in some facilities deteriorating. An inevitable problem with any port directory is its sheer size.  This results in possibly several months passing between the input of the information and the actual publication date. There is no substitute for local knowledge so if any dimension or restriction is so critical contact a reputable agent (the one you will appoint if you use that port).  When doing so, do be sure that the question is clear so that the answer can be equally so. Quite often, the charter party will stipulate ‘one safe berth’ when referring to loading or discharging port which places the onus upon the charterer to ensure that the nominated berth is safe for the ship concerned.  However the ship managers business is to operate ships efficiently; not to win law-suits.  In any case there is no certainty in winning legal battles and time spent in fighting them is totally unproductive to all but the legal profession. It should not be overlooked that although the ship manager will be relieved of many tasks when a ship is on time rather than voyage charter, monitoring the safety of where the ship is ordered still has to be done.