Guide to Astrakhan Sea Port JSC

(hereinafter referred to as the Guide) is a code of practices governing:

  • Operational policies of Astrakhan Sea Port JSC, hereinafter referred to as the Port;
  • Procedures and conditions of a vessel admission to the Port; loading, unloading, and servicing of vessels in the Port;
  • Procedures and conditions of cargo storage, delivery to, and dispatching from the Port using railroad, motor, and other types of transport;

The Guide is based upon:

  • The Civil Code of the Russian Federation (Article 5);
  • The Federal Law of the Russian Federation No 261-FZ of November 08, 2007 "On Sea Ports and On Amendments to Certain Legislation of the Russian Federation";
  • Articles of Association of the Astrakhan Sea Port JSC;
  • International practices of commercial port operation;
  • Merchant Marine Code of the Russian Federation, to the extent compliant to the legislation of the Russian Federation;
  • Policy on Vessel Handling;
  • Policy on Document Flow.

▽ Terms and Definitions

The following Terms and expressions when used in this Guide have the following meaning:

Cargo — means any cargo, including its packaging, means of cargo consolidation, containers, and/or other means intended for and specifically manufactured for transportation, protection, and/or upholding the cargo.

Expeditor — means duly authorized representative of the cargo owner;

Agent — means an authorized representative of the vessel owner / freighter in the Port for the specific vessel call / a series of calls;

Client — is any individual or legal person, who:

  • visits the Port's premises;
  • is the owner or expeditor of cargo delivered to the Port;
  • is the owner, captain, or crew member of a vessel admitted to the Port;
  • rents warehouse space, equipment, and/or machinery.

Port Territory — means a fenced area, including storage yards and facilities, and access railroad for cargo delivery by rail.

Fine Business Day — means a day when the weather makes it possible to safely conduct necessary cargo handling operations in accordance with applicable Occupational Safety Rules, Rules for Safe Cargo Handling Equipment, and without threat to the safety of staff, cargo, vessel, port facilities and equipment.

▽ Operational Policies

The Port is open for vessels during navigation period. The first and last days of the summer navigation period are announced in official notification by the Marine Port Authority.

Procedure and conditions of rendering icebreaker services for the vessels coming to and from the Port are advised in relevant notification by the Port.

Normal working hours of the Port are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. except for weekends and public holidays. The Port offers contractual services 24 hours a day. Public holidays are those announced by the Government of the Russian Federation as days-off.

Cargo handling operations are conducted on fine business days.

Vessel admission to the Port for servicing, berthing, and/or other procedures is subject to either advance permit and port's confirmation of admission, or valid contract (agreement).

Cargo delivered by railroad is accepted 24 hours a day.

▽ Services

Based upon contracts (agreements) with vessel owners and/or vessel owner agents, cargo owners and/or cargo expeditors, freighters, and/or other Clients, the Port renders the following works and services within the Port territory and associated water area:

  • cargo loading, unloading, separation, fixing, and securing (water and railroad transport);
  • freight-forwarding services;
  • warehouse operations;
  • issuance of bills of lading, manifests, waybills and other documents for loaded/unloaded cargo;
  • mooring services;
  • issuance of free pratique for a vessel.

The Port conducts all these works and services using public berth, storage yards, and cargo handling areas applying its own equipment and machinery.

Involvement of other transportation means for the purposes of the cargo handling under this Guide shall be based upon and follow relevant agreements with the owners of the transportation means and/or their authorized representatives.

The Port renders cargo loading, unloading, and warehousing services based upon direct contracts with the cargo owners and/or Expeditors and/or authorized representatives.

Subject to additional requests, the Port is capable of rendering the following services:

  • cargo maintenance (packaging repair and/or replacement, etc.);
  • cargo labeling and/or re-labeling;
  • special fixing of cargo on the transport vehicles;
  • other contractual (agreed) works and services, including calculation of dispatch and demurrage fees.

The services rendered by the Port and Expeditor are paid in accordance with contractual terms and relevant tariffs.

