Importance of the shipping agency in the Offshore market

  • 17/03/2020
  • 9 分钟

Although it is treated as a fundamental element for several activities, the importance of the shipping agency in the Offshore market still raises doubts even in those who are already used to the sector.

Taking this into account, we interviewed Thalita de Sá, who is a senior business analyst at Wilson Sons — one of the largest integrated operators of port and maritime logistics in Brazil —, and a specialist in business development in the Oil & Gas segment.

Throughout the text, you will understand how the service of a shipping agency is for the Offshore market and what are the greatest benefits of having this support, due to the difficulties faced by companies in this sector. Good reading!

How does the service of a shipping agency in the Offshore market work?

According to the specialist, the service provided to this market by the agencies must be very agile. This is because these events happen at an accelerated speed and it is necessary to be ready to make the required decisions. “Sometimes, the support vessel only warns of its entry overnight, making the immediacy of the response important. It is necessary to act in short periods of time — and that requires preparation”, highlights Thalita.

In this sense, agility in responses is a more relevant aspect for agencies than for suppliers. In other words, if a support vessel needs to enter, it is necessary to respond to the client quickly and take the necessary steps to ensure that entry into the port happens in the best possible way. Suddenly, the agency notifies through the line-up, marks the terminal, coordinates with it and promotes the release of the vessel at the port.

As the notices are given with almost no advance and the company needs these services very quickly, it is the agencies’ responsibility to offer a helpful and proactive service.

What are the biggest advantages of relying on a shipping agency in the Offshore market?

In addition to having available the knowledge of those who are used to operating within this market, those who hire this service receive greater security when conducting their operations. It is worth remembering that most of these professionals do not hire an agency for an isolated occasion, but for a year or two, which will be protected by the management and expertise of those who know the Offshore industry well.

However, to have these benefits, it is essential to analyze the technical experience of the company that will be contracted. Another point that must be evaluated is regards Compliance — Wilson Sons, for example, has Trace certification, which is an international document capable of attesting to the strong Compliance policies that the agency applies internally.

Although people do not always recognize the importance of agencies, it is worth noting that they are often hired and surveyed to participate in bids. “This way, your company avoids the obligation to deal with specific and complex procedures, because the agency already has a system to take care of this activity”, comments Thalita.

In a nutshell, the agency is directly linked to the ship’s demands. As there are many vessels involved in this market and each of them has an objective — such as PSVs, OSRVs, PLSVs (positioning, installation of lines/ducts), AHTSs (mooring support), FPSOs and drillships — the role of the agency becomes even more relevant. Not to mention ship-to-ship operations and special mob/demob (mobilization/demobilization) operations that also require support from shipping agencies.

According to Thalita, “being able to count on a good shipping agency is essential for the operation to occur successfully, because it fully monitors not only the vessel’s arrival, but also the operation, permanence and its departure”. In addition, companies need certain information in order for procedures to be performed correctly — contact with accurate data is made possible by agencies.

What are Offshores’ biggest difficulties and how can agencies help?

The main difficulties are reflected in the action of monitoring the expiration of certificates and other pending matters. “As companies are too closely linked to operational factors, they end up leaving the more bureaucratic tasks a little aside. When the shipping agency is qualified in this area, it facilitates the work”, says Thalita.

In short, the activities of the Oil & Gas companies are closely associated with the operation of the vessel. After all, having a drilling rig or a platform without operating tends to generate a great loss of resources — when there is no production, a lot of investment is lost. Therefore, the agency has to offer good assistance so that the vessel does not stop operating under any circumstances. In this sense, a delayed certificate leave the vessel unable to travel, causing a negative domino effect on the work of all parties!

What are the services offered by Wilson Sons for this market?

As it is a very specific market, Wilson Sons — present in the main Brazilian ports — has a portfolio of services developed to meet the demands of the sector.

“The services we offer are inherent to shipping agency, but with valuable distinct features, especially in relation to drilling rigs and platforms”, reports the business analyst. Some examples of what the company offers are:

  • the issuance and renewal of certificates, such as the Temporary Registration Certificate and AJB, which allows operating in Brazilian Jurisdictional Waters;
  • Port State Control Inspections, a set of rules that must be regulated for the ship to operate;
  • normal agency services: logistics of materials and services, crew exchange when necessary and coordination of local suppliers;
  • the various bureaucracies with port authority, as well as the monitoring and scheduling of inspections;
  • the service of the vessel and the treatment of pending matters related to documentation;
  • among others.

“In addition to the experience, a distinct features of Wilson Sons is the monitoring of the expiration of certificates and pending reports from Port State. This helps O&G (Oil & Gas) companies to stay focused on the vessel’s operation”, summarizes Thalita. Finally, it is undeniable that relying on a shipping agency in the Offshore market makes all the difference.

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