What are Port Services: Overview of Types

The basis of a well-developed business strategy for the trading business is logistics planning. Sometimes you need to make an effort to figure out complex cargo shipping operations.

In the examples, let's review what services the port provides to you and on what occasions. Today, you will get an answer to the question of why a modern supply chain cannot do without well-established port services.

Introduce port services

Ports provide modernized cargo handling services and navigational technical assistance. And with questions about logistics operations, you can turn to a port operator to handle your cargo.

Receiving, loading/unloading, port-to-port transportation, and even additional shipment of products are also common cargo transportation services.

All the services mentioned above and others below are the core of logistics operations. The world's largest ports and port terminals provide a full scope of these services, as DP World does with 80+ terminals in 31 countries worldwide. As SeaRates is part of the DP World network, you can contact us on this page to get your shipments and entire logistics operations coordinated and provided on an advanced level.

Anchorage services are provided in ports to ensure the safety of vessels. Floating signals, buoys, and pilotage are needed to avoid accidents and incidents related to vessel movement.

What is pilotage?

Pilotage is provided to assist the vessel in getting to the unloading/loading operations on time and avoiding accidents:

  • The pilot goes to the vessel with the master and, based on the specifics and peculiarities of the port and the port entrance, directs the vessel to the allocated berth in the safest way;
  • Subsequently, the pilot agrees with the vessel's master on the necessity and number of tugs and orders mooring workers.

While the vessel is preparing to set sail, it is the pilot's duty to board the vessel for further piloting from the berth.

Also, in the case of a dangerous situation near the port, a pilot is provided to the vessel to guide it to a safe area.

Pilot station

A pilot is an experienced sea captain with a license that allows him to steer any vessel while moving from the port entrance to the berth. The specificity of the established pilotage process is that the pilot station should be located in a place where the view of the entire port area and roads opens up. This strategic location is the first point that your vessel's master should contact to report the ETA of the event. Then the pilot gives permission to proceed to a specific free berth and begins preparations.

The pilotage station is included in the marine charts, which means if the berth is not yet free, the time of arrival at the pilot station is recorded in the ship's log book. And the time of arrival at the pilotage station is considered to be the actual "arrival" for voyage-charter vessels of general cargo (tramp vessels), in accordance with the terms specified in the charter agreement.

When the vessel's master receives the cargo documents after the loading and unloading operations are completed, the pilot station is notified of the departure time at the same time.

Is towing required?

Towing services ensure safe sailing. This is especially true if the vessels provided are tugboats, which can be equipped with fire extinguishing systems, contain the necessary tools for repairing the vessel's engine, etc. Such an advanced shipping service will ensure the efficient and fast movement of the vessel.

Towing can be mandatory or optional and is available in all major ports around the world. This service is not among the cheapest, but it is very common and sometimes a necessity. Here, you may ask for the assistance of skilled logistics specialists to find the best freight cost for your entire shipment, taking into account all additional fees.

In some ports, you may face an unpredictable towing fee even if you don't use it. So it's worthwhile to take an experienced logistics planning approach.

How to figure out if towing is mandatory?

Some waterways must be towed if your cargo is being transported by a large vessel that is difficult to turn around at the right time. For the same reason, the purpose of providing towed services is in narrow channels and ports where the vessel has limited maneuverability.

Weather conditions during berthing or sailing or unforeseen dangerous situations near the port also serve as a reason for the master to apply for towing services (where it is not mandatory in ports).

An alternative to towing

In an effort to save money on services, modern vessels are equipped with bow and stern thrusters. These devices are electrically driven screws that allow the vessel's bow to move left or right. Such devices are designed for autonomous maneuvering in port waters, except in emergency situations.

The role of mooring and unmooring

Mooring men are port staff (usually a group of three) who help to secure the mooring ropes to the bollards lowered by the vessel's crew.

Mooring is a necessary service after the arrival of a cargo vessel. There are some nuances to the process:

  • The Harbor Master determines which bollards to attach the mooring ropes to.
  • Tugboats, meanwhile, push or pull the vessel from the sea side (depending on the wind direction) after the ropes are attached to the capstans, which pull the vessel to the berth. This ensures smooth berthing.

During sailing, the pilot is in charge of the unmooring process; he determines the mandatory sequence in which the bollards of the vessel's cables are unfastened.

In Conclusion

To improve the safety and efficiency of vessel movement management, ports provide carriers with advanced services. Getting the best out of each is a matter of expertise. The cost of an entire logistics company, comprehensive preparation, and detailed monitoring of shipments can be optimized and simplified with expert help from the SeaRates team.

Get in touch with us at logistics@searates.com for assistance with any of your shipping needs.

Sophia Shkuro is a content manager from Dnipro, Ukraine. Believes that the more complex a thing is, the easier it should be to write about it. Dreams of a future vacation by the sea.