Who is a Shipping Agent?

A shipping agent is a person who deals with the transactions of a ship in every port that the ship visits or docks. In simple terms, it is a shipping agent who with a local expert acts as a representative of the owner of the ship and carries out all essential duties and obligations required by the crew of the ship.

It is the ship agent who is entrusted with taking care of every need and requirement of the crew like getting local currency, getting the mail, any repairmen in case the ship requires major repairing, refilling the food and water containers and many other such duties.

Also along with the above mentioned duties it is also a shipping agent’s responsibility that dues are paid and discharged especially when it comes to customs. The payment of the dues can also extend to those working on the ship on a contract basis and whose contract might have come to end after reaching that particular port. Keeping all these details in mind, a shipping agent cannot allow any scope of neglecting his duty.

Shipping Agent
Credits: Corepics/depositphotos.com

Ship owners can allow themselves to be free of all the details that are required to be processed each and every time a ship makes a port because of the presence of shipping agents. In the absence of shipping agents, a ship owner will have to be the one to rush from one port to another, across numerous countries trying to solve every problem and fit-in every new up-gradation to the ship.

Thus the career of a shipping agent is quite trendy as it allows him to interact with shipping companies and owners from not just his native country but from all over the world. Since a ship agent is a local person, it enables him to achieve the trust of a ship owner along with the trust of the crew of the ship. This in turn adds to him getting exposure because by this interaction, he/she will be able to understand and learn what the actual needs of the crew are. This understanding of his clients’ necessities and supplying of the same, thus enables a ship agent to gain goodwill and secure more clientele for himself.

Another major thing that needs to be noted about the role and scope of shipping agents is that, it is a ship agent who is responsible for the ship’s necessary papers when it comes to a port for docking. Adding this to the long line of services mentioned above, it is quite clear that the role of a shipping agent is not something that can be taken lightly.

This is what the USP of a shipping agent is. He/she has the ability to offer far more than what a shipping company or a ship owner could ask or anticipate, thus making the profession a unique and singular one. In today’s contemporary times where the shipping industry has managed to develop and stay on par with the times, it is the shipping agent who provides the incentive for it to stay alive and flourishing.


  1. Dear sir,

    this is ASI shipping agency company looking for shipping agency expert to help in agency field and growing business. any body can guarantee the developing this section of company we invite him/her to give us his/her resume.

    Best Regards
    Ali Salehi

  2. i am interest in been a shipping agent, so please allow me to study with the marine online.

  3. i am working in import export industry for 5 years and i Want to be a shipping agent of a shipping co in india.How can i get this,pls advice.

    Waiting anxiously for yr reply.

  4. i am interest in been a shipping agent, WHERE CAN I APPLY THAT JOB BECAUSE I PREFER TO GET MANY DUTIES ABOUT THAT

  5. Shipping agents can also be women you even use a picture of a woman .. yet you refer to shipping agent as “He” in most of the article.. easy to change this to “they” or keen …about time the writing about maritime industry take into account that although still male dominated industry there are women in all roles. About time to make the language a little more gender neutral.. be great to see marine insight be more aware of their female readers and colleagues.

  6. @Amy,

    Totally agree with you. We have made the changes you suggested. Thank you for pointing it out.

  7. Hi ,
    I would like to become a shopping agent. If any one can guide me that will be appreciated.

  8. @Rajeswari: You can call send it to the company he is working with. Whenever there is a crew change or an official visit to the ship, they will take along your parcel. You can also ask them the vessel schedule so that you can send the parcel to the local office of the country the ship will be visiting, however, this method will cost you more money.

  9. Thanks for explaining that a shipping agent acts as a representative of the owner of the ship so that things will go much smoother. I can see why it would be important to have a shipping agent to keep you sane. You probably want to hire someone with your best interests at heart, so it’s best to do research before you choose one.

  10. Is it needed to do any specialized course for becoming a vessel agent, as iam having of three years of port operation experience and three years of freight forwarder experience. please suggest me

  11. Please, this is really important..
    i want to be a ship agent with Hyundia at south korea, any shipbuilding company or any local ship owner….
    1. how can i start
    2. how can i reach out to these persons….

  12. yes the shipping knowledge is very interesting i feel like mytime has not been wasted thank you for giving us ideas on marine insurance.

  13. Who is a shipping Agent? Peter is a Shipping Agent!
    Lucky Google is American other wise you would not rank.
    What is a shipping Agent? A shipping agent is ………….

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