Non-vessel operating common carrier

Non-vessel operating common carrier article illustration


Non-vessel operating common carriers (NVOCC) are consolidators in ocean trades who will buy space from a carrier and sub-sell it to smaller ship­pers. They issue bills of lading, publish tariffs and otherwise conducts themselves as ocean common carriers.

The duties of a non-vessel operating common carrier include, but are not limited to:

  • Issue Bill of Lading or House Bill of Lading (BL, BoL, HBL, or B/L is a legal document that outlines the details of the transaction with the NVOCC, such as the materials or goods, the destination of the goods, shipper, and buyer details, etc.)
  • Responsible for transferring cargo from customers to the gateway of ports, ideally suited to cater to the needs of small and medium-sized organizations.
  • Offer consultation, processing, and preparation of various shipping documents
  • Handling warehouse and transporting activities
  • Negotiating contracts and other shipping-related tariffs, such as customs, ports, etc
  • Cargo handling and transportation activities

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to non-vessel operating common carrier:

shipment consolidator
freight forwarder

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Non-vessel operating common carrier is a Skill level 3 occupation.

Non-vessel operating common carrier career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to non-vessel operating common carrier.

shipping agent
international forwarding operations coordinator
forwarding manager
marine cargo inspector
freight inspector

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of non-vessel operating common carrier. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of non-vessel operating common carrier with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

intermodal logistics manager
maritime water transport general manager
inland water transport general manager
import export manager in machinery, industrial equipment, ships and aircraft
import export manager in china and other glassware

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of non-vessel operating common carrier.

  • International tariffs: Know international tariffs, taxes, or duties that must be paid on a particular class of import or export materials.
  • Cartography: The study of interpreting the elements depicted in maps, the measures and technical specifications.
  • Types of packaging used in industrial shipments: Know various types of packaging materials used for industrial shipments, according to the type of goods to be shipped. Comply with regulations on packaging of goods.
  • Principles of cargo stowage: Understand the principles of cargo stowage. Understand procedures by which containers should be efficiently loaded and unloaded, taking into account gravitational forces that are exerted during transportation.
  • Match vessels to shipping routes: Understand how particular types of ships are transport different kinds of cargo and operate on different shipping routes. Know the current maritime routes to plan and schedule the arrival and departure of ships from ports.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of non-vessel operating common carrier.

  • Manage freight payment methods: Manage freight payment methods in accordance with the procedure that must be followed wherein payment is made around the time the freight is due to arrive, clear customs, and be released.
  • Weigh shipments: Weigh shipments and calculate the maximum weights and dimensions, per package or per item, for each consignment.
  • Prepare bills of lading: Prepare bills of lading and associated shipping documentation in accordance with customs and legal requirements.
  • Apply procedures to ensure cargo complies with customs regulations: Apply the different procedures required to meet customs obligations when transporting goods across borders and arriving via ports/airports or any other logistics hub, such as producing written customs declarations. Apply different procedures for different types of goods, and ensure compliance with shipping regulations.;
  • Set import export strategies: Develop and plan the strategies for import and export, according to the size of the company, the nature of its products, expertise and business conditions on the international markets.
  • Control trade commercial documentation: Monitor written records containing information related to commercial transactions such as invoice, letter of credit, order, shipping, certificate of origin.
  • Make bids in forward auctions: Create and provide forward bids, taking into account possible special requirements such as refrigeration of goods or transport of potentially hazardous materials.
  • Handle shipment paperwork: Handle paperwork containing information on shipments and attached to goods about to be shipped. Ensure that identification information is complete, visible, and in compliance with all regulations. Check labels showing product counts, final destination, and model numbers.
  • Manage import export licenses: Ensure the effective issuing of permits and licenses in import and export processes.
  • Ensure compliance with shipment regulations: Ensure compliance with shipment laws, regulations and policies; keep shipments secure and damage free; ensure the safety of staff members handling the cargo.
  • Coordinate export transportation activities: Coordinate all export transportation operations while considering export strategies and services.
  • Oversee cargo storage requirements: Oversee the implementation of requirements in the storage of customer cargo.
  • Use maritime English: Communicate in English employing language used in actual situations on board ships, in ports and elsewhere in the shipping chain.
  • Book cargo: Book cargo for shipment following customer specifications.
  • Keep up-to-date to current customs regulations: Follow the latest developments and changes occurred in customs regulations and government policies related to international trade.
  • Have access to shipping rates: Have the ability to access information about shipping rates and compare the information across providers. Use this information to prepare bids for clients.
  • Plan transport operations: Plan mobility and transport for different departments in order to obtain the best possible movement of equipment and materials. Negotiate the best possible delivery rates. Compare different bids and select the most reliable and cost-effective bid.
  • Prepare freight shipment reports: Compose and submit freight shipment reports. Include detailed information on freight conditions and freight handling; report problems if necessary.
  • Coordinate import transportation activities: Oversee import transportation operations; optimise import processes and service strategies.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of non-vessel operating common carrier. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Types of maritime vessels: Know a large variety of maritime vessels and their characteristics and specifications. Use that knowledge to ensure that all security, technical, and maintenance measures are taken into account in their supply.
  • Vessel stability principles: Thoroughly understand the principles of vessel stability; follow safety requirements during loading and unloading of cargo.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of non-vessel operating common carrier. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Communicate with customers: Respond to and communicate with customers in the most efficient and appropriate manner to enable them to access the desired products or services, or any other help they may require.
  • Act reliably: Proceed in a way that one can be relied on or depended on.
  • Use different communication channels: Make use of various types of communication channels such as verbal, handwritten, digital and telephonic communication with the purpose of constructing and sharing ideas or information.
  • Negotiate logistics services: Reach an agreement on the planning and control of the movement of goods, and all related logistical supporting activities without losing sight of one’s own or others’ goals.
  • Have computer literacy: Utilise computers, IT equipment and modern day technology in an efficient way.

ISCO group and title

3324 – Trade brokers

  1. Non-vessel operating common carrier – ESCO
  2. What is an NVOCC And Why is it Important in Global Logistics | Allcargo Logistics
  3. Featured image: By Huhu Uet – Own work, CC BY 3.0
Last updated on January 4, 2023

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