Commercial Operations & Post Fixtures
The role of an operator in a shipping company is to provide support, coordination, communication, administration, customer service and backup.
Shipping operations jobs tend to be responsible for commercial vessel operations, compliance with contractual and company standards, laytime and demurrage.
Roles in an operations job family can also include shipbroking post-fixture staff, cargo operations, cargo flow and ship planner roles.
The activities of a shipping operations department typically include instructions to vessels, coordinating cargo and bunker stowage with vessels, liaison with owners, charterers, terminals or agents, documentation, arranging and monitoring bunker supplies, ensuring efficient and safe port turnaround, payments and invoicing, disputes and insurance claims, voyage schedules and preparation, voyage monitoring (speed & consumption), and demurrage.
Example job descriptions
This role requires overall responsibility for ensuring company compliance with contractual and company standards, customer service, and charter party performance. This person would be the manager of all of the operations staff. Some companies do not have this role and their operations staff will instead work as part of the marine or technical departments or generally within a ship or ‘cell’ team.
Post Fixture Operator
This role ensures that all charter parties are fulfilled to the charterers’ satisfaction and the company’s requirements. The objective is to maintain customer loyalty and maximise revenues by the timely and efficient collection of monies (including charter hire payments, freights and other forms of revenues such as demurrage) whilst minimizing charter party warranty and insurance claims.
This role involves preparing and finalising laytime calculations, handling laytime claims and being a key point of contact for brokers, charterers, and owners.
Example job titles
Cargo Superintendent, Charterparty Administrator, Commercial Operations, Demurrage Claims, Demurrage Manager, Laytime Manager, Operations Manager, Post Fixture Operator, Port Captain, Ship Planner, Vessel Operator, Voyage Manager.
Where can I work as an operator?
- Charterers or traders
- Shipping funds
Major locations include Connecticut (USA), Copenhagen (Denmark), Dubai (UAE), Hong Kong, Houston (USA), London (UK), Mumbai (India), Oslo (Norway) and Singapore.
Key skills and experience
- Organisation skills, ability to problem solve, a calm approach, and persistence. Nowadays, most junior recruits are graduates, often with shipping degrees
- Some roles may require seafaring experience although many don’t. For the more senior operations roles and technical operations roles companies may require the candidate to have sailed to the rank of master or chief officer.
- In some cases, often for operations jobs in ro-ro’s, car carriers, and containers the operations jobs start to look a little more like port captain roles.