Ports and Harbours

Overview

Ports are places where vessels carrying cargo and passengers to and from the UK load and unload. There are approximately 200 commercial ports in the UK , some employing under ten people and some over two thousand. Ports are a vital link in the transportation chain providing facilities to vessels from other UK ports and ports worldwide.
They vary in purpose and size between:

  • major and minor commercial ports;
  • small-scale fishing ports;
  • passenger/ferry ports;
  • inland waterways ports/terminals;
  • harbours and marinas.

Occupations and roles within ports will therefore vary depending upon the type of facilities they provide and their size. In a large port, job roles will tend to fall within one of four categories - cargo operations, marine operations, passenger operations or engineering operations. However, in a small port or harbour the responsibilities that individuals have may stretch across two or more of these categories.


Port Operations
Port operations include passenger, cargo, and marine operations. Occupational roles could be across the full range of cargo, passenger and marine functions or they could be focused in one area, such as Marine Pilotage.

  • Managing Director (Chief Executive, Port Director, Port Manager, General Manager)
  • Port Operations Director (Operations Director, Port Operations Manager, Port Manager) Security Manager
  • Ports Facility Security Manager (PFSM, ISPS manager)
  • Safety Manager (Head of Health and Safety, Health and Safety Manager, Safety Officer, Safety Advisor, Safety, Health and Environmental Manager)
  • Harbour Master (Chief Harbour Master, Haven Master, Marine Operations Manager)
  • Deputy Harbour Master (Assistant Harbour Master, Assistant Marine Operations Manager, Barge Manager, Berthing Master, Dock Master, Harbour Superintendent , Haven Master Deputy, Marine Manager, Piermaster, Pilotage Manager)
  • Hydrogrpahic Surveyor (Senior Hydrographic Surveyor, Base Surveyor)
  • Port Operations Manager ( Cargo Operations Manager, Passenger Operations Manager, Terminal Operations Manager, Wharf Manager, Stevedoring Superintendent, Operations Superintendent, Assistant Operations Director, Operations Superintendent, Duty Operations Manager, Operations Manager)
  • Marine Pilot
  • Vessel Traffic Services Officer (VTS Officer, VTS Operative, Port Control Room Officer, Port Control Officer, Marine Officer, Marine Operator)
  • Port Operations Supervisor (Cargo Operations Supervisor, Marine Operations Supervisor, Passenger Operations Supervisor)
  • Port Operations team leader (Cargo Operations Team Leader, Marine Operations Team Leader, Passenger Operations Team Leader)
  • Port Operative (Cargo Operative, Marine Operative, Passenger Operative, General Operative)


Engineering Operations

  • Director of Engineering (Head of Support Services, General Manager, Chief Engineer, Port engineer, Head of engineering)
  • Port Engineer (Engineering Manager, Engineering Resources Manager, Marine Engineering Manager, Terminal Engineer)
  • Civil Engineer (Construction Engineer, Development Engineer, Civil Foreman)
  • Engineering Manager (Engineering Superintendent, Plant Engineer Manager)
  • Engineering Supervisor (Engineering Foreman, Electrical Foreman, Maintenance Foreman, Mechanical Foreman)
  • Technician (Electrician, Engineering Technician, Fitter, Mechanical Fitter, Maintenance Fitter, General Engineering Assistant, Third Engineer, Marine Maintainer, Machinist, Welder, Fabricator, Electronics Technician, Tyre Fitter, Trailer Fitter)
  • Maintenance Assistant (Workshop Labourer)

Role, Career Pathways & Qualifications

Click the links below to find out more about specific roles, career pathways and required qualifications

Roles

Managing Director
Oversees all the business aspects of one or several ports. This can include monitoring profit and loss and ensuring that an efficient service is provided for all port clients.


Port Operations Director
Oversees the operational activity at one or several ports. Would normally have overall responsibility for the efficient use of port facilities and resources with specific responsibilities for health and safety and security


Security Manager
Some ports may have a dedicated Security Manager where as others may have someone with designated responsibilities for security, such as the Port Operations Director or Port Operations Manager. The Security Manager is responsible for advising on all aspects of security. Sometimes this role is contracted out to a dedicated safety security firm.


Ports Facility Security Manager
Co-ordinates security under the ISPS legislation, across the whole port. The PFSM's responsibilities include the security of vessels and their interface with the port during mooring and unmooring.


