graduate jobs

Transport & Logistics careers

Ports, Maritime, Waterways & Oceanic Freight

Why get into maritime transport?

‘Dirty’, ‘cold’ and ‘dangerous’ may be the first three words that spring to mind when you think of waterborne transportation. However, this only touches on a small part of this industry. It is also a technologically advanced business that involves international travel.

Transporting goods by water allows for very large quantities to be shipped. These careers require individuals with good problem-solving and lateral-thinking abilities. You might be working as a fork lift driver, a ship’s captain, a stevedore (a.k.a. chief docker), a salesman or an engineer. 

What does maritime transport involve?

Careers in waterborne logistics are responsible for moving vast quantities of goods from one place to another, via oceans and waterways. Waterborne freight careers tend to be carried out around large international ports. National economies rely on imports and exports and customers rely on prompt delivery. Consequently, careers in this subsector play an important role in the global economy.

Firstly, goods are moved to these international ports via various modes of transport, including barges and small boats. Once they reach these large ports, all of the goods are aggregated and moved across the world, before being unloaded and redistributed. 

Waterborne logistics operations usually work in tandem with other modes of transport, and rarely work completely independently. Indeed, every port has good road and rail links. Uniquely, this form of freight allows for the transportation of huge items that are prohibitively expensive or impossible to move using other modes of transport.

Whether you are working on a ship or on the dockside, there are dangers associated with careers in this area. Apart from the obvious dangers of working on, or close to, water, you will usually be working with some of the largest manmade objects in the world. You will also need to work to tight deadlines, often throughout the day and night, and continually deal with new issues and problems that need to be overcome.

Security is also another major issue, as ports are commonly the first point of entry to the country for imported goods. Consequently, there are a number of legal requirements that must be strictly adhered to when working in oceanic freight. Attention to detail and vigilance are required, as the legal requirements vary depending on the nature of the cargo.

What does it take to work in maritime transport?

Whether you are chemically testing the inside of container ships, operating a crane, or you are the harbour master, it is important to remember you will be working in a hostile environment with lots of dangers.

The nature of transport and logistics means that there is work to be done 24 hours a day. Therefore, you may have to work unsociable hours and often you will be exposed to the elements. These careers require people with a hardy nature and you may have to spend long periods away from home.

On the plus side, there can be lots of opportunity to travel and the chance to work with people from all over the world.

If working port and starboard, day and night, all over the world appeals to your hardy, thick-skinned, sea-loving soul, this might just be perfect for you. Aye, aye!