Port coordinator

A cargo in a port


Port coordinators manage operations of traffic division for port authorities. They enforce rules and regulations, such as the berthing of ships, handling and storing of cargo, and the use of port facilities. They direct policing and cleaning activities of harbour department land, streets, buildings, and water areas. Port coordinators also ensure that activities concerning revenue are documented and submitted to accounting division. They advise port authorities on rates and revisions of port tariff, and solicit steamship companies to use port facilities. They direct activities concerned with compiling daily and annual ship and cargo statistics.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to port coordinator:

terminal supervisor
port terminal manager
port operations supervisor
port operations coordinator
coordinator of port operations
port terminal supervisor
port operations manager

Minimum qualifications

A high school diploma or equivalent is generally the minimum required to work as a port coordinator.

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.

Port coordinator is a Skill level 2 occupation.

Port coordinator career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to port coordinator.

water traffic coordinator
vessel operations coordinator
container crane operator
cabin crew manager
ship pilot dispatcher

Long term prospects

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

ship captain
international forwarding operations coordinator
maritime pilot
freight inspector
non-vessel operating common carrier

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of port coordinator.

  • Physical parts of the vessel: Detailed knowledge of the different physical components of the vessel. Provide maintenance and care to ensure optimal operations.
  • Geographic areas: Know the geographic area in detail; know where different organisations carry out operations.
  • Commodities in maritime transportation: Knowledge of the most important commodities in maritime transportation, i.e. oil, grain, ore, coal and fertilisers, and their characteristics and subdivisions.
  • 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.
  • Customs regulations for passengers: Understand passenger customs regulations; know which official documents or declaration forms are required from different kinds of passenger.
  • Port regulation: Know port standards and legal regulations, based primarily on municipal laws, port laws or the Maritime Code.
  • 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 port coordinator.

  • Ensure compliance with port regulations: Enforce compliance with regulations in harbours and sea ports. Communicate with relevant authorities to identify potential risks.
  • Coordinate dock operations: Coordinate cargo shipments in and out of dock. Position cranes and arrange containers into shipments, taking into account the exact measures and weight of each container.
  • Ensure ongoing compliance with regulations: Conduct tasks and procedures to ensure that aviation certificates maintain their validity; undertake safeguarding measures as appropriate.
  • Give instructions to staff: Give instructions to subordinates by employing various communication techniques. Adjust communication style to the target audience in order to convey instructions as intended.
  • Supervise movement of crew: Oversee embarkation and disembarkation of crew members; ensure that safety regulations are followed according to specifications.
  • Operate port communications systems: Operate telephone and radio systems, and more complex communication systems used in inland waterway ports, in the coordination of port operations.
  • Supervise movement of passengers: Oversee embarking and disembarking of travellers; ensure that safety regulations are followed according to specifications.
  • Manage staff: Manage employees and subordinates, working in a team or individually, to maximise their performance and contribution. Schedule their work and activities, give instructions, motivate and direct the workers to meet the company objectives. Monitor and measure how an employee undertakes their responsibilities and how well these activities are executed. Identify areas for improvement and make suggestions to achieve this. Lead a group of people to help them achieve goals and maintain an effective working relationship among staff.
  • Supervise unloading of cargo: Supervise unloading processes for equipment, cargo, goods and other items. Ensure that everything is handled and stored correctly in accordance with regulations and standards.
  • 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.;
  • Supervise loading of cargo: Supervise the process of loading equipment, cargo, goods and other items. Ensure that all cargo is handled and stored properly in accordance with regulations and standards.
  • Ensure public safety and security: Implement the relevant procedures, strategies and use the proper equipment to promote local or national security activities for the protection of data, people, institutions, and property.
  • Manage vessel cargo activities: Manage and oversee the safe and punctual loading and unloading of cargo from vessels in port.
  • Operate marine communication systems: Operate on board marine communication systems; communicate with other ships or with on-shore control centre e.g. to send urgent messages concerning safety; transmit or receive alerts, etc.
  • Load cargo onto ships: Load and unload cargo onto ships. Oversee cargo loading and discharging operations.
  • Manage port operations: Execute port strategy in order to gain sufficient revenue and provide optimal customer service.
  • Apply safety management: Apply and supervise measures and regulations concerning security and safety in order to maintain a safe environment in the workplace.
  • Conduct full-scale emergency plan exercises: Conduct and mobilise all efforts, support organisations, resources, and communications within the airport, to carry out prevention plan exercises in order to prepare and train airport personnel for real-life emergency situations.
  • Anticipate logistics requirements for port operations: Anticipate port logistics according to vessel departure and arrival. Manage workforce to carry out port activities.
  • Manage port operations improvement procedures: Manage all improvement procedures in port operations, including their development and implementation. Understand port activities, operations, and the way these are carried out, to manage improvement.
  • Liaise with port users: Communicate and cooperate with port users such as shipping agents, freight customers and port managers.
  • Coordinate the itineraries of vessels: Develop, manage, and coordinate the itinerary of vessels worldwide together with other stakeholders.
  • Anticipate installation maintenance: Prepare resources and activities to execute installation maintenance, according to budget needs.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of port coordinator. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • 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.
  • Manage the customer experience: Monitor, create and oversee customer experience and perception of brand and service. Ensure pleasant customer experience, treat customers in a cordial and courteous manner.
  • Show confidence: Demonstrate degrees of maturity by fully understanding one’s own qualities and abilities which can serve as sources of confidence in different situations.
  • Apply transportation management concepts: Apply transport industry management concepts in order to improve transportation processes, reduce waste, increase efficiency, and improve schedule preparation.
  • Have computer literacy: Utilise computers, IT equipment and modern day technology in an efficient way.
  • Comply with checklists: Follow checklists and ensure compliance with all the items included in them.
  • Perform services in a flexible manner: Adapt service approach when circumstances change.

ISCO group and title

4323 – Transport clerks

  1. Port coordinator – ESCO
Last updated on December 5, 2022

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