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Inland waterways transport organizer

Catégories associées : Goods: careers, Maritime: careers

In a port such as Le Havre, goods come and go aboard ships. To forward them to the port or to clients in France, inland waterways are more and more favored.

In Le Havre, several operators are specialized in the transport of goods by barge: more and more of these convoys full of containers or bulk (building material, raw materials or waste) can be seen running down canals, the Seine river and anchor in port terminals. Very precise logistics, requiring a high level of organizational skills, hide behind each of these barges.

Regardless of the goods handled, one must indeed anticipate all the steps that will take those goods to the barge but also to their destination: either marine ships if they are exported or a river port (and beyond that a client) if it came by sea.

Relations and contact with bargemen or clients is common in the profession of inland waterways transport organizer: order taking, receipt of goods, transshipment operations monitoring, barge booking, lock schedules checks, etc. All these operations must allow the client to receive his goods as fast as possible and if needs be while managing and coordinating other forwarding means such as road transport.

The Grenelle environmental summit defined that, by 2020, 20% of goods carried in France would have to be transported by other means than by road. In such a prospect inland waterways have an important role to play. In Le Havre, important investments have currently been made to meet these requirements, especially thanks to the creation of a multimodal terminal.

With ever more goods on the river and operators to handle them, employment prospects are positive for those who can boast the right profile. Bachelor degree holders in transport and logistics or inland waterways specialists (ISNI BTS) are welcome.

In Le Havre, close to 400 directs jobs are related to inland waterways and this fast-developing profession will continue to recruit.


Sébastien, an inland waterways operations agent for a maritime company graduated from Institut supérieur de la navigation intérieure (ISNI) in Elbeuf.

After working for five months as an intern (inland waterways crew on a pusher boat along the Seine River) he graduated with a BTS (bachelor degree). “I chose a profession that has different aspects thanks to daily contact and which allows to travel down the Seine river. Thanks to this trade I developed autonomy, thoroughness and good communicational and organizational skills”.

Source: multiple Internet sources, specialized literature, testimonials (Pratic-Export, Pôle-emploi cards, Wikipedia, Onisep, CNRTL, Umep à la Page…)

Marine insurer

Catégories associées : Goods: careers, Maritime: careers

Working in perfect unison with global trade stakeholders, insurers and brokers are true specialists. As trusted partners they propose custom made insurance products for ever-evolving specific professions.

The world of transport and logistics mobilizes impressive means and invests massive capital: just think about the enormous amount of goods carried by road, sea, inland waterways or by plane across the world; but also consider the amount of ships, vehicles, warehouses necessary to their transit and to make them available in the most suitable manner.

From the initial cover of maritime risk in which they specialized, Le Havre insurers and marine insurance brokers now offer their expertise to the whole supply chain: shipowners, road or waterways haulers, brokers, import and export stakeholders today represent many different profiles intervening at any level of a chain which itself proves international.

A very active and powerful center developed in Le Havre with the expertise of insuring logistics professions: a great global company; 5 specialized brokers also acting for local, national or global clients and about fifty other agents make Le Havre a stronghold of marine insurance.

In a world in which exchanges are more and more subject to contracts, legal responsibility is very subtly segmented; the role of insurers and brokers has become essential for logistics operators whose field of action is multifaceted (i.e. wider and wider): consulting and customer support to assist continuing growth have now become part of the insurers’ and brokers’ mission.

Insurers, for the subscription of more and more specific and accurate products that meet custom made requirements and ever changing issues, use the help of technical sales agents who know their customers’ professions well. Claims managers are legally trained. Brokers also use the help of lawyers specialized in transport law (a special course is taught at Le Havre University) as well as transport specialists: continuing education is an asset. Other bachelor profiles (always with a solid transport law background) or sales agents are also wanted. These professions represent close to 500 direct jobs in Le Havre and experience solid growth.

Source: multiple Internet sources, specialized literature, testimonials (Pratic-Export, Pôle-emploi cards, Wikipedia, Onisep, CNRTL, Umep à la Page…)

Customs broker

Catégories associées : Goods: careers, Maritime: careers

This term replaced the term ship broker when the latter saw their privilege disappear under European Law.

Customs brokers are service providers representing the shipping agent. They stand in for foreign captains with authorities, especially Customs.

The mission of Customs brokers encompasses two main functions:

  • One, administrative, takes them to calculate and pay harbor dues for ships. They are collected from shipping agents and paid to Customs authorities. They also translate the manifest.
  • The other, related to business, takes them to act as intermediaries between ship and other naval equipment buyers and sellers.

This professional is in a relationship with:

  • Shipowners who are the “clients of his clients”.
  • Shipping agents who are their direct clients.
  • Port authorities in which they officiate.
  • Customs authorities, since the Customs broker perceives harbor dues and is responsible for their collection after a deposit was agreed.

