Who is?

Hi. I am a shipping company director, transport academic, author, family man and all round nice guy. I have worked as shipbroker, shipowner, freight trader and bulk charterer, in senior positions, with some of the largest and most disrespected (joke) companies in the world. Ask my advice on all things shipping and you will receive my blunt and always honest answer. Hang around to learn more about chartering and ship broker salaries, chartering and ship broker jobs, chartering and shipbroker recruitment agencies, cheap freight, maritime education, chartering and ship broker qualifications, become a ship broker, tips on how to be a successful bulk shipping executive, philosophy, Zen and the art of shipbroking, and much more. Yours The Virtual Shipbroker (recently proclaimed the guru of shipbroking) Copyright © 2009-14 by Virtualshipbroker

Monday, March 9, 2015

When to include ship brokerage?


VS / Will

Good day

long time listener, first time writer!

I managed to secure a broking job for a small broker firm in London. I have been doing a bit of short-sea as a way to learn/cut my teeth. I have one question regards brokerage. 

We got a request from some close charterers to get tonnage and rates for an order they had. I sent out the order to owners with our brokerage included on it. We then got rates/tonnage back from owners which we sent on to charterers for their guidance. When I sent the tonnage/rate onwards I did not included our brokerage as I understood that owners will be paying. Therefore, charterers do not need to see the brokerage as we collect it from owners. Am I correct in this thinking?




Hi Will. Congratulations on your new job. Yes you are right the charterers don't necessarily need to know about the brokerage except in the recap if you fix or if they ask explicitly

Thanks for the post


state of affairs - interesting article


Shipping industry faces shake up as private equity unwinds bets

SINGAPORE, March 4 Tue Mar 3, 2015 9:00pm GMT
(Reuters) - As global shipping grapples with its worst downturn in 30 years, private equity firms are unwinding massive bets made on the sector in a move set to accelerate a restructuring of the shipping industry.
Private equity invested tens of billions in global shipping after the 2008 financial crisis, but weaker Chinese demand and an oversupply of ships has driven down freight rates and caused firms to idle vessels and in some cases file for bankruptcy.
At least five private-equity backed shipping firms are seeking share listings, though it's unclear whether they will be able to price them to make a profit.
Industry sources also expect mergers and acquisitions to drive more consolidation in one of the world's most fragmented industries. According to shipping services firm Clarkson, 70 percent of the sector's thousands of firms own fewer than 51 vessels.
"People who invested in dry bulk are likely losing their shirts. Those that invested in container ships probably feel disappointed," said Jim Furnivall, managing partner of Alterna Capital Partners.
The New York-based private equity firm had generated "great but not spectacular" gains in its investments in clean tankers, vessels that carry refined products, he said.
Private equity invested $32 billion in shipping from January 2012 to January 2014, maritime fund management firm Tufton Oceanic estimates. This is equivalent to 22 percent of the total value of the world merchant fleet, including ships on order.
Harold Malone, managing director of maritime investment banking at investment bank Jefferies, said private equity exits were likely to "accelerate into 2015 and 2016" after it appeared a number of "potentially terrible" investments had been made, though he said crude tanker investments may turn out better due to a revival in rates last year.
Principal Maritime Tankers Corp, backed by Apollo Global Management, is seeking to raise up to $100 million and containership operator Costamare Partners LP , supported by York Capital Management, is also hoping to raise $100 million.
Singapore's Miclyn Express Offshore, owned by Australia's Champ Private Equity and Hong Kong's Headland Capital Partners, is eyeing an initial public offering in the next three years.
Asked about their investments, Champ and Apollo declined to comment, while Headland Capital Partners and York Capital did not immediately respond to requests.
ICON Capital, another private equity house, said it was planning to list one of its shipping funds in coming months.
New York, as well as Oslo and Singapore, both important shipping centres, would be among the favoured listing locations, financiers said.
Underlining the pressure the global industry is under, China's Winland Ocean Shipping Corp filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States on Feb. 12, the third known bulk shipper bankruptcy this month.
"Private equity is forcing and supporting mergers and acquisition deals to do (fleet) roll-ups or listing as a way to exit their positions," said Randee Day, president and chief executive of Day and Partners, a maritime consulting and advisory firm, adding that many investors would sell at a loss.
Day is also interim president of private equity-backed Eagle Bulk Shipping.
Recent mergers have included Excel Maritime Carriers selling a fleet of 34 ships to Star Bulk Carriers. Oaktree Capital Management was the major shareholder in both companies.
Supertanker owner DHT Holdings, whose major shareholders are private equity funds, also acquired Singapore tanker owner Samco Shipholding last September.
Ship owners embarked on a massive ordering spree, partly fuelled by private equity, from 2008 which created a glut of tanker, container ship and dry bulk shipping capacity.
A balance between the fleet and cargo demand growth in the dry bulk sector expected last year failed to materialise, amid an uncertain global economic outlook and slower growth inChina, the world's biggest dry bulk market.
This has put more pressure on cargo and ship prices.
The Baltic dry index - the industry benchmark for freight rates - has plunged to an all-time low.
The value of a new tanker or dry cargo vessel is 13 percent lower than 10 years ago, said Ralph Leszczynski, head of research at ship broker Banchero Costa.
Five-year old secondhand ships are around 35 percent cheaper, and average daily freight rates for tankers and dry cargo ships are also below 2010 levels, he said.
(Additional reporting by Byron Kaye in Sydney; Editing by Henning Gloystein and Ed Davies)


Friday, February 6, 2015

A big deal in the shipbroking world

One of my Old companies...bit sad really but with such a bad market a normal occurrence.
A direct hit on SSY?


