22 november 2022
The role of Port Agency in the Maritime Logistics chain
The role of Port Agency in the Maritime Logistics chain

Port agency: essential role in increase efficiency

What role does a shipping agent play in the entire maritime logistics chain? An incredibly important role. The more adequately all information is recorded at the front end of the maritime logistics process, the more efficient the process can be. But there's a lot to it.

The port agent represents the shipowner or charterer of a ship during a port stay of the vessel in the port. He fulfills a crucial role in the exchange of essential information between parties around a vessel call. He is also responsible for a transparent financial settlement of the costs of the vessel call.  A system that supports the capturing of this combination of unstructured - and structured information can significantly increase efficiency in the ship's agent's work.

A vessel call involves a huge number of different parties and a mistake in the communication is quickly made. A small mistake can have enormous consequences. Fortunately, nowadays, communication between the various parties is extensively digitized. As a result, information only needs to be entered once, for instance, and a lot of data can be reused. This makes the entire process less error prone. The port agent is often the starting point of a chain of maritime companies, with the vessel call being the starting point of the logistics process. You can imagine that if it starts adequately, the whole continuation of the process also runs better (and thus more efficiently). Correct registration at the source is key. Global agency organizations need to have insight into global cargo flows and want to offer their customers insight into the status of vessels at the various ports. We are happy to show you how Ultimate Maritime Logistics supports and improves all this. 

Vessel data is the starting point

To calculate harbor costs and port services, vessel data is crucial. This forms the starting point of the subsequent port call. Without insight and accurate vessel data, it is not possible to make correct calculations and plan the right activities. You want to always have insight into up-to-date data. For this, you want your system to be integrated with third parties such as Lloyds or Vesseltracker. If your vessel database can achieve this, you will make creating a proper port call file and calculating a proforma disbursement account (PDA) easy and less error prone.

A complete port-log

The port agent forms the connection between the vessel and the port. He provides all parties involved around the vessel visit with the necessary data and documents. By centrally capturing data and a checklist can be completed, no process steps are skipped. The data is accurately stored in the system and therefore be reused again and again to prepare messages and documents. These data are supplemented during the port call with more up-to-date information. A port-log is created, and completeness is guaranteed.

Flex Maritime Logistics: one central system

Our solution provides the capabilities to build and keep a vessel database up to date. If required, we can display vessel positions on a map. The vessel data and other operational data are used to create an accurate PDA using the existing contract structure. After nomination by the shipping company or charterer, the PDA is used as the contractual basis for handling the port call. Within Ultimate Maritime Logistics, a port call file is created from the PDA. On this file, all operational registrations take place, and it is the basis from which documents are generated and e-mail messages are sent. The stakeholders on a file are captured in a mailing list that is used for sending e-mails. But also, the necessary documents such as a statement of facts or notice of readiness can easily be generated from this file.

In addition, the port agent often offers services to the vessel crew. Think, for example, of changing the crew members or providing services around them. Often, this happens in a very unstructured way, and it is searching for the current status. If the arrangements around these services are properly recorded and documented, it creates many benefits for the employees. It provides structure and transparency.  Again, it is important that the data can be reused when generating documents or messages. This gives the organization control on what is happening around a vessel call. Ultimate Maritime Logistics supports these processes and, through its integration with Microsoft D365 Finance, can also make the registrations financial. Every port call file becomes a financial project on which budgets, purchase orders, incoming invoices and revenues are recorded and posted.

Transparant financial statement FDA

The financial settlement of the port call file, the FDA, is performed from within the project. The incoming costs, revenues from the agreed PDA and prepayments can be presented transparently to multiple parties. The final settlement produces a statement on which all components are clearly displayed and, if required, the individual vouchers of the costs can be added to the statement. This makes a complete PDF file available with one single action, showing all relevant data to the customer. This statement is posted directly on the customer sub-ledger and the general ledger.

Are you interested or wondering how this could work out for your organization? Then contact us for an intake or quick scan. 

Do you have any questions?

The world of maritime logistics is complex and full of challenges. Do you have any questions and would you like to exchange views? Then get in touch with us.

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