Ships are busiest while in port. In addition to loading and unloading cargo, there are stores to be taken, crew changes, inspections and repairs to be made. The list is long.
Because each port has unique procedures and vendors for providing services it would be difficult to call upon a port without the help of a local ship agent. Ship Agents are hired to provide an onsite operations person with knowledge of the ins and outs of port business.
Agents may arrange pilotage; schedule tugs and line service, provide customs brokerage and order services for the ship. In short, anything a ship needs while in port is coordinated through the agent. Ships come and go 24 hours a day, and an agent works with all stakeholders involved to ensure they remain on schedule. Agency work is exciting and dynamic, offering exposure to all parts of the marine industry. The day to day contact with other members of the marine community provides ample opportunities to learn more about other careers within the industry. A general background in shipping is helpful, but not required.