Agent maritime

Ship’s consignee and ship’s agent

Function / Activity

Le consignataire est le mandataire salarié de l’armateur. Il agit au nom et pour le compte de son mandat, l’armateur, pour les besoins du navire et de ce qu’il transporte. Il effectue toutes les opérations que l’armateur exécuterait lui-même s’il était sur place ou auxquelles le capitaine pourrait procéder (loi du 3 janvier 1969, décret du 19 juin 1969 et article51 du décret du 31 décembre 1966) :

The consignees represent and are paid by the shipowners. They act on behalf of the shipowners for the needs of the ships and what they carry. They do all the operations that the shipowners would do if they were on-site, or those that could be carried out by the captain (act of 3 January 1969, decree of 19 June 1969 and article 51 from decree of 31 December 1966):

  • At departure, they receive the goods and issue the bill of lading; at arrival, they deliver it to the recipient
  • They provide for the regular needs of the ship, prepare the stop, assist the ship during the stop, manage every problem congruent with the stop
  • They manage the holders or multimodal transportation units of goods (containers, highway trailers, low-bed trailers…) on behalf of their shipowner
  • They receive all judicial or extra-judicial acts intended for the shipowner that the captain is entitled to receive
  • They perform any other task given by the shipowner

The consignees can also be ship’s agents. In this role – among other things and in their assigned area – they are in charge of negotiation and conclusion of contracts, finance management, search for freight, establishment of trade policy, contact with customers and relationship with maritime authorities. The extent of their representational power is determined by the mandate agreement signed by the shipowner (port agents, general agents, etc.). Notably, they must face an increase of obligations concerning security and safety, at the request of national authorities and captaincies.


Introduction to the profession in Marseille-Fos

There are approximately 60 “polymath” and “included” ship’s consignees and ship’s agents in the port community. They employ around 800 people. Some of them may be specialised in one kind of transportation (bulk carriers, cruises, etc.), others can belong to national or international networks.


Future development of the profession

Since the competition between different ports of a same geographic area and between maritime lines is growing, since many shipowners commingle their naval resources, since freight prices keep on falling, the profession had to reorganise and restructure itself in order to save on costs. Furthermore the shipowners, whose number is growing, decided to formally settle in the ports they serve.