Other name

  • Ship keeper


The shipping agent, commissioned by the shipowner, carries out all the administrative, technical and commercial operations of the ship during its port call. Its mission will be to:

  • negotiate loading and unloading with the material handlers
  • supervise the reception and delivery of goods
  • perform the administrative formalities (documents for export, title deeds, declaration to the customs)
  • search, if necessary, for new customers to increase the volume of cargo
  • allocate ground handling expenses between freight forwarder, shipper and shipowner
  • refuel the ship with water and fuel
  • organize the medical check-up of the crew
  • maintain the boat


The shipping agent usually works in a shipping agency or consignment company. This trade is practiced in an office near the port, to be able to go quickly to the ship. During his day, he has many contacts with different providers (customs, insurers, chambers of commerce, handlers …). His working hours are modeled on those of departures and arrivals of ships: he must be very available, especially on weekends and holidays.

The shipping agent usually does not have a remuneration commensurate with the responsibilities he assumes nor the stress he has to manage: the starting salary is close to the SMIC. After several years of experience, he can hope to earn between 23 and 28 000 euros annually.


It is important that the shipping agent has a good foundation in:

  • transport techniques
  • maritime law
  • customs procedures
  • litigation
  • English
  • transport software

The consignee will also appreciate certain qualities such as:

  • its dynamism and responsiveness
  • his sense of organization
  • its rigor
  • his relational abilities