Safety Manager
Some ports may have a dedicated Safety Manager but others may have someone with designated responsibilities for safety, such as the Port Operations Director/Manager. The Safety Manager is responsible for advising on all aspects of health and safety at work. Specific duties could include advice and follow up actions regarding: investigating accidents, keeping up to date with safety legislation/ codes of practice, carrying out safety audits and inspections, and delivering safety training to staff.


Harbour Master
The role of a Harbour Master varies depending on the different types of organisations operating within the port area. In a very small port the Harbour Master may be the only person working in the port and would therefore have a very wide-ranging role. The Harbour Master normally manages the waterways within the port, and is responsible for ensuring that the harbour is safe for shipping. In a larger port this would include managing vessel movements, the environment, hydrographic survey vessels, and leisure activity. Specific duties could include overseeing management of the port control centre, provision of a pilotage service, monitoring and preventing water pollution, regulating and licensing commercial craft etc.


Deputy Harbour Master
Some ports may have a Deputy Harbour Master as a full-time job role. Other ports may have a nominated Deputy who has another, related full-time job, such as Harbour Superintendent. The Deputy Harbour Master must be a qualified Harbour Master so that they can undertake the role if the Harbour Master is unavailable.


Hydrogrpahic Surveyor
Hydrographic Surveyors measure and map the underwater surfaces and study the construction of the seabed. This information is used in navigation, dredging, or planning dock installations. They work in a wide range of differing situations and applications: from inland waters and rivers, to ports and the deep oceans. The Surveyor may be involved in activities related to offshore engineering and construction, ports, harbours and coastal engineering operations. Hydrographic Surveyors would normally need small boat skills/qualifications.


Port Operations Manager
Management of day-to-day activity within the port or terminal. Normally responsible for either stevedoring and /or passenger operations. They facilitate the transfer of passengers and cargo between the ship and shore. Specific responsibilities could include managing vessel loading and discharge operations, managing safety and security, liaising with customers and other port users, managing customer service, catering and other facilities at the port or terminal.


Marine Pilot
The Marine Pilot assists the ship's Master to enter and exit the port safely. Marine pilots normally board moving vessels from small high powered launches. Before boarding a vessel, the Marine Pilot plans the passage of the vessel taking into account tides, weather, length, draft, tonnage and handling characteristics of the vessel and if there is a need for tugs. Once aboard, the Pilot is responsible for navigating the vessel safely in and out of the harbour and works closely with the Master and other crew to achieve this.


Vessel Traffic Services Officer
The VTS Officer works in a harbour authority port control centre. They co-ordinate the movement of all vessels in the harbour area. The tasks vary according to the size of the port and the number of vessels movements. Specific responsibilities could include operating equipment such as marine radar and radio telephone, and using paper and electronic nautical charts to record a vessels current position, plot courses and forecast traffic flows. The VTS Officer has to communicate effectively with various people including the ship's Master, Maritime Coastguard Agency and weather forecasters. They also have to handle emergency situations.


Port Operations Supervisor
The Port Operations Supervisor oversees the work of the Port Operatives, and assists the Port Operations Manager. Normally responsible for either cargo, marine orpassenger operations. The Supervisor ensures that the team(s) undertake their work safely and to the requirements of the port and its customers. Specific duties could include supervising vessel loading and discharge, supervising the operation of harbour craft, supervising catering, customer services and recreational services, and liaising with customers and other port users.


Port Operations team leader
The Team Leader normally works in larger ports and assists the Supervisor in co-ordinating the work of the Port Operatives. The Team Leader may be responsible for a small team, such as a team of passenger operatives, marine operatives or passenger operatives. Sometimes they may have specific responsibilities in a large team, such as security.

Career Pathways

Managing Director
Established Routes from other Sectors
Recruitment from senior management roles in other sectors eg warehousing and distribution


Port Operations Director
Opportunities in the Maritime Sector
Managing Director


Opportunities in other Sectors
Other management roles using transferable skills and into other logistic environments such warehouse distribution centres

Established Routes from other Sectors
Recruitment from senior management roles in other sectors eg warehousing and distribution


Security Manager
Established Routes from other Sectors
Routes from security positions in other sectors possible


Ports Facility Security Manager
Opportunities in the Maritime Sector
Security Manager

Opportunities in other Sectors
Consultant Role

Established Routes from other Sectors
Routes from security positions in other sectors possible


Safety Manager
Opportunities in other Sectors
Other safety management roles and auditing/ consultant roles

Established Routes from other Sectors
Routes from safety occupations in other sectors possible


Harbour Master
Opportunities in the Maritime Sector
Port Manager
Port Director
Port Operations Director

Opportunities in other Sectors
Operations management roles in other sectors.


