Access to Ports & Terminals by Ship Suppliers – the facts

October 5, 2015

Recently an ISSA Member experienced difficulty accessing a customer’s vessel in Port to deliver supplies.

This has highlighted a problem that many Members have experienced. However, despite what you may hear to the contrary, the rules concerning access to Ports, Terminals & Vessel by ship suppliers are very clear.

It was felt these should be repeated and relayed to member companies in case of difficulties.

In the recent case the Port Operator stated that supplies to the ship could and should be handled by the ship’s agent.

We immediately consulted the Secretary-General of the Federation of National Associations of Ship Brokers and Agents (FONASBA) Mr Jonathan Williams on the matter and he confirmed to us that whilst the ship’s agent will be aware of the vessel’s supply arrangements these will have been arranged in advance by the vessel, the manager or the owner directly with the ship supplier according to their usual practice and contractual arrangements.

In addition ship supply is specifically mentioned in the ISPS Code as being a bona fide industry sector that is allowed full access to ports and terminals whilst taking full note of any local security regulations over and above ISPS present in a port or terminal. You will recall ISSA has a specific publication that sets out these rights and obligations, matching them to the appropriate sections of the ISPS Code.

Finally Members should note that Ship Supply has its own designated United Nations Category Number: 5190. The following web link to the UN Page confirms this:

This UN category number – hard fought for by ISSA in the 1980s – legitimises our industry as nothing else can do. It gives us rights and obligations and in no way means that ships agents – or anyone else for that matter – have any command or influence over ship suppliers.

Thus there is no legal basis by which a Port Operator can impose a blanket ban on ship suppliers accessing ships berthed in their Port.

Obviously, as mentioned earlier, ship suppliers (like everyone else) have to obey the rules and regulations pertaining to a port/terminal.

Should any Member experience any difficulties accessing a Port to supply a vessel they are cordially invited to contact the ISSA Secretariat as soon as possible so we can assist in rectifying the situation –