Ship Agency.  A Guide to Tramp Ship Agency Practice

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July 2013

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Ship Agency. A Guide to Tramp Ship Agency Practice

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This guide to tramp shipping covers, among other topics, the law of agency, duties and liabilities of the agent to the principal, how to select a tramp ship agent and the scope of services provided. The function of the tramp ship agent is explained in detail.

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This book both equips readers with a basic knowledge of tramp shipping agents and encourages those entering the industry to pursue further education. Various types of employment for tramp ships, such as demise, bareboat and voyage charter, are explained in the context of ship owner control. In the legal chapters, possible termination of agency relationships is explained in terms of the operation of new local laws, a breach in the diplomatic relationship between countries and the agent or principal’s change in circumstances. The book ends with authors’ insight into tramp shipping agencies.

Chapter 1        Tramp Ship Agency and the International Shipping Industry

                        1.1       Definition of ‘Agency’

                        1.2       The Shipping Industry as a Service

                        1.3       The Liner Business of Shipping

                        1.4       The Tramp Ship Owner

Chapter 2        Tramp Shipping

                        2.1       Tramp Ship Owners and Operators

                        2.2       Dry Bulk Carriers

                        2.3       Liquid Bulk Carriers

                        2.4       Tramp Vessel Operations and Management

                        2.5       The Commercial Operating of Ships

                        2.6       Types of Employment for Tramp Vessels

                        2.7       The Freight Market

Chapter 3        Shipbroking

                        3.1       Types of Shipbrokers

                        3.2       The Freight Market

Chapter 4        Tramp Ship Agency Practice

                        4.1       Port Agency Companies

                        4.2       Tramp Agency Operation

                        4.3       Pre-arrival

                        4.4       The Port Call

                        4.5       After Sailing Service

                        4.6       Functions of Agency Staff Members

Chapter 5        Defining Tramp Agency and the Scope of Services Provided

                        5.1       General Agent

                        5.2       Special Agent

                        5.3       The Right to Select the Port Agent

                        5.4       Charterer’s Nominated Agents

                        5.5       Hub Agent

                        5.6       Other Outsource Agency Services

Chapter 6        The Law of Agency

                        6.1       The Relationship of Agency

                        6.2       The Creation of Agency

                        6.3       Agency by Necessity

                        6.4       Ratification by Principals

                        6.5       Termination of the Agency Relationship

Chapter 7        The Ship’s Agent, Principals and Third Parties

                        7.1       The Disclosed Principal

                        7.2       The Partly-Disclosed Principal

                        7.3       The Undisclosed Principal

                        7.4       Third Party Rights Against Agent and Principal in the United Kingdom

                        7.5       Third Party Rights Against Agent and Principal in the United States

                        7.6       The Weakness of the ‘As Agent’ Signature

                        7.7       Creation of a Maritime Lien in the United States

                        7.8       Ship Agent’s Right to a Lien

Chapter 8        Duties and Liabilities of the Agent to the Principal

                        8.1       Duty to Act within the Scope of Authority

                        8.2       The Agent’s Duty of Confidentiality and Loyalty

                        8.3       Duty and Liability to Contract on the Principal’s Behalf

                        8.4       The Importance of Contract Signature

                        8.5       The Duty to Account for Funds Advanced by the Principal

                        8.6       The Duty to Exercise Care, Skill and Diligence

                        8.7       Duty of the Agent to Perform all Duties Personally

                        8.8       Duty to Keep the Principal Informed

                        8.9       Notification of Principal Through the Agent

Chapter 9        Principal’s Duties and Liability to the Agent

                        9.1       The Principal’s Duty to Provide an Opportunity for Work

                        9.2       The Principal’s Duty of Good Conduct

                        9.3       The Principal’s Duty to Pay Compensation

                        9.4       Remedies of an Agent

Chapter 10      Indemnity Insurance for Agents

                        10.1     Protection Coverage for Ship Agents

                        10.2     When Agents are most Vulnerable to Claims

Chapter 11      Duties under a Time Charter or as a Voyage Charterer’s Nominated Agent

