The figure of the shipping agent was born around 1800 with the advent of steam navigation and the consequent and progressive development of maritime traffic. He was in charge of carrying out on their behalf a whole series of juridical acts and material operations.
The figure grew in prestige over the years until it assumed all the duties that were originally carried out by the ship’s captain and – in 1887 – was mentioned for the first time in the Merchant Marine Code (art. 117).
The professional figure was subsequently defined in the Law 426 of 29 April 1940, and was then modified several times, until arriving at the current provision regulated by Law 135/1977 on the “Discipline of the profession of ship’s agent”.
At the arrival of the ship, the forwarding agent appointed by the consignee (Gragnani Group can offer its services as forwarding agent) will attend the visit of the Guardia di Finanza and will take care of having the cargo manifests signed by the captain, which will be progressively numbered and dated, endorsed.
This, together with other annotations, is the basis of the information that the shipper must transfer on the manifest goods arrived (MMA), now computerized with the system AIDA (Automazione Integrata Dogane Accise).
Otherwise, the goods in transit will be listed separately from the landing goods, will be reported on the goods in departure manifest (MMP), a document necessary to obtain the shipment of the vessel by the Port Authority.