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The term "agent" or "shipping agent" could be defined as follows:

The Shipping Agent is a representative, who in a local/foreign port of call, looks after theowner's interests, in the latter's name and at his expense

The shipping agent or for brevity's sake the agent, is thus in a way the trusted representative of the owner in a certain
harbor/airport or city. He is allowed to act in the owner's name with regard to the rights and duties of the owner towards
third parties.

The competencies as well as the remuneration of the agent may be explicitly entered into a contract which has been
concluded between himself and the owner; this practice is very current in the liner trade. In the tramping, the agent
usually has a tacit competency to act in the owner's name. In the tramping there is thus almost never a written contract
between the agent and the owner. In any case, the owner remains legally liable for the acts taken by the agent in the
frame of the agency.

The duties of a shipping agent are very variable and depend mainly on the sort of service he has to render; liner traffic
or tamp trade. Some duties will be the same for both services such as the duties with regard to the agency or dispatch of
the vessel; other duties will be typical to the liner trade such ensuring there is enough cargo in the port of call
(this is called acquisition).

Because of the great diversity of his duties, the shipping agent, within the frame of his competence, often fulfils the tasks
of other intermediaries such as chartering brokers (or cargo brokers), booking agents, etc.

From the foregoing we can deduce that there are several categories of shipping agents such as the "port agent", the
"liner agent", the "Freight Forwarder" "Cargo Agent" and the "own agency"

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