Source: multiple Internet sources, specialized literature, testimonials (Pratic-Export, Pôle-emploi cards, Wikipedia, Onisep, CNRTL, Umep à la Page…)

Marine surveyor (Expert maritime)

Catégories associées : Goods: careers, Maritime: careers

The Napoleonic code established the corps of commissaires d’avarie (damage commissioners, surveyors).

They were the first marine surveyors in known history and were in reality public administrators in charge of the coordination and the planning of sailing boats maintenance after they were damaged at sea or during a military campaign.

Before World War 2 the profession of marine surveyor did not really exist as such.  Marine surveyors were then marine engineers for what was related to commerce and naval architects for what was related to leisure boating but also retired deck officers or mechanics.

In the 1950s insurance companies started publishing lists of experts which they assigned according to strictly economic criteria. In the 1960s and 70s the profession changed and diversified.

Today surveyors are technicians who show great knowledge of all marine technologies they acquired thanks to technical education and experience. All the necessary skills required for this activity may be acquired by self-teaching or through engineering education or marine colleges.

About 100 marine surveyors are registered in France in the French yachting directory (Annuaire du nautisme) according to the FIEM (Fédération internationale des experts et conseils maritimes – International Marine Accredited Surveyors Association) which was created in 1983.

Marine surveyors can work for any client in the maritime world: professionals, insurers, institutions, etc.

They may, when working with insurers, advise conservation measures, identify damaged properties, determine the origin of damages, file a liability claim, describe damages, calculate their cost, evaluate wear rates and the coming obsolescence of a ship, etc.

On an administrative level, surveyors may work with Customs authorities to determine, for instance, the value of a ship which is being imported or work with tax services to determine the value of a ship which is included in inherited assets or also work with civil or trade courts for legal expertise.

When working with professionals they may be hired by resellers to inspect ships for sale in order to assess their state, determine the different repairs to perform or by shipyards to monitor works, take note of failures, etc.

They may also come to perform, for cross-examination, damage checks on ships, goods, port equipment, etc.

Marine surveyors may perform their job within the framework of a liberal profession or as employees but may also work for ship classification companies. Marine surveyors, like any other expert, are technicians but are not legally trained.

Source: multiple Internet sources, specialized literature, testimonials (Pratic-Export, Pôle-emploi cards, Wikipedia, Onisep, CNRTL, Umep à la Page…)

Transport organizer

Catégories associées : Goods: careers, Maritime: careers

The term “transport organizer” relates to several professions:

  • Consolidators group together goods coming from different shippers in order to fill containers or trucks as well as possible. Consolidators have a warehouse with platforms, handling equipment and staff.
  • Charterers make the needs of clients meet common carrier solutions in exchange for a chartering fee. They bear the transport expenses which they negotiate (sales and purchase) but do not own any warehouse, handling equipment nor do they employ any staff. They have to organize transportation by expediting the carrying vehicle to the shipper to organize a direct delivery to the consignee. They must deal with heavy batches: it used to be considered that chartered batches should at least weigh three tons. Today charterers deal with batches of 1 ton or more.
  • Town office operators deal with parcels or LTL shipments and deliver them separately to carriers or other brokers.  They do not take care of transport but only of the transmission to the carrier or to the client depending on whether they ship or receive goods.
  • International transport organizers are also often called forwarders. They are, in reality, freight forwarders and customs brokers who manage the multimodal logistical chain from the shipper to the consignee, sometimes at the other end of the world. They act on behalf of the client regarding transport, insurance, Customs clearance, modal choice, etc. They have an extensive network of correspondents abroad.

Source: multiple Internet sources, specialized literature, testimonials (Pratic-Export, Pôle-emploi cards, Wikipedia, Onisep, CNRTL, Umep à la Page…)


Customs clearance agent

Catégories associées : Goods: careers, Maritime: careers

As the name suggests, Customs clearance agents are in charge of the Customs clearance of goods (import and export). They act as intermediaries between the client’s transit and accounting departments and Customs authorities.

They must be authorized by French Customs (mandate).

They state the amount of duties and taxes and forward all required information about the goods to Customs authorities. They check the regulatory compliance of the documents provided by the client, sign the file once processed and forward it to the Customs authorities.

In some cases, especially when Customs require it, agents control goods themselves.

Customs clearance agents hold a bachelor degree with a transport and logistics specialization at a minimum and shall prove thorough, organized and show determination and diplomacy. They shall also be able to handle stress well. A very good command of a foreign language, English most of the time, is mandatory. Customs clearance agents shall know  Customs regulations and transit techniques (import and export) perfectly well.

Source: multiple Internet sources, specialized literature, testimonials (Pratic-Export, Pôle-emploi cards, Wikipedia, Onisep, CNRTL, Umep à la Page…)

Import/export employee

Catégories associées : Goods: careers, Maritime: careers

The duty of import/export employees is to import and export goods on behalf of a client, to comply with contracts agreed, regulations and processes in force.