▽ Guarantees

Each Client intending to use the Port's services, shall confirm his/her ownership of the cargo and/or transport vehicle arriving to the Port, or that he/she is duly authorized by the cargo and/or transport vehicle owner, and shall further acknowledge that he/she undertakes to follow this Guide both personally and acting on behalf of any other physical or legal person(s) as such person(s) agent.

Unless otherwise agreed to between the Client and the Port and/or Expeditor, the Client guarantees that the cargo and/or transport vehicle delivered and/or destined to the Port by the Client:

  1. poses no threat and shall not pose any threat as delivered and/or during storage at the Port's premises;
  2. is not toxic and shall not become toxic and/or source any harmful gas, dust, liquid, and/or emission;
  3. shall not pollute and/or pose threat or damage to any person(s), cargo, equipment, water, and the Port's territory;
  4. is correctly and appropriately packed in accordance with applicable rules and regulations;
  5. bears correct labeling, including warning signs in case of hazardous cargo, and relevant special transportation requirements signs;
  6. contains no narcotics, contraband, pornography, and/or other illegal materials prohibited in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation.

▽ Vehicle Service Queue

Priority of a vessel berthing and servicing, as well as admission of any other transport vehicles to the Port shall be established by the Port and Expeditor on the basis of current Policy on Vessel Admission and Servicing.

The Port shall not be liable for demurrage of vessels and/or other transport vehicles and any indirect losses resulting from such vessel's and/or vehicle's unavailability for servicing through no fault of the Port.

▽ Information on Vessel's Approach

Cargo owner or Expeditor at the Port shall file to the Port at least five days in advance of the beginning of each month a schedule of the vessel's approach for loading, specifying:

  • name and loading characteristics of the vessel;
  • day of entering the Port;
  • list and amount of cargo.

The captain and/or vessel owner's / freighter's agent, cargo owner, and/or expeditor shall notify the Port on expected arrival of the vessel to the Port 5 days in advance, later on validating the information 72 hours, 24 hours, and 4 hours before expected arrival to the Port, specifying:

  • names of the vessel owner and freighter for the specific vessel call;
  • adjusted time of arrival to the berth;
  • overall dimensions of the vessel according to the ship's certificate;
  • vessel's draft at arrival and expected draft at departure;
  • the number and size of cargo hatches;
  • cargo plan;
  • complete information about freight documents.

The Port shall agree with Expeditor and acknowledge acceptance of the vessel for servicing and specify the location where the vessel shall be berthed for servicing.

In case of late supply of the nomination (request for admission of the vessel for servicing), or a vessel arriving without the Port's permission, the vessel shall be admitted to servicing in accordance with the queue as of the moment of filing the notice of readiness for cargo handling by the vessel.

The captain of the vessel shall notify Expeditor or Agent on any delays en route which may delay arrival of the vessel as to the expected arrival time.

The Port shall confirm the information and notify the captain, Agent, and/or freighter expected date of the vessel berthing.

▽ Port Charges

Vessels arriving to the Port for cargo handling services shall not be liable for port charges; vessels entering the Port for lay-up shall be charged in accordance with applicable tariffs.

▽ Berth Time Accounting

Berth time at the Port is the time the vessel spends in the Port starting from its arrival (complete mooring at the berth).

Berth time at the Port stops at the moment the vessel leaves the Port (starts unmooring).

To record actual berth time at the Port, tallymen on the Port side and vessel shall keep timesheet in the prescribed form, recording in chronological order hours and minutes (accuracy of up to 5 minutes) time of all operations from the moment the vessel arrives to the Port and until the moment it departs, including any and all delays in servicing resulting in disruption of laytime and specifying duration and cause(s) of such delays supported with appropriate certificates if required.

In case the vessel is unloaded then loaded at the Port, there must be two separate timesheets prepared for loading and unloading operations. The timesheet is signed by the captain, agent, and, if necessary, by the freighter's representative (seller, buyer, or their representatives). No corrections in the timesheet are allowed.

Signing of the timesheet by the parties shall not withhold the vessel's departure. None of the parties shall have right to withhold its signature. In case of a dispute, the disputing party shall make respective remark in front of its signature.

For vessels with export cargoes, the Port shall attach to the timesheet a cargo plan and any acts in support of the laytime disruption.

