Shipping agency: what are the advantages of hiring Wilson Sons?

  • 14/02/2019
  • 15 minutes

The company responsible for representing shipowners and charterers around the world, and also for managing a ship’s stay at a port, is called a shipping agency. This agency connects ships and ports. In order for the operation to happen without complications, it’s essential to count on the help of a company with a broad know-how and market intelligence.

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The shipping agent is responsible for exchanging information between charterer, shipowner, custom brokers, and port authorities. Because of that, being in contact with the best suppliers on the market and obeying all the regulations and laws of the sector allows the processes to happen with agility!

We talked to Wilson Sons’ operations manager, Márcio Panisset, about the services provided by a shipping agency and about the advantages of hiring a company with a vast national coverage and foreign representation. Check it out!

Shipping agencies: what services do they provide?

The maritime modal is one of the oldest modes of transportation, used for all kinds of cargo — from the most fragile ones to the most dangerous ones.

The shipping agency services can be translated as the act of connecting the main characters on the port operation of ships. As representatives of the shipowner or the charterer, the agencies have managing the arrival and departure procedures of a ship at the port as their main mission, as well as maintaining each part properly informed about the operation; always aiming to anticipate risks and providing their client with the best options for the resolution of a possible problem.

The shipping agency provides services related to cost analysis for the schedule at a port on a certain kind of operation, besides providing the main characteristics of each operation and ship, thus allowing the shipowner/charterer to better anticipate and plan out the schedule.

Márcio Panisset explains that the services include “controlling and processing data from the containers being moved, booking, managing supply per each empty container, and movement in case of imports”.

During the managing of a ship’s stay at the port, the shipping agency participates by:

  • managing the documentation involved with the cargo;
  • helping with the release procedures for importing and exporting ship parts;
  • managing the time of the container at the hands of the importer;
  • controlling demurrage;
  • sending daily reports on the operation;
  • accompanying the evolution of expenses and, in case of deviations, alerting the shipowner/charterer;
  • coordinating the services provided by suppliers, technicians etc.

“The shipping agency is the one with full knowledge about who is responsible for each kind of release and what to do according to certain needs”, adds Wilson Sons’ operations manager.

Knowledge of the market is one of the things that sets shipping agencies apart on this kind of service, because it allows for a broader vision on prices and the quality of the services provided by each worker. It’s that know-how that makes a shipping agency be of the utmost importance for the shipowner.

Márcio Panisset points out that “it’s impossible for a shipowner who’s in another country, for example, to have all that information”. In order for that to happen, focusing on an agency with a broad market experience, such as Wilson Sons, is essential.

Shipping agency and shipowners: what’s the relation?

The shipowner is responsible for carrying out the maritime transport by operating the ships. Since this professional works both with local and international transportation, he or she doesn’t always have legal representation in the country — or is even a legal entity.

In order to make the operation viable, the agent controls the maritime transport services so as to obey the service demand, from buying provisions to providing parts, including more complex questions such as looking for specific electronic equipment needed for repairs on the vessel, for example.

“The shipowner doesn’t have deep knowledge of the market (suppliers and bureaucratic procedures, among others). That is why the shipping agency administers all those services in order to provide the ship with all it needs”, explains Márcio Panisset.

Information on the market is what makes a shipping agency fundamental on the moment of analyzing a proposal so a ship can be chartered for a specific discharge.

What’s the importance of a shipping agency for shipowners?

In order to make a charter party proposal, the shipowner needs to have access to certain information, which is essential for the analysis of the operation’s cost at the port. This evaluation, carried on by the shipping agency, includes points such as:

  • towing;
  • pilotage;
  • possibility of delays;
  • rain forecast;
  • entities’ strike;
  • operational characteristics of the port;
  • time limit for ship maneuvering.

The specialist points out that “that information significantly impacts maritime transportation, and the shipping agency is the one that carries that knowledge”.

But, after all, do you really need a shipping agency?

One of the main things that sets a shipping agency apart is market intelligence. “Companies such as Wilson Sons have a very specific knowledge of the operation’s characteristics”, highlights the operations manager.

Besides the analysis carried out by the shipping agency, there are other questions related to the operation that affect transport, such as negotiating sea freight, the terminal’s characteristics, relations with the authorities, and knowledge about the service providers.

“The background of a shipping agent is fundamental not only on the question of pricing, but also to guarantee a smooth operation and a constant flow of communication with the shipowner”, reminds Márcio Panisset — while also explaining that that kind of knowledge allows the shipowner to better plan out his or her schedule at the port.

What’s the importance of the shipping agency for shipowners and charterers?

The shipping agent helps the charterer to analyze the availability of the berth and the estimated waiting time for mooring. The shipowner, on the other hand, can be helped by the agency in relation to information that goes even beyond that, such as the characteristics of the draft (from the anchoring to the berth), water density, maneuver restrictions, availability of suppliers of provisions, diesel etc.

In both cases, it’s important to have information on the loading and/or unloading board. In any case, the shipping agent is the one able to pass on accurate and trustworthy information.

Márcio Panisset reinforces that “the charterer tends to have a closer connection to the cargo, while the shipowner/operator seeks knowledge about nautical, technical, and operational matters that involve the mooring, the operation, and the departure of the ship, as well as the berths’ waiting time”.

Why hire a shipping agency?

“The shipping agent needs to have certain accreditations with some official organizations in order to operate, and having problems with those accreditations might complicate or even deter an operation. Therefore, hiring a shipping agency such as Wilson Sons is of the utmost importance”, alerts Márcio Panisset.

Preparing the ships’ schedule, for example, requires access to the Siscomex portal in order to register the cargo, as well as to the Mercante system — which doesn’t only registers the number of vessels, but also the schedule, volume, and types of cargo being moved.

“Some accesses or registrations are simple to obtain, but you need a specific company name to guarantee that accreditation”, he adds. Therefore, if a professional loses access, it might be a problem for the charterer. However, for a shipping agency with thousands of registered schedules, that doesn’t get in the way.

Now, learn more about what are the advantages of hiring a shipping agency like Wilson Sons.

10 reasons for hiring Wilson Sons

  • Solid relations with port authorities, stakeholders, and institutions involved in the bureaucratic procedures related to the entrance, stay, and departure of the ships from the ports — allowing for a massive representation when facing the entities and the other players.
  • Vast database, with a huge quantity of information highly relevant about the functioning of port operations.
  • Exhaustive knowledge about the information related to the schedules, such as cost, running time of the operations, and security regulations.
  • Safe scheduling, be it because of the flow of information or because of the bureaucratic matters, with readily available and transparent services.
  • Proceedings in various types of operations, thus generating a huge volume of information for the agency.
  • Coverage of all the ports in Brazil, thus providing contact on a unique focal point and better pricing and charging processes.
  • Credibility and safety, with an anticorruption certificate from Trace International, stark transparency and compliance protocols, besides a highly effective management model.
  • Pioneering on BL Eletrônico and high level of contact with cutting-edge technology for the improvement of the bureaucratic procedures related to shipping agencies.
  • Five years without accidents resulting in medical leave.

Shipping agencies contribute to the proper functioning of nautical transport processes. Therefore, choosing an agency able to help with port, maritime, and logistical services is fundamental.

What’s the importance of a shipping agency to you? Share this post on your social media so that more people can know about what sets Wilson Sons apart!