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Port City: Ship Tycoon Beginner’s Guide: Tips, Tricks & Strategies to Build a Global Ship Empire

Port City: Ship Tycoon is Pixel Federation Games’ latest treat for fans of business simulation and strategy games especially players who love ships and ship transport services. Although comparable to casual business simulator games at first glance, Port City: Ship Tycoon’s simple yet deep gameplay, requires some level of strategic planning and execution.

As the owner of a ship transport service company, your task is not simply limited to transferring cargo from point A to point B. Ships as well your warehouse needs constant management and upgrades and available jobs must constantly be attended to for earnings needed to sustain your company’s growth. Gameplay is basically a cycle of production, delivery, and job performance but each new task offers new sets of challenges.

port city ship tycoon guide

Port City: Ship Tycoon does offer fairly simple gameplay mechanics and controls but its unique concept requires time to get a hold of, especially if you have not yet played any similar games before. Fortunately, the tutorial session is aptly designed to ensure that all the basic are covered and unlocking new features as you progress also comes with brief explanations and guidance.

Knowing what to do and how to do it can lead to guaranteed progression and you can always move forward regardless of the choices you make. Port City: Ship Tycoon, however, has a progression system that is more heavily impacted by strategy. So if you have just started managing your port and ships and looking for the best ways to grow your business, our Port City: Ship Tycoon beginner’s guide can certainly provide you all the tips and strategies you need to become an ace port and ship tycoon!

1. Understand How Everything Works

It is possible that, like us, you are a beginner in Port City: Ship Tycoon but have played countless games you can very much relate to it. Usually, the “tycoon” part of the title makes it comparable with a lot of idle clicker business sim games that are designed to be too simple and straightforward. While Port City: Ship Tycoon revolves around the simple concept of providing a transport service, it does hold its own share mechanics you need to fully understand for you to go about each task at maximum efficiency.

Again, you can always make progress in Port City: Ship Tycoon and there are no mistakes that lead to a game over. But then, you would want to utilize your resources and capacity to its peak and make progress as fast as possible. There are instances for grind and then there are waiting times as well so planning ahead and strategizing every step of the way is important. With that, you need perfect understanding of everything to be able to plan each move perfectly.

There are currently 3 cities available for you to operate in although the latter 2 are locked behind level milestones. Our focus will be on the San Francisco, which is the first city, as learning to manage your business here leads ultimately prepares you to manage all 3 once you get there. You need a good level of familiarity with the different requirements and limitations surrounding your business venture to best know how to work around them.

First are the ships, which are your main tools of the trade. You need ships to pick up resources as well as deliver them and other merchandise to different clients. Ships need dispatchers, and you are likely to have more ships than available dispatchers at any time moving forward. You can acquire ships from the containers at the shop and you need keys or gems to purchase them.

port city ship tycoon tips

Ships come in 4 different rarity grades indicating their carrying capacity. You can view your ships and their details via the dock, which can be accessed through the ship icon at the left side of your screen. Depending on rarity, ships come with a starting capacity, which can be upgraded using parts and coins.

Your ships are essential for completing jobs, and you will always have at least 5 jobs consecutively waiting for you to pursue and accomplish. You can check available jobs via the checklist icon at the left side of the screen and the customer’s icons are also scattered across the city map.

Basically, each client requires a certain number of a product delivered to them for you to complete the job. Some deliveries take between seconds to an hour to complete. A job marked finished may not always mean that it has been completely fulfilled. It just means that all deliveries are in process and no additional deliveries are required. You can earn EXP, keys, and even gold coins for jobs completed.

There are resource spots in the city as well. These mines will never run out of resources like coal and iron in San Francisco. Initially, these resources make up the required supplies by the clients but as you progress, different materials from you will be required by customers. You can process the raw materials like coal and iron into various products needed by the clients within your factories. These factories can be located on your port, which you can access by clicking on the home button at the left side of your screen.

leveling up in port city ship tycoon

Raw materials, as well as processed products, are almost always required to be in supply. Raw materials can be gathered in as short as 30 seconds but manufacturing through the mill and smelting plant takes minutes to complete a batch. While stocking up is always a great idea, there is a limit to what you can hold as you have a warehouse with finite space available. It can be upgraded as well using coins so long as you have met the required population but you need to be able to manage your inventory with its limited space.

At some point early on, your port will expand to include a city that can grow and develop. Buildings can be added and upgraded using resources and every additional building and upgrade will increase the port’s population. Remember that increasing the population is important because it is a requirement for expanding your warehouse.

Knowing all these mechanics are just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak, as you will need to constantly keep all in balance while performing upgrades for growth and all while continuing to cater to the jobs at hand.

2. Strategize On Job Deliveries

Accomplishing jobs in Port City: Ship Tycoon is the only way for you to earn EXP. Given that you need EXP to level up and unlock more features and locations, your level stands as the most important indicator of your progress. Jobs are also your primary source of keys needed to purchase basic containers that earn you additional ships. In this sense, you can consider all activities you engage in as secondary ones in support of fulfilling jobs around you.

