The sole purpose of merchant shipping is the carriage of cargo, liquid, solid, passengers, from the place that it was mined, grown or manufactured, to the place that it is required.

Commerce of shipping

Maritime blog

Commerce of shipping
The sole purpose of merchant shipping is the carriage of cargo, liquid, solid, passengers, from the place that it was mined, grown or manufactured, to the place that it is required. Normally the owner of the cargo does not own transport and therefore he needs to enlist the services of a company that would be willing to carry the cargo for him.
The transport can be by road, rail or air. However, the vast bulk of cargo carried internationally is by sea, and thus by ship.
Though modern forms of ships do allow a simultaneous combination of land and sea transport, and regulations have been drawn up to provide guide lines in this area.

When a cargo owning company requires the assistance of a cargo carrying company some form of understanding needs to be mutually agreed. The agreement will depend on the type of trade that the shipowner is involved in.

The Carrier
A carrier is one who agrees to carry, on a business basis, goods or persons from one place to another. The law recognises two kinds of carrier: common carriers; and private carriers.
Common Carriers
-Common carriers advertise themselves as being ready to carry goods or passengers, within their usual trading area, for anyone wanting to employ their services.
- Are subject to the common law obligations.
- Are strictly liable for any loss of or damage to the goods they carry, effectively making the carrier the insurer of the goods whilst in his care.
No shipping company nowadays would knowingly operate as a common carrier, the obligations are too onerous. However, the law of the common carrier is the basis on which modern law is built and in the event of a contract of carriage being breached, and thus being inoperable, the common law obligations of the common carrier provide the safety net into which the wronged person can pursue his case and find satisfaction.
Private carriers
- Are also subject to the common law obligations.
- Make a special contract with their customers excluding or restricting their strict liability, i.e. contracting out of the common law obligations by stating their special terms of carriage.
The terms under which a private carrier contracts out of his common law obligations must be clearly stated if they are to protect him in law. (Most carriers print their terms on the bill of lading or other contract of carriage documents.
If a court holds that his contract terms were unreasonable or unfair, a private carrier may find himself reverting to the position of a common carrier.
As a private carrier a carrier becomes a bailee of the goods carried. As such he is only liable for damage or the consequences of delay occurring through his negligence.
Most shipowners make themselves private carriers. This category of carrier does not apply to the major oil companies, who operate vessels and own the cargo. As most of these companies actually operate a subsidiary system and call the shipping division another company.
Common law obligations of carriers All carriers of goods or passengers by sea (both common and private) are subject to the common law obligations, which are: - The carrier must provide a vessel which is seaworthy for the purpose of the contract at the time it is made. - The carrier‟s vessel must not deviate from the contract route or usual rout unjustifiably. - The carrier must ensure his vessel will be ready to load the cargo and proceed on the voyage with reasonable despatch.

Ship Managers

Where the owner of a vessel does not want to operate his own vessel he can contract the service of an organisation to do it for him. The ship manager provides this independent service.

Shipping Industry
There are many groups and organisations working to facilitate the movement of cargo and to provide assistance, guidance and control to the shipowner or ship manager. These groups form an international industry which includes technical, personnel and commercial aspects, this book will look at the business or commercial side of the shipping industry.
However, many people involved in the shipping industry see only one small area of a larger picture. In fact the shipping industry is like an iceberg, with most of its activities hidden from view.
The commercial aspects of ship operations cover the entire business side of ship acquisition and management. Both the visible and hidden areas are involved, from marketing, where options will have to be identified and evaluated, to financing and purchasing the ship, through to obtaining, safe care and delivery of a cargo, taking account of the constraints imposed by Flag and Port States, insurers and classification and other relevant organisations.
The business of operating a ship can be divided into three areas
-ship
-cargo
-maritime trade
However, the areas do easily overlap and one aspect of ship operations cannot be viewed in isolation from the other two.
Indeed it is very difficult to view the commercial aspects of ship operations in isolation from the technical aspects of ship operations, such as, ship‟s design, maintenance, repairs and technology.
A ship‟s commercial programme must be built around its technical limitations.
A shipowning company or a shipmanagement company requires a ship to operate. It is arguable how the company acquires that ship, but it must have some degree of control over its itinerary and operation, that is, its voyage, manning and safety.
The reason for requiring a ship is usually connected to the movement of cargo. A manufacturer, exporter or trader needs to move a commodity, case or some other merchantable property between two places that are separated by sea.
He must decide on the optimum method of transportation and expedite it by obtaining the services of a ship. The cargo will be loaded at a port or terminal, and discharged at another. The way it is carried depends on the attitudes of the two port States, and the shipper and shipowner should be aware of the possible areas of maritime trade that are open to criminal abuse.

Ship operations can be divided up into three main steps  Marketing of Service  Acquisition of Ship  Control of Operation

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