What does a Ships Agent do

17th October 2017

t ward shipping is a full service ships agency that offers a wide range of services to help clients import, export and transport their cargos with as little fuss as possible. As ship’s agents, we aim to get things moving quickly and make sure that vessels spend as little time in port as possible, which helps to maximize the ship’s profitability.

As soon as we know the time of the ship’s arrival, we get the arrangements in place, and we ensure that everything runs smoothly from arrival to the next departure.

Our ships agency services cover all of the posts in the Firth of Forth ports:

 Leith
 Rosyth
 Babcock, Rosyth
 Grangemouth
 Methil
 Burntisland
 Kirkcaldy


We also serve:

 Hunterston
 Glasgow KG5
 Ayr
 Greenock
 Stranraer  

And other Scottish ports.

What is a ship’s agent?


So, what does our service actually cover? Well, we are on hand to act as your local representative, making the most of our local knowledge and expertise, plus our connections in the area, to get cargos moved as swiftly and efficiently as possible.

We’re expected to stay up to date with all the relevant regulations in any country to which we operate, and to know the rules and regulations applying to every port we serve. We’re your point of contact for anything to do with your cargo.

Before arrival, we start planning ahead. We pay particular attention to making arrangements for off-loading the cargo and organising any cranes or pump-out facilities. We make sure that everyone knows when the ship is due in port and when the cargo will be discharged, and arrange for personnel to board the ship to advise the captain on conditions and local requirements.  We also make sure that arrangements for docking and undocking are in place, arranging tugs if needed.

Once the cargo is in, we notify customs and arrange services from longshoremen to help with unloading cargo and book any trucks to move containerised freight to its final destination.We’ll make sure that any inspections or certifications are taken care of, and notify any authorities. If there are any repairs needed, we can arrange those too.

When it’s time to reload the ship, we make sure the cargo is there and ready to be loaded up, check that it’s in a good condition and make sure the arrangements are in place for transportation. We’ll also inform the parties and port of the projected date of arrival.

When the cargo is loaded, we liaise with the ship's master to arrange for departure and make all the necessary arrangements. If there have been any inspections while the ship has been docked, we pass the results on.

Once the ship has left port, we collect any payments due from consignees who received freight and any penalties from the ship management company for damage or late delivery. 

We’ve had many years’ experience in the ports agency – over 80 years in fact – so when it comes to making sure all the arrangements for your cargo are in place and ensuring the process goes as smoothly as it can, we’re the people to talk to!