As a ships agent, it is my responsibility to make arrangements for vessels that we represent calling at ports in Northern Ireland. Our main ports would be Belfast and Warrenpoint with occasional vessel calls at Londonderry. A typical day would include visiting a vessel in port ensuring, that loading / discharge operations are proceeding as planned, to see if the Captain requires any equipment / parts for the vessel or if the crew require any personal assistance – doctors or dentists appointments are not unusual and liaising with port operations and stevedores to ensure that the vessel spends as little time in port as possible. I will also be keeping vessel owners and cargo owners informed throughout the vessel call on progress of operations and expected departure. The rest of my day would then generally be taken up with plans for the next vessel. As we look after approx 3 vessels per week and as a port call is usually 1 or 2 days, I would generally be looking after a vessel in port, planning for the next vessel and following up with all admin for the vessel just departed.
I joined All Route Shipping NI (Now renamed Woodside Global) in October 2014 and have always worked in the shipping business.
I enjoy the planning aspect of the job most, putting everything in place to make sure that the vessel call goes smoothly as well as meeting different crews from across the world and helping them when they are in Northern Ireland.
7-00am start and wait for the madness to begin!! The first couple of hours would be taken up clearing defects to get drivers away and then we’d move over to the routine maintenance of the trailer fleet. Recently I’ve also been spending a couple of hours on paperwork at the end of the day.
I’ve worked for Woodsides full time for 33½ years. Before I officially started work at 16 years old I used to come in evenings and weekends washing vehicles and getting under people’s feet as my father worked for Woodsides!
I suppose the one thing that’s stands out is the variety of work involved, one day I might be using my joinery skills to repair the bed of a trailer and the next day my electrical skills re-wiring the lights on a vehicle. There was also the time I had to drive a Formula Ford track car across the industrial estate at Preston because I was the only one who would fit in it!