Who is a Ship Chandler?

In laymen’s language, a ship chandler is a person (or sometimes a group/agency) that totally deals in supplying required commodities for a shipping vessel and its crew. They work somewhat similar to the grocer, who supplies all the required food grains to households. A ship chandler supplies all the necessary and requisite commodities to a ship when at port.

The job of a ship chandler is very unique because it caters specifically to only one line of business, therefore, allowing a complete exclusivity to both parties – the seller as well as the client. By approaching a ship chandler directly, it so happens that a ship’s crew can avoid the middlemen when it comes to a business transaction and thus save a lot of money which could be used in other productive areas.

Ship Chandler

Origin and Importance of Ship Chandelling Services

Ship Chandelling services is not a new concept. Such services originated centuries back to the days when boats had a dire need of certain commodities for their long journey of months together. These requirements were necessary to keep the boat sailing safely for a long period of time.

In the very beginning of Ship Chandelling Services, a ship chandler was most probably used to provide only items such as ropes, sail cloths and other such details to the crew of that ship.

In the middle ages with the advent of global navigation, there was a high sophistication in the business of ship chandelling services on the basis of newer technologies. So, the job of ship chandlers is not new but reached its peak in the last two decades.

Nowadays the business of ship chandelling services has become an important aspect of all the ports and shipping industries around the globe.  Today a ship chandler’s role is very significant, graceful and revered as he/she not only provide essential commodities such as ropes, sail cloths, etc. but also attends to other requirements such as maintenance tools, food supplies, chemical compounds, cleaning equipment and many other items.

The government and the shipping Corporation provide the license to the eligible chandlers to give their services.

Ship Chandlers play a job of high esteem and serve multipurpose in a ship. Following are some importance of Ship Chandelling Services:

  • Ship chandlers should supply all the necessary commodities (like food, oil, lubricants, spare parts, etc.) to the ship prior to their usage.
  • Ship chandlers are not there to meet only the most essential requirement by the captain or crew, but it must cater all the minute nuances of requirements of the ship and its crew.
  • These ship chandlers not only help in supplying commodities which are required by the ship and its crew but also help the new buyer in buying ship by providing the buyer with exclusive details of the exact condition of the ship. Thus, save a buyer from experiencing a great loss in buying a damaged ship.
  • Along with supplying commodities ship chandlers are also expected to provide certain services like repair and maintenance services, cleaning arrangements, etc.
  • Ship chandlers provide their services effectively in both the cases viz. when the ship is anchored at the port and when the ship is on its voyage. More precaution should be taken for the supply in the latter case. During voyages ship may require foodstuff for the rest of the journey, fuel or gasoline for the ship, necessary spare parts or repair services; all these requirements are handled with intensive care by the Ship Chandlers.

Though of such importance, there is a limitation for ship chandlers as they are not in direct contact with Captain and its crew. There exist certain middlemen who are supposed to abridge the gap between the Chandler and the client and fix all the rates for the chandelling services. But the middleman wants his/her own remuneration so the cost of commodity or service which the client has to pay poses an extra burden of middleman’s share.

When it comes to a ship’s supplies, in the absence of a ship chandler, it so happens that there are a lot of people involved. The more the number of involved people means a lot of time for transit and consequentially a lot of delay in the transit process.

When a ship’s crew approaches a ship chandler, because of the naturalness of a ship chandler, a ship’s crew can get the necessary commodities directly from a one-person source. This point adds to the aspect of high level of discount as since the ship chandler is the only person involved in the sale, he/she can afford to procure the best deals for a ship’s crew at the right prices thus allowing him to give a high return to his client in the form of rebate or discount.

 Approaching the Ship Chandlers:

As briefed under there will be a number of benefits for the captain and crew of the vessel, if both of them approach directly to the Ship chandlers for their requirements.