Original timesheet shall be stored by the Agent and in the vessel's file, with a copy filed to the stevedore function of the Port. The timesheet shall be signed by all parties and filed by the vessel's agent within two (2) hours after completion of services.

▽ Vessel Readiness for Servicing

The captain shall submit the notice of readiness for loading or unloading within normal working hours of the Port upon receiving of free pratique for the vessel (after arrival registration, customs and sanitary clearance; and additionally after completion of unloading, in case the vessel is to be loaded after unloading).

The vessel's cargo spaces in accordance with the Notice shall be dry, clean, and supplied with any equipment necessary for loading respective cargo.

The vessel shall be considered ready for loading of general cargoes if it bears clear loadline mark, visible draft scale used for a determination of the amount of loaded cargo on the basis of the vessel's draft, absence of ballast water (or permanent amount of ballast water before and after loading), and fitness of the cargo spaces for respective cargo.

Notice of readiness shall be submitted on condition of complete readiness of the vessel for loading or unloading of respective cargo from all cargo spaces to be serviced the Port, availability of the complete set of cargo documents, and completion of the customs, quarantine, sanitary, and other formalities. However, loading order bearing the Customs' approval stamp shall be submitted by Expeditor at least 4 hours in advance of the beginning of expected vessel servicing.

In certain cases, readiness of the vessel for loading / unloading needs to be confirmed by special inspection (commission).

Notice of readiness of the vessel for cargo handling shall be signed by representative of the Port's commercial department or stevedore with the indication of the beginning of laytime record.

▽ Procedure for the Laytime Calculation

The laytime means the working time required for loading / unloading of the cargo at the Port in accordance with the contract and/or this Guides, including cargo separation, weighing, standard fixing and securing (in accordance with IML rules), and stowing; opening, closing, and locking the cargo hatches; issuance of documents for unloaded / loaded cargo; dry cleaning of the cargo spaces after unloading, bunkering with fuel and water supply to the vessel if it is impossible to do during the cargo handling operations; mooring operations as required for the cargo handling operations taking into consideration specialty of the Port's berth.

If the vessel requests special fixing / securing cargo, exercising labor-consuming preliminary operations, then additional time shall be allocated for the cargo unloading at the Port, which sums up with the laytime as the time actually spent for such requested operations.

The laytime shall be calculated by dividing the weight (amount) of the cargo in tons (units) by standard loading / unloading rate for the vessel of specific class under condition of a fine business day. If a vessel is loaded with cargoes having different standard loading rate, then the weight of specific cargo is divided by relevant standard loading rate per fine business day. If the cargoes are loaded/unloaded not to/from all cargo holds of a vessel, then the standard rate is to be multiplied by the number of the cargo hatches to be used and divided by the total number of the cargo hatches in the vessel. The laytime required for cargo handling operations shall be increased by the time required for auxiliary operations which could not be performed simultaneously with the basic cargo handling operations.

The time on Sundays, Saturdays and pre-holiday days after 3:00 p.m., Mondays and post-holiday days before 8:00 a.m. shall not be recorded as the laytime regardless of any servicing rendered to the vessel during that time.

The laytime shall start at 5:00 p.m. if the notice of readiness of the vessel for cargo handling operations was accepted before 12:00 p.m.; otherwise, if the notice is accepted after 12:00 p.m., the laytime starts at 08:00 a.m. the next day.

The laytime is suspended if it is impossible to perform the cargo handling operations accounted for in the laytime due to the following reasons:

  • bad weather (precipitations, frost, heat, heavy wind, fall of water level), lock-out, and other force-majeure events and consequences thereof (if the Port finds it technically and organizationally possible to serve the vessel in bad weather, the time is excluded from the laytime);
  • through the fault of the vessel's administration, freighter, cargo owner;
  • if the captain or the cargo forwarder / freighter changes the cargo plan, then the laytime count is suspended from the moment of official notification on such change - for 24 hours (if the time is required for the cargo preparation, cargo inventory inspection, cargo arrival, etc.) or permanently until clearance of the issues underlying the changes, even if the cargo handling operations had never been stopped; actual time spent for the cargo unloading from the spaces not suitable for normal operation of staff and equipment, as well as unloading of the off-spec cargoes and cargoes in damaged packaging, shall be added to the laytime.