There are always more than one job available at a time and there are no constraints as to which one you can take on first so long as you have the capacity to do so. There is also nothing that prevents you from catering to different customers simultaneously if you have the means to carry out multiple tasks. Progress can be made regardless of your choices but for efficiency’s sake, it is the best to plan and strategize before taking on any job.

You will naturally have to look into the details of any available job. Going for ones that you can accomplish a lot easier should be dealt with first. The resources needed are your primary concern. If, in San Francisco, for example, the client requests coals or iron, then it is hardly a problem at all.

You can easily proceed to mine either resource for 30 seconds and be ready to deliver the same to your client. Even if the required amount is by the hundreds, knowing that the needed resource does not require further processing makes it an easy job to fulfill.

port city ship tycoon job list

Another very important detail to check is the time it takes to complete a delivery. Deliveries that can be completed in seconds are abundant early on but as you complete more jobs and unlock others, you will encounter jobs that take a full hour to complete a delivery.

That is a full hour per trip and it would be the only waiting time for that job if your ship or ships can carry all the merchandise in one go. In some cases, it will take several trips for even all your ships to complete the delivery so it may be the best to take a breather when taking on these jobs.

Last, but equally an important factor that would delimit your capacity to accomplish jobs later on, are ship qualifications for some jobs. Early on, jobs will allow any of your available ships to make a delivery but then, some jobs will have restrictions relative to the ship’s grade.

It can be a concern especially for gold-ranked jobs as only legendary grade ships are viable to take it on. This same restriction will apply to purple or epic grade ships and once these types of jobs start to appear on your map, you need to strategize even more to work around them.

The best approach towards completing jobs is to go for the quick ones first while you have plenty of time to spend in your virtual port business. Once you are ready to log out of Port City: Ship Tycoon and take a long break, that would be the time to send all your ships to accomplish those jobs that take an hour to finish deliveries. In the case of jobs that require ships of a specific grade, you should always keep those ships in mind and not send them on long missions with jobs that can be accepted by other ships.

3. Do Not Hesitate To Upgrade Your Ships

Given that the ships you own stand as the bread and butter of your thriving port city, it is only practical to consider them at the top of your priorities as far as investments go. Ships have a default carrying capacity based on their rarity grade but this can be further improved with parts and some coins.

For the parts, there are no other uses for this resource save for the ships, and ships of a specific grade can only use specific rarity of parts as well. For the gold coins, though, these can be used to upgrade the warehouse.

port city ship tycoon dock

The best source of parts needed to upgrade your ships come from the free boxes you can claim from the shop. Just like containers, the boxes employ a gacha approach and rewards you parts of a random rarity. You can claim free boxes once every 4 hours and after doing so, you can play a short video ad to open another box. There are daily offers that present you ways of securing parts using either coins or gems and then there is a big box you can purchase with 50 gems.

With probabilities naturally favoring lower grade ships and parts, you will naturally find yourself securing extra copies of some ships, ensuring that you will never have shortage of the most basic parts. In any case, there is a very limited selection of ships you can obtain especially before you unlock the other cities and there is hardly any need to keep duplicate ships.

What you can do is to dismantle double copies of the ships you do not need and obtain parts based on their rarity grade. You can do this on the ship menu, through the “dismantle duplicates” button at the upper left corner of the page. Note that once you unlock a new city, a separate tab will showcase ships for that city, giving utilization exclusivity that applies to ships relative to the city they can be used on.

port city ship tycoon ship upgrade

You can spend all the parts you have to upgrade each unique ship in your port. After all, you will greatly benefit from ships with a higher carrying capacity as it eases down travels and can cut times to complete a job. With regard to the gold coins you need for the upgrades, only keep an extra amount for when you are ready and in dire need to upgrade your warehouse.

4. Spend Your Gems Wisely

Port City: Ship Tycoon almost entirely lets you reap rewards based on your efforts and the more jobs you complete basically determines how many rewards you earn along with the level up rewards that come with the EXP you earn from each task. There are free gold coins to earn if you have an available ship to haul it at the top of the map and then there are free containers as well that get you the parts you need to upgrade your ships and increase their carrying capacity.

Considering all the above, there will hardly be any crucial need to spend gems, which stand as the premium currency in the game. Gems have the most number of uses and some of these purchases can only be done with gems. While a job or transport is in process, you can spend gems to instantly complete the task. It seems very handy for jobs that take an hour to complete but at the rate at which you earn gems, you may want to save them for better use.

how to spend gems in port city ship tycoon

Gems can also be used to purchase better containers and boxes that promises higher probability of obtaining higher grade items. Higher probabilities, however, does not really come with guarantees so if you are tempted to spend gems on these purchases, keep in mind that higher probabilities are not the equivalent of any guarantee whatsoever. It would be painful to spend 150 gems on a premium container if you only get a rare ship out of it.

One exclusive and important use for gems are factory upgrades. The mill and the smelting plant can also be only upgraded using gems. Each factory can only maintain 2 stocks of a finished product and to increase that, you will need to spend some gems. This will be an important investment as production takes longer for products that become available after progressing through higher levels. However, planning and strategy can lead to advanced production ensuring you will have the supplies you need for when you need it.

