Port operatives are based in small or large ports and harbours and carry out a range of tasks involving handling cargo, passengers or marine craft. This can involve operating equipment and driving vehicles.
There are three main areas that come under the term port operative:
stevedoring – transferring cargo between ship and shore
marine operations – working on marine craft and assisting with movements
passenger operations – assisting the movement of passengers to and from vessels such as ferries and cruise ships.
As a stevedore you could be:
loading or unloading cargo using cranes, conveyor belts or pipes
positioning and securing containers on freight ships
using forklift trucks, electric trolleys or other machinery to move cargo to storage areas on shore
tying and untying the ships' ropes when arriving and leaving port
maintaining equipment and machinery.
As a marine operative you could be:
moving buoys and markers in and out of the water
operating vessels and using radio and radar systems, usually under supervision
transporting passengers and crew from shore to ship.
As a passenger operative you could be:
loading and unloading baggage to and from the ship
directing vehicles and assisting passengers getting on and off the ship
checking travel documents
providing travel information on sailing times, weather and local facilities.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
where you work
the size of the company or organisation you work for
the demand for the job.
The starting salary for port operatives is usually around £15,000 a year. This can rise up to around £26,000 with experience.
Stevedore and marine operation duties are outdoors, in all weathers, and indoors in ship cargo holds and storage areas onshore.
Work can be physically demanding and you may have to work at heights.
Passenger operative duties can be outdoors and in a harbour or port office.
In all cases, you would work shifts, including early mornings, evenings and weekends, and you may be on call.