The ship chandlery business was central to the existence and the social and political dynamics of ports and their waterfront areas.
Today's chandlers deal more in goods typical for fuel-powered commercial ships, such as oil tankers, container ships, bulk carriers. They supply the crew's food, ships maintenance supplies, cleaning compounds, paint, rope, et cetera. The advantage of a ship's crew using a chandler is that they do not have to find stores in the town they have landed in, nor hold that local currency - assuming they are let out of the dock compound by the immigration authorities. Typically, the ship owner has a line of credit with the chandler and is billed for anything delivered to the crew of his ship. The chandler is supplied by merchants local to his location.