5. Invest In Permanent Pilots Only

At the shop, one of the options to spend gems on are the captains or pilots for your ships. Again, you will have a lot of ships as you make progress but without anyone to man and navigate them, you will only be limited to the available pilots you have. Getting the first 3 is practically effortless. Once a day, you can play a video ad to temporarily recruit a pilot and utilize him for an hour. Of course you would have to do this at a time when you can accomplish a lot of jobs and it will be a challenge to fully utilize a pilot for a full hour straight.

Most pilots available require you to spend gems to be able to use them for an hour or a day and it certainly costs a lot of gems for something that is only temporary. We highly recommend that you avoid spending your gems for temporary effects and if ever you want to spend your gems on something, at least consider pilots that will be permanently yours to work with.

recruiting pilots in port city ship tycoon

Once you reach level 10, you can hire a new pilot by spending 400 steel bars or 150 gems. This is a very tempting offer to spend gems but producing and delivering 400 steel bars is a relatively easy feat. The challenge that comes with this is managing your warehouse well enough to hold all 400 steel bars along with other resources you need to carry out job deliveries.

Once you have 4 pilots, another offer will pop up under the “pilots” category of the shop. This time, you can hire another pilot at level 15 using gems, or wait until you reach level 26 to be able to unlock the pilot using resources you can manufacture.

Although this is yet another decision point for you to save your gems given an existing alternative, the 11 levels of difference in availability is actually a huge gap to consider. We definitely recommend that you be ready to save up gems to make the purchase once you reach the required level as you will be needing more pilots for when you unlock the next city of operations.

6. Accomplish Achievements For More Gems

There is also an achievements feature in Port City: Ship Tycoon, providing players with gems as rewards for milestones they reach across various aspects of their virtual port business venture. Early on, you will discover that you have actually accomplished several of these achievements without even knowing what the specific objectives are.

For efficiency, however, and a play through that is more focused on earning more gems quickly, it is recommended that you browse through the list of achievement objectives and keep tabs on some that are relatively easier to accomplish for you.

Most of the achievement targets come in tiers, which means that a next higher level target appears once you have satisfied the current one. You can obtain at least 2 gems for every objective you meet and each claim comes with an ad boost that lets you double the amount of gems you get.

port city ship tycoon achievements

The video ads you need to watch to receive twice as many gems in achievements stretches between 5 and 30 seconds. As it is important that you claim as many gems as possible, you can simply play an ad while some of your production or job deliveries are in progress. In this sense, you are making perfect use of the waiting time to play the ads and score more gems.

Tied up to your milestones are the value points or VP that you earn from regions unlocked, ships obtained, and various other accomplishments. Earning VP also leads to a level up of sorts that you can check if you click on your company headquarters, which is the tall building inside your port.

You can change your avatar here but visits are the best focused on checking your company rank, particularly the targets you need to achieve to reach the next level. Each rank up comes with handsome rewards, which often included large sums of gems.

port city ship tycoon company hq

Port City: Ship Tycoon also provides additional opportunities for players to earn even more gems. Within the shop, there is a “free gems” section that takes you to a long list of ways to earn huge sums of gems for free. These offers typically involve installing and playing different games and reaching specific milestones in each of them.

Of course, it can be expected that this opportunity is not for everyone but if you have a lot of free time on your hands and would really want to fast forward your progress in Port City: Ship Tycoon without spending any money, then check each of the available offers out.

Port City: Ship Tycoon can certainly keep you entertained several hours over but it is still a casual game. Playing long hours is definitely not the recommended approach given the waiting times of some jobs.

earning gems in port city ship tycoon

For the best results without necessarily jeopardizing efficiency, you should employ quick but regular visits to your virtual port city. Align your visit and managing schedules to completion times of jobs, completion times of manufacturing and city upgrades, cool down periods of free boxes, and availability of free gold.

And that concludes our Port City: Ship Tycoon Beginner’s Guide and we hope that the simple tips and strategies we shared will help you become the top port city tycoon faster than ever. A fourth city promises to become available soon and we are likewise expecting even more content to become available in the game following future updates.

If you have spent a lot of hours in Port City: Ship Tycoon and have uncovered your very own tricks and strategies beyond what we have discussed, feel free to share them with us in the comment area!


Sunday 7th of August 2022

The game won’t let me go onto Rotterdam, what can I do to fix this?


Monday 13th of December 2021

How or when does train trade start to receive city plans


Wednesday 31st of August 2022

@Mike, train trade comes available when reaching lvl 11.

Clint T

Tuesday 2nd of November 2021

How do I unlock level 1 or 2 ships with keys after level 3 is unlocked?

Greg Richbourg

Sunday 31st of October 2021

Why am I not level 100? I have 10249 xpout of 10249 xp. I am still on level 99.


Monday 8th of November 2021

@Greg Richbourg, the same story with me and they don’t reply..

Pete Taylor

Sunday 31st of October 2021

I can’t get beyond level 99, is there something I need to do or that the end of the game.