Deputy Harbour Master
Opportunities in the Maritime Sector
Harbourmaster

Opportunities in other Sectors
Supervisory roles in other Sectors


Hydrogrpahic Surveyor
Opportunities in other Sectors
Sales roles in selling hydrographic software


Port Operations Manager
Opportunities in the Maritime Sector
Port Operations Director

Opportunities in other Sectors
Other operational roles in sectors such as warehousing and logistics
Consultant role.


Marine Pilot
Opportunities in the Maritime Sector
Harbour master


VTS Officer
Opportunities in other Sectors
Consultant role.
Opportunities exist in lecturing and teaching.
Where Marine Pilots have a Merchant Navy background there are also opportunities in insurance, legal work, shipping companies and superintendency


Vessel Traffic Services Officer
Opportunities in the Maritime Sector
With Merchant Navy background, opportunities to become Harbour Master, Marine Pilot.


Opportunities in other Sectors
Opportunities in traffic control for haulage and airports (with further training).

Port Operations Supervisor


Cargo
Opportunities in the Maritime Sector
Port Operations Manager

Opportunities in other Sectors
Supervisory roles in other sectors eg warehousing and distribution


Marine
Opportunities in the Maritime Sector
Opportunities to move to a VTS Officer role, with further training to IALA V-103.
Opportunities to become a Marine Pilot (enhanced if candidate has experience as a Ship's Master with SCTW II /2 )


Passenger
Opportunities in the Maritime Sector
Port Operations Manager
Opportunities in Merchant Navy (eg Chief Purser)

Port Operations team leader


Cargo
Opportunities in the Maritime Sector
Cargo Operations Supervisor


Marine
Opportunities in the Maritime Sector
Marine Operations Supervisor


Passenger
Opportunities in the Maritime Sector
Passenger Operations Supervisor


Port Operative
Cargo

Opportunities in the Maritime Sector
Cargo Operations Team Leader


Established Routes from other Sectors
Cargo operatives can come from the construction industry (eg crane drivers) and road haulage industry (eg HGV drivers)


Marine
Opportunities in the Maritime Sector
Marine Operations Team Leader


Passenger

Opportunities in the Maritime Sector
Passenger Operations Team Leader


General
Opportunities in the Maritime Sector
General Operations Team Leader

Qualifications Required

Key: Mandatory requirements
Common training available

Managing Director
Port Operations Director
Security Manager
Ports Facility Security Manager

Department for Transport (TRANSEC) certification scheme


Safety Manager
Health and Safety Diploma is usually expected, such as:
Level 6 Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety (NEBOSH)
Level 6 Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety (British Safety Council)
Level 4 S/NVQ in Occupational Health and Safety Practice to NEBOSH / British Safety Council equivalents (City and Guilds)


Harbour Master
Experience as Ship’s Master normally expected (MCA STCW II/2) or Marine Pilot apprenticeship scheme
Diploma in Port Management (National Sea Training Centre, Lloyd's Maritime Academy, Informa Maritime & Transport)
Harbour Master Certificate Scheme (Nautical Institute)
Management Certificate and Diploma Scheme (Nautical Institute)


Deputy Harbour Master
Diploma in Port Management ( National Sea Training Centre, Lloyd's Maritime Academy, Informa Maritime & Transport)


Hydrogrpahic Surveyor
Graduate entry, usually BSc or MSC in hydrography, marine geography, marine sciences, ocean exploration or geomatics.

OR relevant forces training in:

Petty Officer Surveyor
HM Hydrography
HM Advanced Survey
Leading Seaman HM(H)

Port Operations Manager
Diploma in Port Management ( National Sea Training Centre, Lloyd's Maritime Academy, Informa Maritime & Transport)

Marine Pilot
Experience as Ship's Master normally expected (MCA STCW II/2) or Marine Pilot apprenticeship scheme


Vessel Traffic Services Officer
VTS Operator Basic Training Scheme (MCA). Must meet IALA V-103 standard.


Port Operations Supervisor
NVQ available September 2006


Port Operations team leader
NVQ available September 2006


Roles

Cargo Operative (Stevedore)
The Cargo Operative (or Stevedore) loads and unloads cargo from ships. In some ports the Stevedore has a wide range of responsibilities including the physical loading, securing and unloading of cargo, driving vehicles to transport cargo within the port, and operating highly technical loading and unloading equipment. In other ports, job roles may be very focused. For example, some Stevedores work solely as Crane Drivers and their job title reflects this.