  • By directly approaching the ship chandlers, the captain, as well as crew, will be able to get all the required commodities from a single supply source. Thus, can get maximum discount or best deals for essential commodities.
  • When the supply of essential commodities of ships is directly from a chandler it will save a lot of people from getting involved in this process.
  • Direct approach eradicates the problem of unwarranted delays in supply, thus saving a lot of time and huge efforts from being wasted.

In short, we can say a direct approach to Ship Chandler for requirements reduces overall cost, saves time, reduces the chances of mess and confusion and is the best approach to get the requirements meet.

This is precisely the reason why ship chandlers are held in vogue. As the shipping industry has developed and peaked over the centuries, the job responsibilities of a ship chandler have also increased. Competition has always been high in the shipping industry but in modern times there is not just competition from within a country but also internationally.

 Ship Chandelling Industry Scenario

As the Ship chandlers have to serve an exclusive purpose on board they become an essential part of the shipping industry. The requirements of ship chandlers have peaked to higher levels from the very beginning of the shipping industry. The job of ship chandler is of high esteem and reverence.

But with the technological advances in the development of shipping vessels, the requirements of a ship has grown substantially. Thus the responsibility of ship chandlers has also witnessed substantial growth. Like all other businesses the business of ship chandelling services also have intense competition. But this competition has improved the quality of services provided by ship chandlers in the last two decades. Today all the ship chandlers are trying international flavours and improved their services. Most of the ship chandlers are flexible regarding payment options; they accept payments usually in any form of currency.

This high level of competition also ensures that a well-learnt and experienced ship chandler earns a high rate of clients and thereby a huge remuneration even after providing with the necessary discount and rebate.

Requirements of Good Ship Chandlers

For starting the business of ship chandelling services one must obtain clearance from Government as well as Shipping Corporation of that country. The essential characteristics a good chandler should possess are as follows:

  • They should have extensive knowledge about the nuances of all the necessities of the ship and its crew members.
  • As Ship chandler has to serve to ship as well as its crew, so they must supply necessary commodities in time to quench the essential requirements.
  • They should have to be acquainted with long voyage requirements and should facilitate the prior supply of items such as fuel and lubricants, repairing and servicing of the vessel, food items, etc.

Generally no one other than ship suppliers or marine contractors can be more familiar with shipping requirements, so they can serve as good ship chandlers.

Though the role has digressed and transformed, a ship chandler still is one of the most important necessities when one thinks about shipping and naval vessels. Without the services of a ship chandler, a ship and its crew cannot be assured of quality commodities required in a ship. In a world of changing thoughts, actions and priorities, a ship chandler’s responsibility and duty, however, has managed to remain very constant and absolutely relevant.

In nutshell, we can say that the Ship Chandlers are an integral part of the Shipping Industry and are single entities which serve all the requirement of a shipowner, captain and crew.

Disclaimer: The authors’ views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Marine Insight. Data and charts, if used, in the article have been sourced from available information and have not been authenticated by any statutory authority. The author and Marine Insight do not claim it to be accurate nor accept any responsibility for the same. The views constitute only the opinions and do not constitute any guidelines or recommendation on any course of action to be followed by the reader.

The article or images cannot be reproduced, copied, shared or used in any form without the permission of the author and Marine Insight.

14 Comments

  1. I want to including ship Chandler on my product list. Please guide me with the requirement.
    Thanks.

  2. Sir,
    I am grateful for your insight on Chandling business.

    With recent competition in the business from international companies we find difficulties in reaching or having contacts with clients that will readily patronize us.

    I will appreciate your advice from your wealth of knowledge on how two strategize to increase our reach to prospective clients.

    Looking forward to hear from ypu.

  3. A well written article highlighting the essential functions of a ship chandler. As I only recently started studying this topic, I find the term chandler interesting, for it originally meant someone who provides the candles. An old profession, indeed.

  4. Hi I want ship chandlers licence. .so pls what is the procuder of ship chandlers licence. .and which documents require. .. thanks

  5. each time i used to read smaller posts which as well clear their motive,
    and that is also happening with this piece of writing which I
    am reading at this place.

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