Ports and terminals around the world handle billions of tonnes of cargo every year in seamless operations between the port itself and the ships that call day in-day out. Organising the calls of ships and the necessary operation to load or discharge cargo takes a skilled and experienced person that understands the workings of ships, and that can anticipate any challenges that might arise, for example through weather delays.
A Harbour Master, or whatever the local variation, is the official responsible the safety of navigation, the security of the harbour and the orderly operation of the port facilities. Working with his or her port officials, the Harbour Master will manage and regulate the shipping traffic of his or her port.
Usually, a Harbour Master is a certificated master Mariner, although this is not always a prerequisite. However, having a good knowledge of the characteristics of the port and its whole area is, as a Harbour Master is expected to tell the Ships’ master or Captain when they can enter or leave, and at which berth to dock, among other duties.