Clarksons and Platou seal deal

Clarksons has completed the purchase of rival RS Platou ahead a schedule.
Andi Case and Peter Anker
Andi Case and Peter Anker
London-listed Clarksons revealed the $441m swoop had been finalised in an update to the city this morning, that was accompanied by an increased profit projection from Panmure Gordon.
Andi Case, chief executive of Clarksons, said in a statement: “I am delighted to announce the completion of the acquisition of RS Platou and we look forward to welcoming the Platou team into the enlarged group.
“The priority now is to implement our integration plans and we are excited about the enhanced offering we will be able to provide our clients following the combination of the two businesses.”
Case has previously told TradeWinds the Platou deal is a direct hit on strategic target, while Platou boss Peter Anker has reached his goal of taking the company to the capital markets.
Anker will now take on a senior role as global head of broking at Clarksons.
Gert Zonneveld of Panmure Gordon says the takeover has been finalised more quickly than expected and dialled up his 2015 profit guidance as a result.
He is now projecting earnings per share of 157.6 pence for 2015, up 1.6% on his earlier forecast. His 2016 numbers are unchanged, with EPS set at 177.1 pence.
“The Platou acquisition should strengthen Clarksons’ global position in offshore broking and shipbroking, enhance its research offering and further elevate its position as the go-to specialist investment bank for offshore and shipping,” Zonneveld said.

congratulations to the 400th follower

Anant Saxena!

Who wins a lifetime supply of beer, pretzels and good luck...

Membership has its privileges


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

nice message


Dear VS,

This is simply just my way to thank you for all the amazing blog content and your book The Virtual Shipbroker. 
I’ve now thanks to you managed an internship at a local niche shipbroking firm! We’ve been in contact with each other before and Iam so grateful for your answers and your kindness.

Wish you the best!

Kind regards, Joe


You rock!

Oh and can someone please be my 400th follower - the suspense is killing me...

Monday, February 2, 2015

I know what you are thinking!

Alright Guys and Girls i'm back.

Thanks again for your patience. Was a great trip and have spent the last month or so getting back into the swing of my real life. Highlight of the trip was seeing Messi, Suarez and Neymar score against PSG (Zlatan also scored) at the Camp Nou in December. Shipping took a back seat.

I have many emails that need answering so I will get to them over the next week.

The books keep selling and I appreciate all the positive feedback. I need to write a new one this year - note to self.


Ability to predict behaviour

Brace yourself for some VS pseudo psychology - its been a while brewing in my head.

On the topic about what makes a good trader / shipbroker and also after watching Messi live at the Camp Nou - somehow it made me think of a TED talk I watched while surfing the net a while back.

This TED talk is about a thing called 'Theory of Mind' - and theory of mind essentially is about our ability (or lack of) to read someones else's thoughts. A mind reader no less. No this is not whack job stuff its actually scientific and there is a part of the brain that is either "active or not - or somewhere in between'. I wonder if a genius sports persons innate ability to 'predict' what is about to happen is what makes Messi and Ronaldo better than the rest? Could this also explain why some traders / shipbrokers are better than others. Trading is all about psychology.....predicting what the market will do...Pure economics people!

Here is the TED talk for those inclined

(I predict most shipbrokers will get bored after 1 minute.............see how easy this is)

Good to be back. Drop me a line to say Hi!

Monday, November 17, 2014

VS Tour - I'm off!

Visiting - making myself available to a few friends / clients over the next 3 weeks. London, Geneva, Italy, Spain and Doha.

Look forward to seeing you all.

New blog post (by me) will be in a short hiatus over this time..

Keep rocking

Thursday, November 6, 2014

What to do?


Dear VS

I am a dry cargo broker just under a year now, i've been in non bulk sector before, all together 3 years in shipping sector in London. In this current tight dry bulk market i feel a lot of frustration especially being new broker. I start to doubt whether I shall continue investing myself into dry and expect it to get little busier in the next 5 years, or whilst not too late switch into to other chartering/broking sector (tankers/gas). 
Thoughts of changing location and abandoning Europe is also keep popping up in my mind. Dubai, Feast seem to be more perspective locations for young motivated guys (and girls) with solid shipping base.

What do you think? Apprec for your tips and comments in my not so easy daily "plan B" thinking.



Many thanks question and yes it is a tough time for everyone including trainees / young brokers. The market is crap. What you are doing (your thought process) is entirely appropriate and part of a necessary in built risk mitigation gene that all good brokers and wise people should have and cultivate.

FWIW I am always thinking 1,2 - 5 years ahead, considering scenarios and potentialities. This however needs to be weighed against the benefits of knowing when to stay still and be content. There is a time for everything. 

Your reading of the global situation is pretty good. The risk of staying in London waiting for the market to improve is that the East is growing and shipping power has seen a large shift to Singapore and other asian cities.
You also run the risk of getting bored or getting sacked if work doesn't come your way (in london).

My advice to most things is rarely dogmatic and this is no exception. You need to hustle...keep working hard in London but be on the look out for other opportunities...

There isnt necessarily a right or wrong answer but 'be prepared' to take advantage of a new opportunity even if it involves shifting your comfort zone.

So keep hustling and when an opportunity arises you should know then and there if its the right one to pursue.

Best luck - keep rocking and happy fixing...

A philisophical VS