A vessel agent represents the interests of a ship owner or cargo owner at a given port. For example, services might include arranging a vessel's entry into a port or arranging other necessary details while the while the vessel remains in the port.
Cargo owners can benefits from having a ship's agent act as a trusted partner in port. Such an approach speeds up the process of placing ships under cargo operations and also increases visibility of port time accounting. Vessel agents work closely with AsstrA's Port Forwarding Department. Speed and quality of cargo handling is optimized as the goods and the vessel remain "in one hand."
Ships’ agents are typically hired by shipowners in other countries to represent the shipowners’ interests before local port authorities. A ship’s agent can pay port authority vessel call fees in the local currency, assist with pilotage to the port, and arrange tug assistance for mooring operations to the berth.
In 2021, the AsstrA Group's General Cargo Department provides vessel agency services at ports in Northwestern Russia. Plans for the near future include extending the service to Southern Russia in ports around Krasnodar: Novorossiysk, Caucasus, Tuapse, Temryuk, and Azov.
AsstrA clients regularly opt for agency services at the ports of St. Petersburg, Ust-Luga, Primorsk, Vyborg, Vysotsk, and Kaliningrad. In addition to handling relations with port authorities on behalf of ship owners, vessel agents help arrange crew changes, bunkering and towing, and ship chandlering related to provisions and spare parts. Port fees, mooring fees, and other similar charges are also paid directly on the shipowner’s behalf.
As shipowners cover vessel agent fees, cargo owners benefit from the arrangement at no charge. AsstrA clients receive comprehensive consulting, documentation, and service support for the shipment of cargo through ports. AsstrA employs ship agents with 10 years of experience who are ready to help with and advise on maritime transportation and documentation.
While a ship is in port, AsstrA operational staff interact with various port organizations, including:
- port authorities,
- tug companies,
- pilotage service providers,
- customs and border authorities,
- owners of berthing and other port infrastructure.
“AsstrA clients taking advantage of our vessel agency and freight forwarding services know their cargo is one set of good hands when being shipped by sea. This way, speed and quality is assured when cargo is being processed through ports," comments Oleg Sysolyatin, Head of General Cargo at AsstrA.