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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

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Shipbroking and chartering salaries and bonuses

Press release from spinnaker consulting

Some very very nice numbers.....which concur with my figures (generally speaking)



BONUSES paid to freight traders this year for 2009 have been a “picture of extremes” according to recruitment consultants Spinnaker.

While some companies have not paid bonuses to staff in freight trading roles, others have paid between 200% and 300%, particularly in the dry market, says Spinnaker chairman Phil Parry.

Following the market crash in September 2008 and the plunge in the Baltic Dry Index, expectations were high for a “bloodletting” in 2009, according to Mr Parry. With the surge in Chinese imports of iron ore and coal buoying the market however, the last year has seen a two tier market open up between the ‘haves’ who called the market right in 2007/2008 and the ‘have-nots’.

Some of the biggest bonuses ever seen in shipping were paid between 2005 and 2008. 100% bonuses were commonplace for freight trading and broking personnel in both the physical and derivatives markets. More traditional chartering staff performing a scheduling rather than operating role, were receiving bonuses within the 20% to 60% range, Mr Parry says.

Although the rumour-mill did rather exaggerate quite how many chartering millionaires were being created, “Bonuses of between 200% and 400% were being received by top performers and senior managers in hands-on trading roles.”

Spinnaker is secretariat of the Maritime HR Forum and also conducts detailed annual research into freight trading and operations salaries and bonuses on behalf of trading clients. “We are often asked about ‘market salaries’, but there isn’t just one market out there. The banking, fund, shipowning and trading sectors are all very different. Ownership structure and style, a company’s trading philosophy (asset player, transportation company, freight operator, speculator) and the degree of attention paid to HR practices all dictate pay and bonus philosophy.”

Shock and wage restraint were the first reactions in 2009 with some redundancies of under-performers and junior brokers, according to Spinnaker. Some 40% of companies froze salaries last year, with 13% expected to do so for 2010.

Hiring freezes have been lifted in most cases and Spinnaker notes an upturn in the maritime recruitment market since September last year, with reductions in the time it takes to make a placement pointing to returning employer confidence. Spinnaker is making three times as many broking, chartering and freight trading placements than it did last year and the level of vacancies in the operations segment has risen considerably, Mr Parry says.

The tanker sector has notably picked up and Spinnaker has made more placements in the last quarter, particularly in the product and chemical tanker markets, than in the previous three quarters put together.

If there has been little change in basic salaries since 2008 as far as freight trading or broking staff are concerned, 2003-2008 saw salaries rocket, “particularly for junior chartering staff in the first six or seven years of their career,” Mr Parry explains.

The entry level for graduate freight trading and broking staff was typically around £25,000 to £28,000 by 2008. “Graduate recruitment has started to pick up in 2010 after a very quiet 2009”. Salaries in the UK are closer to £25,000 than the higher end of the scale, Mr Parry says. This compares with starting salaries in the US of $40,000, with salaries in mainland Europe a bit lower at between €24,000 to €28,000.

During the high period freight trading staff could quite commonly double their salaries within two to three years, Mr Parry says. “Very good freight trading and broking staff were attaining salaries of £70,000 to £100,000 within the first five years, with bonuses over the same period moving from a modest 15-30% at the outset to 100% plus for good performers after five years.”

Presently, median to upper quartile salaries for freight traders with 2-5 years experience range from €65-80,000 in mainland Europe, £55-65,000 in the UK, $120-150,000 in the US and S$90-140,000 in Singapore. “By definition, the median to upper quartile only reflect one-quarter of people in the market,” explains Mr Parry. “There are of course many people earning more and less than these figures, but it is in this pay range, rather than above the upper quartile as it was in 2007-2008, where most recruitment is now taking place.

The exception to this picture is some players in the commodity trading market where the trend towards selling CIF rather than FOB means freight departments are expanding and in some cases starting up - the demand for chartering staff has therefore increased and there is some pretty active poaching going on, not least in the Geneva market.

With salaries rising so fast, employees were hitting salary ceilings within the first 10 years of their career, Mr Parry says. “In basic salary terms many organisations cap freight trading salaries at £100-150,000 so a seasoned freight trader and his colleague in his twenties might be earning the same salary.” This, he says, should come as no surprise. “This is a market where numbers speak for themselves. If you have the aptitude you are just as likely to get rewarded when young as someone with 20 years’ experience.”

“Naturally, we’re delighted that we’re doing well at the moment. We’re actively recruiting staff ourselves but nevertheless keeping a close eye on costs and cashflow. With so much newbuilding activity and global economic recovery fragile to say the least, we’re keeping a close eye on the horizon!”

For more information contact:

end  Quote!

Why wouldnt you want to be shipbroker!


  1. Hi VS,

    First of all, thank you for such an informative blog. The above seems to be very exciting, but certainly understand that a lot goes behind getting there.
    I ve been following your blog for a wihle now. I am an ex sailor. Presently quit sailing and now working with a tanker owner/pool operator as an operations co-ordinator and operating a few ships myselves. i am also pursuing POst Graduation in shipping management.

    can you please advise if the certificate in chartering offered by Lloyds will add to my resume. Below link FYG.


    Its kind of wierd but i am actually wqaiting for my first credit card so as to get my hands on a couple of your books.

    Is it advisible to enter the broking channel via the broking ops and then rise up to become a broker.

    I am content with my present profile but in the long run i ll certainly look up to broking/ trading (physical / derivative ).

    Hope a couple of line can actually be my guiding light.


  2. Hello Ajit

    You are goijng along famously.

    Yes I recommend going thru the side door via operations. Then show the firm what you can do along with your academic and shipbroking qualifications, should see you move accross to chartering within a few years.

    The lloyds course is excellent!

  3. Hi,

    I'm currently studying for my OOW ticket with a cruise company. I am, however, already thinking about where my career will be in 10 years time and how I can transfer my skills and experience ashore.

    Ship brokering interests me and I wanted to know how I can focus my career once I qualify to move into this area once I move ashore. How would a career with a cruise company help me in the ship brokering industry? Would experience at sea be valued at all? How quickly would it take me to work up the career ladder?

    Thanks in advance!