▽ Obligations of the Vessel

The vessel shall accept or give out the cargo day or night, weekends or holidays, supplying free electricity, lighting, compressed air, hoists, cranes, and other equipment required for the cargo loading / unloading.

Before start of the cargo handling operations, the vessel shall inform the Port on all structural and engineering particulars of the vessel which are potentially relevant to the cargo handling. The Port shall not be held liable for damaging to the vessel during the cargo handling operations as a result of the vessel's omission to protect the vessels structures beforehand (staircases, ballast tank lids, framing, etc.).

The cargo shall be accepted to the vessel or received from it alongside the vessel by tallymen of the Port and vessel, with mandatory execution of a written confirmation in the prescribed form. Both tallymen shall sign certificate for each lift and the total amount of the cargo loaded/unloaded in a shift. Any changes to the tallymen's certificates shall be subject to their mutual consent and shall be certified by signatures of both tallymen of the Port and the vessel. The tallymen's certificates with unsolicited changes or amended by the vessel unilaterally shall be considered invalid. If the vessel fails to provide tallymen on its behalf, a separate act shall be drawn to certify the decision, and the certificates executed by the Port's tallymen shall be adopted regardless of the fact if the captain is informed about the amount of the cargo loaded / unloaded; the captain shall be obliged to sign the cargo documents prepared on the basis of the Port tallymen's certificates without any complaints.

The vessel shall give the cargo out by bills of laden. Any additional expenses caused by the requirement to unload the cargo in the order of the bills of laden shall be paid by the vessel.

If loading / unloading operations are suspended or bad weather is coming, the vessel shall be obliged to close and open the cargo holds. If the Port's onshore cranes are used for this, the vessel shall pay additional costs.

In case of operational downtime due to the reasons on the vessel's side (failure of the vessel's cargo handling equipment, absence of electricity, lighting, suspension or limitation of the cargo handling operations by request or through the fault of the vessel's administration, etc.), the vessel shall be charged on the basis of the applicable Port's tariff rates, and the downtime shall be excluded from the laytime.

The vessel shall pay for the following movements:

  1. 1. movements, relating to the vessel's loading / unloading:
    • the first two movements - in any case;
    • the following movements - if necessitated by complex loading with account for the specialty of the Port's berths.
  2. 2. movements, not relating to the loading / unloading operations (any movements due to reasons on the vessel's side).

In all other cases the movement shall be paid by the requesting side.

On the Port's request, the vessel shall vacate the berth unless it undergoes the cargo handling operations. If the vessel fails to comply with the Port's request, the vessel shall pay to the Port for the use of the berth (nonproductive downtime of the berth) at the rates introduced from time to time by the Port's internal Orders, and is additionally liable for any damage suffered by any third parties.

▽ Responsibility for the Cargo Stowage, Fixing, and Separation in the Vessel

The cargo shall be stowed in the vessel in accordance with the cargo plan signed by the vessel's captain and approved by the Port and Expeditor / representative of the cargo owner.

If heavy (over 8 tons) and/or long (over 11 m) cargo is to be loaded to the vessel, then before the start of the cargo loading operations the vessel administration shall submit to the Port, in addition to the cargo plan, a scheme of such cargo stowage and fixing, taking into account allowable load on the decks of the cargo holds and availability of fixing shackles.

The vessel's administration shall be responsible for correct allocation, stowing, fixing, separation, and safety of the cargo in the vessel's cargo holds.

The vessel's administration shall have the right to suspend loading/unloading operations until elimination of violations. No claims shall be accepted in respect of violations identified beyond the violating working shift.

The vessel owner shall be responsible for separation of the cargoes according to the bills of laden and for the quality of the separation.

The vessel owner shall be liable for any losses resulting from incorrect loading of the vessel.

Loading on deck requires written approval by the cargo owner.

Mounting of racks for the cargo loading on deck and the cargo fixing shall be paid by the vessel, which shall bear responsibility for the arrangement regardless whether the job is performed by the vessel's crew or by the Port according to the captain's request.

