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HMRC internal manual

Tonnage Tax Manual

Background material: Brokers and agents for shipping companies

AppointmentAn agent’s appointment may not be controlled by the owner. A voyage-charterer may nominate the agent whom the shipowner is to appoint. Nevertheless, the agent’s authority comes from the owner even though nominated by the charterer, and it is the owner who pays the agent’s fees.

The Baltic & International Marine Conference (BIMCO) recommends that the owner appoints a protecting agent to look after his interest. The owner may forego this in order to economise on fees.

Under a time charter, the vessel’s owner keeps possession of and maintains and runs the vessel and crew. The time-charterer pays for bunkers, pilots, tugs and other port charges. The freight income is earned and retained by the time- charterer. In return the owner receives a charter fee per deadweight ton of the vessel.

The master of the vessel carries a dual agency role: as agent for the owner’s interest in the vessel and as agent for the time-charterer’s interest in the cargo. As a form of disponent owner, the time-charterer has the right to appoint an agent at both load and discharge ports. However a voyage-charterer may nominate the agent to be appointed.

An agent appointed by a time-charterer usually looks after both the owner’s and the time-charterer’s respective interests. However, an owner may appoint a protecting agent to oversee its particular interests and paperwork, and money may be transmitted to and from the agent via the protecting agent.


Types of brokers and agents TTM15240
Commission to brokers and agents TTM15260