                        11.1     Voyage Charterer’s Nominated Agent

                        11.2     Ship Agent’s Duty Under Time Charter

                        11.3     Disbursements Under Time Charter

                        11.4     Attendance of Delivery and Redelivery

Chapter 12      How to Select a Tramp Ship Agent

                        12.1     The Agent is a Reflection of the Party who Nominates or Appoints

                        12.2     Financial Strength

                        12.3     The Reporting of Voyage Accounting

                        12.4     Communication and Cargo Documentation

                        12.5     Company and Agency Staff Experience

                        12.6     Worldwide Ship Agency Networks

Chapter 13      Maintenance of the Agent/Principal Relationship

                        13.1     The Personal Relationship and Corporate Relationship
                        13.2     The Trade Relationship

Chapter 14      Charterer’s Liability for Actions of a Nominated Agent

                        14.1     The Charter Party Agency Clause

                        14.2     The Incentive for a Voyage Charterer to Nominate the Port Agent

                        14.3     The Charterer must Make a Reasonable Appointment

                        14.4     Liability for the Insolvency of the Agent

                        14.5     Charterer’s Liability Through the Implied Agency Doctrine

                        14.6     Charterer’s Liability in Cases Where the Nominated Agent is Acting

                                    for a Limited Purpose

                        14.7     The Ship Owner’s Ratification of the Charterer’s Agency Nomination

Chapter 15      Managing a Tramp Ship Agency

                        15.1     Tramp Agency Fees

                        15.2     Service Fees

                        15.3     Accounting

                        15.4     Communications

                        15.5     Staffing

Chapter 16      Tramp Ship Agency Marketing

                        16.1     Selling to an Owner

                        16.2     Selling to a Charterer

                        16.3     Planning a Sales Call

Chapter 17      The Tramp Ship Agency Career

Chapter 18      Authors’ Thoughts

Except for the pilot, the first and last person to board or depart during every ship’s port call is the ship’s agent. In tramp shipping, both in dry bulk and tanker, the selection of the port agent at the load and discharge port is part of charter party negotiations.

The shipping industry is a vast and complicated business. Due to the many types of ships, and the charter parties by which they are contracted, the training of boarding agents or water clerks can be a long and complex process. Hopefully, this book will make the process easier. It will also provide ship owners and charterers with an understanding of the function of the ship agent.

This book will introduce a basic knowledge of the industry and encourage people entering shipping to further their education. The first few chapters cover basic marine transportation. The middle chapters provide insight into the legal relationships between the agent, the principal and third parties. The final chapters are gleaned from the authors’ experiences of working from the bottom up.

Each of the three authors has worked in shipping for over thirty years. They have contributed to this book their background in port agency operations, ship brokerage and maritime law.

Marygrace Collins

Marygrace was the first woman to serve as President of the Association of Ship Brokers and Agents (USA) Inc, in 2004 and 2005. She remains active in ASBA (the Association of Ship Brokers and Agents) and is the current Vice President of Bulklore Chartering, Inc. She also serves on the Executive Committee of FONASBA and was elected President in October 2012.

Kenneth Schiels

Kenneth Schiels has held roles as a boarding agent, a port manager and later an executive for a national ship agency in the USA. He is the owner of a marketing firm providing sales representation for international shipping agency firms in North America. He is on the Education Committee and the Agency Affairs Committee for ASBA (USA) Inc.

Peter Skoufalos

Peter Skoufalos is a graduate of New York University and the Boston University School of Law. In his role as partner in the New York firm, Brown, Gavalas & Fromm, he specialises in the areas of commercial and maritime law. Peter has authored several articles on maritime law and is currently Vice Chairman of the US Maritime Law Association Sub Committee on Arbitration and Mediation.


Witherbys titles are developed using scripts developed by technical experts that are peer reviewed within work groups. Typically, they seek to improve understanding of the regulations, recommendations and guidelines issued by Industry.

Witherbys staff have significant expertise in the fields of navigation and hazardous cargoes as well as in the presentation of complex subjects in a graphic and easy to understand manner.

Title: Ship Agency. A Guide to Tramp Ship Agency Practice
Edition: Third
Number of Pages: 134
Product Code: WS1392K
ISBN: ISBN 13: 978-1-85609-585-3 (9781856095853), ISBN 10: 1-85609-585-1 (1856095851)
Published Date: July 2013
Binding Format: Paperback
Book Height: 295 mm
Book Width: 210 mm
Book Spine: 10 mm
Weight: 0.30 kg

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