The operations department in a ship owning company is responsible for the day-to-day management of the company's vessels and ensuring their safe and efficient operation. They are mainly responsible for the voyage management of a vessel after she has been fixed for a voyage or timecharter by the chartering department. Here are some of the key responsibilities of the operations department:
Coordinating with various stakeholders: The operations department acts as the main coordinator between the ship owners, the company's departments, the vessels under management, the charterers, and all third parties involved with the ships(ship agents, ship-chandlers, bunkering suppliers, shippers, receivers, stevedores, etc.)
Post-fixture support: The operations department provides post-fixture support to the vessels, which includes issuing voyage instructions, ensuring that the ships perform as per the charterparty agreements, informing stakeholders about the progress of the vessel, and ensuring the safe and efficient carriage and delivery of cargoes.
Supervising financial aspects: The department is responsible for supervising the disbursement of all funds necessary to run the ships, arranging for freight/hire/demurrage collection from charterers, and payments for the provision of the vessels with bunkers.
Bunker purchasing: The operators are responsible for arranging the most practical and economical port to bunker the vessel, and for negotiating the best possible price from the bunker suppliers.
Cargo handling and port activities: The operations department nominates the ship agent in each port, and supervises actions such as cargo handling, port activities, pilotage, towage, wharfage, dockage, canal transits, conveying of cargoes, and loading and discharging of vessels.
Voyage Documentation: They handle the preparation and management of voyage documentation, such as bills of lading, port documentation, and other required paperwork.
Voyage performance monitoring: The operators monitor the vessel's performance compared to the voyage estimation, and provide feedback to the chartering department as to the accuracy of their estimates.
The operations department plays a criticalrole in the efficient and safe operation of a ship owning company's fleet. Itis essential for maintaining the company's reputation, ensuring regulatorycompliance, and optimizing operational costs.