What is ship management?

Much like a restaurant is managed by a team of staff on behalf of the owner, or like an accountant balances the books for a client, a fleet of vessels also require upkeep, governance and management. So, what is ship management and more importantly, why is it a necessary service within the marine sector?

What is ship management?

Ship management, as the name itself implies, is the management of marine vessels by a ship management company on behalf of a private or commercial owner. The management of ships and marine vessels is often offered and implemented by large ship management companies who are paid to otherwise manage and maintain either a fleet of ships or a single vessel, as well the adjacent marine-centric services associated with the vessel/s such as the transportation of important goods.

Furthermore, the owner of a ship can sign a contract with a ship management company that leases their vessel for a defined duration of time. Some owners choose to lease their ship completely to the management company while others choose to render a few of the services provided by the ship management company itself. It is up to the owner if they want to contract their vessel/s for use in partial services or lease their ship completely to the management company.

What does a ship management company offer?

A ship management company offers a variety of different solutions and services. A few of these tasks include:

  • Maintenance – A ship management company will often handle the maintenance and upkeep of a ship, ensuring it is properly taken care of and remains in tip-top shape.
  • Crew Management – Your ship management company will manage the crew onboard your ship or ships, ensuring your vessel is adequately manned.
  • Transactions & Negotiations – On behalf of the owner, many ship management companies handle the transactional side of a vessel and can hire it out for certain maritime services.
  • Insurance – Many ship management companies also arrange insurance for the ship on behalf of the owner. This service takes the hassle out of finding a company to protect your vessel, which can quite often be a complicated and stressful process.
  • Cargo Management & Supplies – A ship management company manages the loading and unloading of cargo, as well as supplies for the crew such as food and medical supplies.
  • Innovation & Technology – Many ship management companies provide innovative digital platforms and solutions. These solutions provide full transparency and accessibility when it comes to their services and can also be utilised for making data-driven decisions when it comes to your operations.

Essentially, a ship management company provides a range of management and marine support services to ship owners and operators and can tailor those aforementioned services into a bespoke package tailored to the needs of the owner/operator and their marine vessels.

What kind of marine vessels does a ship management company care for?

The type of marine vessel a ship management company cares for depends on the company itself and the type of services they offer. In saying that, most ship management companies have the infrastructure and assets available to them to care for tankers, bulk carriers and gas carriers as well as container vessels, LNG fuelled ships and many other types of ships.

Why is ship management important?

Ship management is a crucial service within the maritime industry. The service allows both private and commercial owners and operators alike to essentially pass the management of their fleet to a single professional entity. This ensures the streamlining of multiple services and solutions within the maritime industry.

What should I look for in ship management services?

While it sounds like a fairly easy concept, ship management is actually much more complicated than many people think. When choosing your ship management company, it is paramount you choose an organisation that aligns with the core values of your own business. Choosing the correct company will not only ensure your vessel is properly maintained and managed, but also that any operations, including the transport of any goods and services, are taken care of. In particular, large companies that deal with exporting and importing goods on a global level can alleviate stress and complication by shifting their operations to a ship management company. So, what should you look for in a ship management company?

Crew welfare

If your ship management company isn’t taking proper care of your crew, there is an increased risk of an accident on board which can be detrimental for both the crew and your own company. Ensuring your crew are mentally and physically well should be of the utmost importance for any maritime company or organisation. A professional ship management company will ensure the seafarers aboard your vessel are taken care of, with regular meals as well as access to medical care. Some ship management companies even supply and manage the crew for you, taking the hassle of finding competent, experienced seafarers to man your vessel and ensure operational continuity. This includes providing an experienced management team such as a ship superintendent.


It’s important to remember one of the sole reasons one would hire a ship management company is for the purpose of streamlining your maritime-centric operations. Therefore, your chosen company should be able to alleviate stress and tension on you and your own team with experience, coordination and expertise.

Depending on what services you are after, a professional ship management company will usually be able to coordinate the supply of provisions, goods and other requirements with ease. The company should also be able to supervise the transfer of cargo and maintain all vessel records and documentation.

Final thoughts

As the name implies, ship management is the management of marine vessels, ships and boats by a professional maritime management company. Much like how a restaurant or café is managed by a team of staff on behalf of the owner, ship management essentially streamlines a multitude of maritime services and solutions and is a crucial service within the marine industry.

When looking for a ship management company, it’s important to find an organisation that aligns with the values and views of your own business. Perhaps most pertinent, it’s important to ensure your crew and vessel are being taken care of properly, which in turn cements operational continuity and ensures your vessel is getting from A to B without a hitch.

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