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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 © 2009-17 by Virtualshipbroker

Monday, October 19, 2009

Challenges facing shipbrokers over the next 12 months

A reader of the blog sent me a question that was part of a trainee application process.

'The global financial markets have changed quite significantly. What are the challenges that shipbroking companies will face over the next twelve months?

Being the guru of shipbroking - how would you answer?

Here is my answer


Hello Anon

Because you called me 'the guru' of shipbroking I will be gracious enough to give you an answer.

I first have to say that 'dont you love these questions - not!' Most likely dreamed up by a HR department that needs to justify its existense and hiring process..

Why we expect / suspect that a 21 year old can see past the pub, their lobido and their next paycheck is anyones guess. Having said that we should try and answer the question with as much aplomb as possible..

Any campny, not just shipping companies, would need to consider the following things during a financial crisis
1) Decrease debt
2) Decrease costs (hring juniors is a good way of doing this, also no biz class travel, long lunches etc)
3) Maintain current client base (its harder to find new clients than to keep good ones)
4) Offer new services (finance is the latest hot thing)
5) Keeping successful shipbrokers happy in non financial ways. (training courses, friday pizza, beer etc)
6) Keeping up morale as revenues decrease - anyone for Tony Robbins?
7) Providing ongoing training and leadership - Yes i said training and leadership!
8) A big one is the fact that shibrokers earn their revenue in USD. And the USD has taken a huge hit against most currencies. So Shipbrokers need to manage this risk.
9) Greater access to China, India and part of South America
10)Market their products in a more effective manner.

It is written..(not very well)

(BTW I would not write all those down - pick your top five and the ones that are least likely to offend!)

Thanks for the great question




  1. Wow, a tough question. The answers you've written are rigorous.

    But it does make me feel better about majoring in Economics :D

  2. Hi Regina - nice to have a future economist reading the blog. Shipping and shipbrokers employ lots of economists and they write huge long reports about supply and demand factors and the effects on freight rates. And then at the end of each 20 page report they conclude by saying that everything depends on China!

    The problem with that is that all the info
    coming out of China is difficult to interpret.
    So if you can major in Chinese economics then you are Hired!


  3. haha someone is applying to the ICAP Graduate scheme :) Im on that question too

  4. I am applying for ICAP graduate scheme, and have come across your blog while doing research about the field. I feel it is very useful to read your blog even though I am more into finance and financial derivatives than shipping.
    It is quite interesting that the interdealer broking field within Finance is still very mysterious. Do you have any resource that gives more in depth about the Interdealer Broking in general ?