Marine Operative
The Marine Operative works on harbour craft used within the port, such as workboats and pilot launches. Responsibilities could include the operation and navigation of harbour craft, the berthing of vessels, fuelling craft, and transporting people to and from larger vessels.


Passenger Operative
The Passenger Operative may have a specific role such as directing vehicles at a ferry port (Traffic Controller), or a wider role covering customer service and dealing with incidents in the passenger terminal.


General Operative
The General Operative normally exists in smaller ports and would combine activities undertaken by a cargo operative, marine operative or passenger operative.

Career Pathways

Managing Director
Established Routes from other Sectors
Recruitment from senior management roles in other sectors eg warehousing and distribution


Port Operations Director
Opportunities in the Maritime Sector
Managing Director


Opportunities in other Sectors
Other management roles using transferable skills and into other logistic environments such warehouse distribution centres


Established Routes from other Sectors
Recruitment from senior management roles in other sectors eg warehousing and distribution


Security Manager
Established Routes from other Sectors
Routes from security positions in other sectors possible


Ports Facility Security Manager
Opportunities in the Maritime Sector
Security Manager


Opportunities in other Sectors
Consultant Role


Established Routes from other Sectors
Routes from security positions in other sectors possible

Safety Manager
Opportunities in other Sectors
Other safety management roles and auditing/ consultant roles


Established Routes from other Sectors
Routes from safety occupations in other sectors possible


Harbour Master
Opportunities in the Maritime Sector
Port Manager
Port Director
Port Operations Director


Opportunities in other Sectors
Operations management roles in other sectors.


Deputy Harbour Master
Opportunities in the Maritime Sector
Harbourmaster


Opportunities in other Sectors
Supervisory roles in other Sectors


Hydrogrpahic Surveyor
Opportunities in other Sectors
Sales roles in selling hydrographic software


Port Operations Manager
Opportunities in the Maritime Sector
Port Operations Director


Opportunities in other Sectors
Other operational roles in sectors such as warehousing and logistics
Consultant role.


Marine Pilot
Opportunities in the Maritime Sector
Harbour master
VTS Officer


Opportunities in other Sectors
Consultant role.
Opportunities exist in lecturing and teaching.
Where Marine Pilots have a Merchant Navy background there are also opportunities in insurance, legal work, shipping companies and superintendency


Vessel Traffic Services Officer
Opportunities in the Maritime Sector
With Merchant Navy background, opportunities to become Harbour Master, Marine Pilot.


Opportunities in other Sectors
Opportunities in traffic control for haulage and airports (with further training).

Port Operations Supervisor
Cargo
Opportunities in the Maritime Sector
Port Operations Manager


Opportunities in other Sectors
Supervisory roles in other sectors eg warehousing and distribution


Marine
Opportunities in the Maritime Sector
Opportunities to move to a VTS Officer role, with further training to IALA V-103.
Opportunities to become a Marine Pilot (enhanced if candidate has experience as a Ship's Master with SCTW II /2 )


Passenger
Opportunities in the Maritime Sector
Port Operations Manager
Opportunities in Merchant Navy (eg Chief Purser)


Port Operations team leader
Cargo
Opportunities in the Maritime Sector
Cargo Operations Supervisor


Marine
Opportunities in the Maritime Sector
Marine Operations Supervisor


Passenger
Opportunities in the Maritime Sector
Passenger Operations Supervisor


Port Operative
Cargo
Opportunities in the Maritime Sector
Cargo Operations Team Leader


Established Routes from other Sectors
Cargo operatives can come from the construction industry (eg crane drivers) and road haulage industry (eg HGV drivers)


Marine
Opportunities in the Maritime Sector
Marine Operations Team Leader


Passenger
Opportunities in the Maritime Sector
Passenger Operations Team Leader


General
Opportunities in the Maritime Sector
General Operations Team Leader

Qualifications Required

Key: Mandatory requirements
Common training available

* Denotes qualification where level is currently being reviewed under the New Qualifications Framework


Port Operative
Cargo
Level 2 S/NVQ in Stevedoring (EDEXCEL)
Level 2 S/NVQ in Marine Operations (Port) (EDEXCEL)

The above two qualifications expire September 2006. To be replaced by:
Level 2 S/NVQ in Port Operations (EAL)

If carrying out fork lift truck operations, must hold relevant certification meeting the Approved Code of Practice L117 for rider operated lift trucks.

