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 © 2009-17 by Virtualshipbroker

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Good post from a Reader


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Alain De Botton and the Virtual Shipbroker":

I have been looking for a site like yours for the past 15 years ""ex fisherman now (bored finacial adviser)"", and when I came across your site I thought it was a scam but since buying your materials and reading of your experience in the industry it was like hearing the Beatles for the first time: if, ships are your thing. I was wondering if it is still possible to buy a Dry Bulk Cargo ship for about 200k and be able to make a decent living from moving it around the world. I know the market died a couple of years ago along with the rest of the finacial world because I used to follow the Baltic Index and have small investments in shipping companies, I wondered why the city types didnt have a finaicial instrument ie index or ETF to follow the exchange as there are lots of shipping "heads" in the city which follow many different indexs, and they could buy it or sell it on a regular basis, Is there now an over supply of ships trying to get work and has the German KG shipping funds completly died. As you said on your blog you used to own ships, Would you buy one now.

Many Thanks
Many thanks the message. I am glad you have enjoyed the books and the blog.
The question can you buy a ship for 200k?
The answer - add two more zeros....the price of a ship is now way into the millions. 200k will buy you an average cruiser (fits 8) that will take you through the Greek islands at your pleasure. Not however a commercial bulk carrier.
But yes everyday - people, companies, hedge funds etc buy ships for millions of dollars and then spend the next 20 years moving this ship around the world making margins where possible. This is shipowning at its purest.
WIth regards to futures markets - yes this is now possible. FFA"S are financial intruments available to major shipping players (institutional investors) - not mother and father investors though.
Yes there seems to be an oversupply of ships - and scribes have been warning of this for years. The good news is that seaborne trade has also grown. China and India are sucking up the extra tonnage and sofar we haven't seen any prolonged crash in rates. Yes a few years ago we did see a crash but it was short lived and luckily took very few victims with it.
The current market cycle is best described as 'volatile'. Anything can happen and anything will happen.
BTW - Small point - I said I was a shipowner and by that I mean I worked for a shipowner - one of the biggest. I never personally had an invesment stake in a ship - although if I had 10 years ago I would be posting from my million dollar yacht on the riviera instead of a 10 dollar thatched hut with no running water on the top of a hill in the Himalaya. Million Dollar views though....here comes a yack now! Gotta run.
Keep Rockin
The Virtual Shipbroker

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