We find out more about the latest apprenticeship standard, Port Agent.

The latest apprenticeship standard has more relevance to the Liverpool City Region perhaps than any other region in the country. Liverpool’s docks dominated global trade by the early 19th century. When it opened in 1846, Albert Dock changed the way the docks worked forever. Its warehouses were fireproof and secure; traders could do deals before their import taxes were due; hydraulic cranes hauled heavy cargoes across the flagstones and much more. Today the Port of Liverpool is the enclosed 7.5 miles dock system that runs from Brunswick Dock to Seaforth Dock, on the east side of the River Mersey and the Birkenhead Docks between Birkenhead and Wallasey on the west side of the river. The port was extended in 2016 with an in-river container terminal that can berth two 14,000 container Post-Panamax ships.

A Port Agent works for commercial companies, representing ship operators and owners to facilitate the efficient arrival, working, and departure of their vessels in a port. Often based at a port, they are office based, but may get on-board a ship when it’s in dock. Their work makes them very good at communicating and negotiating in addition to be consummate project managers. Their mission is to make sure that the ships they are responsible for dock, load, unload, get underway and reach their next port of call the most efficient time possible.  In the logistics business time is money, so the Port Agent is an essential team member making sure that everything from permissions to crew and provisions are in place.

In addition to communicating regularly with the Captain and crew a Port Agent will also be talking to a wide range of organisations involved in port operations. These include: importers; exporters; the port authority; terminal operators; stevedores; government authorities (HMRC, Border Force, Port Health, Maritime and Coastguard Agency and Immigration); marine pilots; harbour masters; docking masters; company representatives; repairers and maritime equipment suppliers.

They are also responsible for providing advice and support to the Captain during the voyage and providing financial services. They also arrange and oversee cargo operations when in port. They will arrange crew, purchase supplies needed by the vessel, and negotiate any work needed with local port suppliers. They also help support the safety and security of vessel related operations. There are administration responsibilities too as they must submit any reports or applications needed to comply with port requirements.

This is a level three apprenticeship that takes 18months to complete. If you like the sound of being in the maritime sector and developing great communication and project management skills, this could be the apprenticeship for you.

If you would like further information on apprenticeships and how to apply for them, talk to the Apprenticeship Support by Be More Team. The team is funded by the European Social Fund & LCR Strategic Investment Fund and provides impartial information and advice on apprenticeships across the Liverpool City Region.