Depending on the type of goods entrusted by the client they must search and select the different service providers involved, on their own or in collaboration with a sales department.

They must keep up to date with the progress of the transport, provide information to the chain stakeholders and issue invoices. These employees, generally holding a bachelor degree in transport, transport and logistics or International business, must show good interpersonal and organizational skills, thoroughness and readiness. They must master computer technologies.

They may work for shipowners, maritime agents, freight forwarders or logistics providers.

Source: multiple Internet sources, specialized literature, testimonials (Pratic-Export, Pôle-emploi cards, Wikipedia, Onisep, CNRTL, Umep à la Page…)

The shipper

Catégories associées : Goods: careers

The shipper is the owner of the cargo of a ship or a part of it.

The shipper can be the importer (the goods arrive on the territory) or the exporter (the goods leave the territory) according to the International commercial terms.

Sources : multiples sources internet, ouvrages spécialises, témoignages (Pratic-Export,  fiches Pôle-emploi, Wikipédia, Onisep, CNRTL,  Umep à la Page…)

Freight forwarder

Catégories associées : Goods: careers

Freight forwarders receive goods and forward them in the best possible way whatever their destination and the mode of transport chosen.

When goods are ready to be used they still need to be forwarded to the client. This is when freight forwarders, as the true organizers of international transport they are, step in. They are specialized in all matters related to transport and customs formalities. They also manage most of the journey products make from their place of production to their place of consumption. They are in charge of the organization of transport from factory to store. They act under their own responsibility and in their name and have the freedom to choose how the goods will be forwarded to their delivery point.

Without forwarders there would be total chaos: they are the ones who book transport companies (by road, sea, inland waterways and sometimes air) so that goods can reach their destination in the time frame and at the cost chosen by the client.

Considered by many companies as trustworthy men and women in all situations, freight forwarders specialize sometimes according to the type of flow or goods (country, continent) or by product (industrial, mainstream, bulk, etc.). In any case the same thoroughness is expected from them, whether their clients be multinationals or very small companies.

Precision and relation

To be a good freight forwarder one must know all the procedures related to international transport and know how to maintain a very good relational network, whether it be with clients or suppliers who take physical transport of good in charge. In this regard freight forwarders may be compared to architects.

Freight forwarders supervise the transport chain up to delivery, that is to say that they may act both upstream and downstream in transport operations, ensuring storage and management of stock, packaging and delivery of goods thanks to tracing and tracking tools which allow them to know at all times where the goods they were entrusted with are located and to organize, depending on the case, alternate routes and keep their client informed.

Accurate in the following up of each case (a forgotten detail or a missing document may delay shipping), they often give advice to their client on the best way to organize his logistical flows. As a matter of fact, even if today everything goes faster and if physical distances are great, close human relationships remain an asset in this profession of a thousand faces in which routine does not exist.

They sign the contracts (in their name) necessary to perform the transport. Two types are involved in the operation: the first one is established between the shipper and the freight forwarder and is called the transport commission contract. The second is established between the forwarder and the transport company and is called the transport agreement.

In order to become a freight forwarder one shall file a request of registration to the register of freight forwarders (kept by the Direction Régionale de l’Équipement) with the Préfet de Région.

This document is only delivered upon three conditions:

  • Professional competence
  • Repute
  • Financial capacity

In Le Havre, several dozen companies employing over 1 600 employees (10% of direct jobs in the port) specialize in freight forwarding and customs broking.

International transport increases and employment perspectives are good: curious, open, with a good command of the English language and possibly a second language, freight forwarders hold at the minimum a bachelor degree (DUT Transport & Logistique, BTS Commerce International).

Source: multiple Internet sources, specialized literature, testimonials (Pratic-Export, Pôle-emploi cards, Wikipedia, Onisep, CNRTL, Umep à la Page…)

Forwarding agent (forwarder)

Catégories associées : Goods: careers

Their role is in direct relation to the goods. They are often Customs brokers and, most of the time, freight forwarders. They act as representatives of an importer/exporter – shipper/consignee and therefore have an obligation of means towards them.

When they also act as freight forwarders they are bound by a performance obligation.

They must perform numerous administrative tasks in various fields, a situation that actually makes them true technicians of foreign trade. They have many keys to open the right doors with a certain number of authorities (Customs, veterinary or phytosanitary offices, etc.) and they master conditions of sale.

In brief, they are the exporter’s guides and advisors for both deliverer and consignee.

In France two legal statuses exist:

  • Authorized representative (mandataires): They execute the orders given by the client, do not choose the transport company, have an obligation of means and are liable for their actions.
  • Brokers (commissionnaires): They organize and coordinate the instructions of their client, chose the subcontractor, have a performance obligation and may be held liable for their faults and those of their substitutes (within the same limits).

Source: multiple Internet sources, specialized literature, testimonials (Pratic-Export, Pôle-emploi cards, Wikipedia, Onisep, CNRTL, Umep à la Page…)