What is the stevedoring company?

A stevedoring company is in charge to carry out the cargo handling in the port operations. Usually, it is the holder of an administrative concession, granted by the pertinent Port Authority, which empowers it to use, with exclusive condition, a space placed at the edge of the quay, to perform its activities. Since it is the operator of a certain terminal, sometimes it is used the expression "port terminal" to refer to it.

What are its duties and responsabilities?

The main operations in cargo handling are the following:

  · Receiving
  · Loading
  · Handling
  · Handling
  · Unloading
  · Delivery

Stevedoring companies carry out many other operations in addition to the main six above mentioned, just as:

  · Emptying and filling containers
  · Classifying goods
  · Horizontal movements to position in inspection areas

In the case of regular maritime lines, the shipowners decide in which terminals the loading/unloading operations will be made, depending on their interests and the law of supply and demand. That is why on choosing a concrete shipowner, the importer/exporter is obliged to pick up/steer the cargo in the terminal the shipowner has decided.

All the stevedoring companies that operate in the Port of Barcelona are members of the:

Ctra. Circunvalación s/n Tramo VI
Edificio Gregal 1a planta, 08040 Barcelona
Tel. (93) 442 88 24 / Fax. (93) 223 41 84

Joining this Association is a voluntary condition, so it may happen that some stevedoring companies would not be part of it.

To perform their activities, the stevedoring companies have a minimun staff in a situation of common labour relation that guarantee the perfect functioning of their basic structure. Nevertheless, the special characteristics of the port operations (marked by the irregularity in the arrivals of vessels to the ports) involve that a company can not have skilled and enough staff on its payroll to attend all the peak periods that may happen, because the costs would be impossible to assume.

Because of this, and to cover the need of staff (that fluctuates according to the labour of loading/unloading the vessels and handling the resulting goods and depending on the volume of work to perform), the stevedoring companies have a shared "personnel department" called Estibarna-SAGEP. This organisation has proper and skilled staff to perform the port labour and it is required by the stevedoring companies, depending on the needs of every shift.

The existance of Estibarna-SAGEP is due to economy of scale reasons and its constitution has involved a sizeable improvement in the rationalization of port labour.

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