General Question

Jonathan_hodgkins's avatar

Where to find manifests for cargo ships?

Asked by Jonathan_hodgkins (632points) July 16th, 2010

My work is located right next to a shipping channel in Boston. Often I’ll look out and see a rather large cargo ship and wonder about it’s contents. Do you know of any websites or other reference materials that are open to the public that list the manifest contents of cargo vessels or at least some idea of their shipping routes?

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5 Answers

Coloma's avatar

I have no idea, but what a great question!

You have piqued my curiosity!

Surely someone has an informative answer!

Zaku's avatar

Try Boston’s port authority office, harbormaster, or whatever they call it there.

Oh, evidently they call it the “Port of Boston” and it has a web page but its schedule doesn’t list cargo manifests. But if you contact them, they may have a lead.

jrpowell's avatar

I used to have a link to a googlemaps mash-up of the current routes of cargo ships. It didn’t tell you what was on it but it did tell you where it is from. I can’t find the link.

kelly's avatar

I have a college buddy who is a maritime attorney in NYC. He says that the bill-of-lading or manifest is considered confidential information due to theft at docks when loading or unloading and even pirating concerns. If it is off-loading in a US port then US Customs has access to that info as does Homeland Security and probably other “dark suits”. Others who know are the ship’s owner, and owner broker, the ships insurer, the leasee of the ship and the longshoremen’s contractor that loads or unloads the cargo.

grumpyfish's avatar

Most of the shipping companies have route information on their websites (might have to go digging) which will let you know where the ship came from and where it’s going next.

Here’s the link for Hanjin:

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