Agency fee. The agency fee is the remuneration for the agents who have attended to the ship’s business during its stay at their port.
In most maritime countries fixed scales of charges covering agency work and the clearance of tramp vessels have been agreed between the local shipbrokers or their organisations. For example, the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers in London, England, recommends minimum agency fees for different services and publish a list of these. BIMCO (The “Baltic and International Maritime Council”) also publishes a book “Port Costs” which contains disbursements from shipowners and agents from many ports in the world. This shows the likely costs for shipping agency services. Also in BIMCO’s regular periodical, BIMCO Bulletin, a section entitled “Around the Ports” occasionally covers agency fees recommended by different organisations and purr authorities.
The fees may vary according to the size and nature of the cargo, as well as the ship’s tonnage, but the basic principle is that a fixed sum is allowed. Sometimes a fixed amount is inserted in the charterparty as the total agency fee.
“Agency fee” is different from commission paid to brokers or “brokerage”. (See Brokerage.)
Regular liner companies may grant a certain percentage of freight on outward and inward cargo as commission, in addition to the regular agency fee. It is not customary to pay to the ship’s agents any commission on the freight on cargo carried by tramp vessels, although efforts to claim a certain percentage of the gross freight as an agency fee, in addition to the normal agency fee, may sometimes be made.