What is ISPS code and why ISPS is charged

In Part 1 of this 2 Part series, we dealt with the topic of what ISPS means and the various parts of the ISPS Code and security levels..

Here, we will discuss why ISPS is charged and who gets charged for it..

For the safety and protection of all concerned, the ISPS code must be implemented in its fullest form..

This means the employment of qualified and trained personnel capable of implementing the security measures set by the port and the ship..

The security arrangements have to be done both from the Ships side and from the Ports side..


Security arrangements by the Ship

  • ISPS CodeCompany Security Officer ( CSO ) – is a person appointed to assess ship security and to implement the SSP (Ship Security Plan) as per the ISPS code.. The CSO monitors the situation, deal with it and modify the SSP as required..
  • Ship Security Officer ( SSO ) – is a person from the ship that is in charge of security on board the vessel.. The SSO nominates duties to the other crew to be carried out on board the ship..
  • Ship Security Plan ( SSP ) – is the plan that outlines the duty of the various crew members supervised by the SSO, that have to be followed during the various security levels..

Apart from the above personnel, there are also various security systems and equipment on board the ship, including metal detectors, remote alarms that notify a shore based authority about any security issues..

Security arrangements by the Port Facility

  • Each port appoints a Port Facility Security Officer ( PFSO ) with the primary responsibility of implementing the Port Facility Security Plan (PFSP) and also to assess the security at the port facility and fix the security levels for the port and the berth..
  • Port Facility Security Plan ( PFSP ) – is the plan of action that has to be followed by the port at the various security levels as per the guidelines set by the port and the ISPS code..
  • Similar to the ship side, the port facility also needs to have security systems and equipment like metal detectors, hand held scanners etc to detect any obvious threats inside the port..

As you can see from above, there is a lot of manpower, planning, equipments etc that goes into the implementation of the ISPS code and ensuring the safety and security of the ships crew, port staff and also of the cargo..

why is ISPS chargedIn order to cover these costs, the shipping lines/ship operators implement the ISPS Charges..

Therefore you might find that the lines charge what they call Carrier Security Fee which as the name implies is to cover the carriers cost towards the maintenance of the ISPS code and also Terminal Security Charge which as the name implies is to cover the cost of following the requirements of the ISPS code at the relevant port terminal..

The ISPS charges generally forms part of the freight quote and is required to be paid along with the freight..

The quantum of the ISPS charges are set by the line depending on the port of call as some of these costs are variable..


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  1. Thank you for articles like this one. I usually blindly calculate with various charges without knowing their real meaning and these articles help me improve my knowledge in the freight forwarding business.