I have had a busy few weeks. Only now do I have a few moments to sit at my computer and answer a emails. With this in mind I have only just now replied to a private email from a reader of the blog (tks Ryan). The question is a good one and I thought the answer will benefit the readers
Q. My first question relates to the longterm viability of the profession: Will the web, which can provide a central place for shippers and shipowners to identify each other, render the role shipbrokers obsolete?
Short answer - No
1. Shipbroking is a skill set. Apart from pure brokers we have shipowners and charterers who also utilise these skills therefore the profession will live on...
2. Over the last fifteen years hundreds have tried to set up web based platforms only to fail. Some of the higher profile ones have spent hundreds of millions only to disappear.
3. Shipbroking is more than matching cargoes with ships and buyers with sellers. People trade freight and make millions (billions) in the process. Let me explain - Bulk ocean freight is not so much a cost but a tradeable commodity. Complicating things for those wanting to make the process simpler is the fact that freight as a commodity is far from homogenous and is traded accross a fragmented world market (legally, commercially and ethically). It can take weeks to transact and there are lots of terms, conditions and clauses that need to be agreed.
Currencies, equities, prok bellies - trade the price and the quanity and then press the red button - easy peasy.
4. Charterers in particlular ' need' brokers expertise. Many charterers do not have the necessary knowledge. Some deals are worth million in freight costs - the price of an expert broker is small in the scheme of things.
5. The status quo. Too many people have too much to lose by upsetting the apple cart. Only 50 percent of deals reach the wider market. As a broker and a principal the last thing I want to do is to publish and circulate my 'positions'.
Lastly - Can you imagine a realestate market without brokers - i cant!
Great question - if anyone would like further clarification drop me a line!
- The Virtual Shipbroker
- 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 © 2009-12 by Virtualshipbroker