Any works related to the cargo separation and/or fixing/securing on the vessel shall be paid by the vessel.

Materials for the cargo separation and/or fixing for transportation shall be supplied and paid by the freighter or the cargo owner.

The vessel shall supply special implements, such as, turnbuckles, steel ropes, clips, and other used for the cargo fixing.

If there is no separate contract with the vessel owner to this regard, then the cost of the cargo fixing, fixing implements and separation materials shall be paid by the cargo owner or the Expeditor.

In case of the liner ships, the cargo separation and fixing materials are supplied and paid by the vessel owners.

Additional expenses related to the cargo unloading from any spaces not suitable for normal operation of staff and equipment, as well as unloading of the off-spec cargoes and cargoes in damaged packaging, shall be paid by the cargo owner.

▽ Cargo Handling Procedures

Unless otherwise agreed in writing between the Client, the Port, and the Expeditor, the Port shall have the right to choose any means, procedures, and methods of the cargo acceptance, stowing, roping, transportation, loading, unloading, allocation, and accounting.

▽ Responsibility of the Parties

The Port shall not be liable for short delivery, loss, damage, or overcarriage of the cargoes unacknowledged by the Port, or any damage to the vessel regardless of the time of such damage, unless the Client is able to prove that such shortage, loss, damage, or overcarriage of the cargoes unacknowledged by the Port results through the fault of negligence, misconduct, or omission by the Port and/or the Expeditor.

The Port shall not be liable for any shortage, loss, damage, or overcarriage of a cargo or damage to the vessel resulting from the following circumstances:

  • force-majeure circumstances: storm, tornado, flood;
  • fire, explosion, fumigation;
  • strike, lockout, and/or other united actions;
  • war, revolution, revolt, and/or other civil unrest;
  • inappropriate and/or insufficient cargo package;
  • inappropriate, insufficient, unclear, or incorrect labeling of the cargo;
  • damage by insects, pests, rotting, or corrosion;
  • heat or cold;
  • any willful wrongdoing and/or actions by a third party either duly admitted to the Port territory by the Port and/or the Expeditor, or not;
  • any actions by the Port, its staff, and/or agents, called for to ensure security and safety of people, territory of the Port, vessels, and/or cargoes;
  • insufficient staffing, equipment, fuel and power supply;
  • complete or partial failure of some systems, including complete or partial failure of the communication means.

If the Port is liable for damage to:


maximum damage compensation shall be equal to the cost of the cargo in question, not exceeding:

  • $100.0 for each piece of cargo or 10 tons in case of bulk cargo;
  • $1,500.0 for a single case of compensation in total.


maximum damage compensation shall be:

  • equal to the cost of the damaged item in question as of the moment of damaging and/or loss;
  • equal to the cost of repair (as collectively determined by the surveyors appointed by the Port and the vessel owner);

in any case, total compensation shall not exceed $2,000.


  • maximum damage compensation shall be equal to the cost of repair (as collectively determined by the surveyors appointed by the Port and the vessel owner), or the cost of the equipment in question, however not exceeding $200 for each piece of equipment.

Liability of the parties (the vessel, the Port, the freighter, the cargo owner) in respect of observance of deadlines and loading/unloading conditions, including rates of dispatch/demurrage fees shall be set forth in the respective contracts (agreements).

The Port shall be liable to the vessel owner for the vessel damage caused through the fault of the Port, as certified by appropriate act drawn with participation of the Port's representative within the working shift when such damage is inflicted.

The Port shall have the right to utilize at it believes fit the cargoes which are, the Port's opinion, incorrectly labeled, addressed, or appear unidentifiable and the Port is unable to determine the vessel to which the cargo should be loaded or where to dispatched, or the cargoes which are not received by the consignee or removed from the Port facilities within 90 days from arriving to the Port. Any expenses associated with storage, handling, and utilization of such cargoes shall be attributed to the Client and compensated to the Port from the price received for the utilized cargo.

Disposal of a cargo which becomes useless due to prolonged storage shall be carried out and paid by the owner / owner's representative of the cargo.