For example certification under:
AITT (Association of Industrial Truck Trainers)
ITSSAR (Independent Training Standards Scheme & Register)
RTITB (Road Transport Industry Training Board Ltd)
CITB-Construction Skills
Lantra
National Plant Operators Registration Scheme

These may lead to the following qualifications:

Level 2 S/NVQ in Specialised Plant and Machinery Operations, Lifting and Transferring (City and Guilds)

Level 2 Certificate of Competence in Forklift Truck Operations (NPTC)


Marine
MCA qualifications appropriate to the type and class of vessel

eg Boatmasters Licence or Coastal Skipper; STCW regulations

Personal Sea Survival certificate
Firefighting
VHF Operator’s Certificate
First Aid Certification
Certificate of Medical Fitness
Level 2 S/NVQ in Marine Operations (Port) (EDEXCEL)
Expires September 2006. To be replaced by:
Level 2 S/NVQ in Port Operations (EAL)


Passenger
Level 2 S/NVQ in Port Passenger Operations (EDEXCEL)
Expires September 2006. To be replaced by:
Level 2 S/NVQ in Port Operations (EAL)
May undertake any of the qualifications undertaken by cargo, marine or passenger operative


General
May undertake any of the qualifications undertaken by cargo, marine or passenger operative

Roles

Director of Engineering
Oversees the operation of the engineering functions of one or several ports. They are responsible for all aspects of engineering and technical support for the port, including mechanical, electrical, electronic and civil engineering (although the latter may be a separate responsibility in some cases). Main duties are to:

  • agree asset design and specification meet s business requirements
  • ensure cost effective procurement of engineering assets or spares
  • create engineering Health and Safety strategies


Port Engineer
Day-to-day management of the engineering function at the port.


Civil Engineer
Maintains the port infra structure including roads, building and piles.


Engineering Manager
Normally responsible for the control and co-ordination of specified engineering activities, such as the engineering activities within a Container Terminal or port workshop.


Engineering Supervisor
Supervises a team of technicians. This team could be cross-disciplinary or specialist e.g. a team of fitters or electricians.


Technician
Many ports require a large amount of both mechanical and electrical equipment to transfer passengers and cargo. Electrical equipment could include container cranes, ships ramps and passenger walkways. Mechanical equipment can include heavy goods vehicles, fork lift trucks, mobile cranes and harbour craft. Some ports will use contractors to do this work, but others will employ their own maintenance staff, often both mechanical and electrical. The activities undertaken would include physical tasks such as lifting, mechanical maintenance and repair, and electrical maintenance and repair.


Maintenance Assistant
Undertake routine and regular maintenance work on machinery and provide assistance to engineering technicians.

Career Pathways

Director of Engineering
Port Engineer

Opportunities in the Maritime Sector
Director of Enginnering


Civil Engineer
Engineerng Manager

Opportunities in the Maritime Sector
Port Engineer


Engineering Supervisor
Opportunities in the Maritime Sector
Engineering Manager (may need further engineering qualifications)


Technician
Opportunities in the Maritime Sector
Engineering Supervisor
Merchant Navy opportunities as a rating (eg Fitter)

Opportunities in other Sectors
Technician role in a non-maritime sector.


Maintenance Assistant
Opportunities in the Maritime Sector
Technician
Merchant Navy opportunities as a rating (eg fitter)

Qualifications Required

Key: Mandatory requirements
Common training available

* Denotes qualification where level is currently being reviewed under the New Qualifications Framework


Director of Engineering
Higher qualification (such as a degree in Engineering) normally expected


Port Engineer
Higher qualification (such as a degree in Engineering) normally expected


Civil Engineer
Higher qualification (such as a degree in Civil Engineering) normally expected


Engineerng Manager
Level 4 S/NVQ in Engineering Management (EAL/EMTA)*
Level 5 S/NVQ in Engineering Management (EAL / EMTA)*


Engineering Supervisor
Level 3 S/NVQ in Electrical and Electronic Servicing (EAL / City and Guilds)
Level 3 S/NVQ in Engineering Maintenance (EAL / ETCAL / City and Guilds)


Technician
Electricians would be required to hold a Level 3 qualification such as an S/NVQ in Electrical and Electronic Servicing (EAL / City and Guilds)

A fitter would be expected to hold Level 3 (or equivalent time served) such as an S/NVQ in Engineering Maintenance (EAL / ETCAL / City and Guilds) or an S/NVQ in Engineering Technical Support (EAL / ETCAL/ City and Guilds). Occasional recruitment at Level 2.


Maintenance Assistant
Level 2 in S/NVQ in Performing Engineering Operations (EAL / EMTA / City and Guilds / ETCAL / EDEXCEL)