News MCNew Spanish Regulation on Shipping Agency Services

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1 July next will see the entry into force of Royal Decree 131/2019 of 8 March regulating the shipping agency services in Spain, which recognises the importance of shipping agents as one of the fundamental components for the successful operation of  maritime business.

THE CORPUS OF REGULATIONS GOVERNING THE BUSINESS

The two main Acts of maritime law in Spain (the recast State Ports and Merchant Navy Act and the Maritime Shipping Act) already considered shipping agents as providers of an essential role in maritime trade. These two-fold regulations cover both their liabilities to the public authorities and their contractual relationships with shipowners and shipping companies.

Article 10.2 of the Maritime Shipping Act makes it compulsory for foreign vessels to have shipping agents in Spanish ports, with the exception of recreational vessels. It adds that the obligation to use shipping agents may also be extended to domestic vessels under provisions ranked as regulations. The new royal decree develops this issue in that it makes it compulsory for vessels flying the Spanish flag, but only in those ports where their owner or shipping company does not have resources of its own on shore to cover the functions usually provided by a shipping agent.

RELATIONS BETWEEN SHIPPING AGENTS AND THE PUBLIC AUTHORITIES

The new royal decree sets out the rules governing the activities of shipping agents as regards relations with maritime authorities, port authorities and other national authorities which have functions in ports. The first of these rules states that they must diligently fulfil their obligations in their relations with the said authorities, with which they are to communicate electronically.

It stresses that shipping agents must meet the conditions envisaged in the particular specifications for commercial shipping agency services approved by the relevant port authority or, as the case may be, by the body in charge of managing the port in question, and must obtain authorisation from same. Agents must also be registered by these authorities in the Register of Shipping Agents.

GREATER TRANSPARENCY, QUALITY AND BETTER SERVICE

This is done to assure greater transparency and quality and improvements in the services provided by shipping agents. This in turn will bring about improvements in maritime trade, with greater assurances in regard to the liabilities of the various actors involved.

 

1 July next will see the entry into force of Royal Decree 131/2019 of 8 March regulating the shipping agency services in Spain, which recognises the importance of shipping agents as one of the fundamental components for the successful operation of  maritime business.

THE CORPUS OF REGULATIONS GOVERNING THE BUSINESS

The two main Acts of maritime law in Spain (the recast State Ports and Merchant Navy Act and the Maritime Shipping Act) already considered shipping agents as providers of an essential role in maritime trade. These two-fold regulations cover both their liabilities to the public authorities and their contractual relationships with shipowners and shipping companies.

Article 10.2 of the Maritime Shipping Act makes it compulsory for foreign vessels to have shipping agents in Spanish ports, with the exception of recreational vessels. It adds that the obligation to use shipping agents may also be extended to domestic vessels under provisions ranked as regulations. The new royal decree develops this issue in that it makes it compulsory for vessels flying the Spanish flag, but only in those ports where their owner or shipping company does not have resources of its own on shore to cover the functions usually provided by a shipping agent.

RELATIONS BETWEEN SHIPPING AGENTS AND THE PUBLIC AUTHORITIES

The new royal decree sets out the rules governing the activities of shipping agents as regards relations with maritime authorities, port authorities and other national authorities which have functions in ports. The first of these rules states that they must diligently fulfil their obligations in their relations with the said authorities, with which they are to communicate electronically.

It stresses that shipping agents must meet the conditions envisaged in the particular specifications for commercial shipping agency services approved by the relevant port authority or, as the case may be, by the body in charge of managing the port in question, and must obtain authorisation from same. Agents must also be registered by these authorities in the Register of Shipping Agents.

GREATER TRANSPARENCY, QUALITY AND BETTER SERVICE

This is done to assure greater transparency and quality and improvements in the services provided by shipping agents. This in turn will bring about improvements in maritime trade, with greater assurances in regard to the liabilities of the various actors involved.

 

MARÍTIMA CONSIFLET

A global company providing logistics and maritime services.

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