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

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Advice for trainees

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Dear VS
 
good to hear you are still on, me and a friend (in Northern Europe), just started as trainees on different bulk shipping companies so we are part of this whole new way of life and heavy drinking style:
 
Compulsory as my boss said once.
 
Anyway, we are both going at some point to the chartering department, and we both were loooking at your blog and books.
 
Since we are not 100% related to the broker part of the shipping industry, but still very close to the whole thing, i would like you to recommend us, which of your books will be helpful for us taking into account we are in the chartering department?. as owner and charterers of course.
 
thanks for your guidance
Peter
 
 
Unquote
 
Hi Peter
 
Yes the world of bulk shipping is a baptism of fire for young people. My advice is yes partake in the social side and yes it is expected in most 'shipping scenes' around the globe. But imprtantly stay balanced. Keep fit and have hobbies outside of shipping. Don't let the social side eat you up and spit you out 20 kg heavier, with a drinking problem and 3 divorces.
 
Best book for you is Inside Shipbroking and / or Fast track. Both will give you lots of perspective in terms of why things happen and how you can make the best fo your first few years in the industry.
 
Otherwise have a drink or two on me!
 
VS

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Big Apple

Have a friend of the blog looking for an entry level shipping documentation candidate in New York..

Anyone interested drop me a line..

VS

Whats happening in the markets?

Well they are pretty flat to be honest. One week there is cause for positivity, the next its all doom and gloom. This prolonged bear market continues to cause fractures, and initiate change. One of the biggest change in the broking world is the recently announced meger (actually a takeover) between two large shops - Braemar Seascope and ACM.

There is some debate amongst the power brokers, especially those with much to lose, as to whether this is a trend that should be followed. The reasoning is that the new post boom world of shipping, shipbrokers need to be LARGE to protect themselves, or equally "prosper" - leaving the middle sized shops to die a slow death.

Its an interesting discussion because im still not convinced that the current rationalization isn't purely market forces at play. A cyclical series of events that have little to do with whats happening 'on the ground' in various broker markets around the globe.

The large (usually publicly listed) shops have many masters to serve. They also have head honchos that are juggling different growth strategies, business models, etc with an eye on the BIG picture.

On the ground however is a different story. For us 'transactional brokers' not much has changed in our parts of the world. Whilst the big guys play big guy games, most of us get down and dirty doing the job the brokers do - Fixing Ships!...

And the keys to suiccess here havent changed too much. Stay on the phones, build relationships, watch the email, carry your blackberry or Iphone everywhere....and hussle....move...work the clients and make money.

If a group of people in the same office are good at the above it doesnt make any difference how big, medium or small you are - you will make money. The problem with large shops...is that they can give good service but that service by its nature tends to be homogeneous...the same for everyone. So if the protagonists are playing a standard type of game then this is a good option. For those not so mainstream, looking for an edge (which is commonly the case) small, medium and / or niche is a very good option.

Keep rockin
VS

Monday, May 5, 2014

Shipping Salaries (a good question)

From a close friend of the blog (ad a new entrant)

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Hello VS,


I was just wondering, if a broker's earning potential is influenced by the country he is working in. If i remember correctly, a broker's total income (base + bonus. Correct me if im wrong) is, in general 1/3 of the commission brought in by him. If that's the case, wouldn't it be better for a broker to work from a place with a relatively low cost of living? 

Thanks,

Unquote

A good question. And generally you are correct. But there tends to be two salary rates in many developing nations. One for 'expats' and one for 'locals'. Certainly for an expat being able to earn 'western' dollars while living in a developing country is very attractive. For more established locals they too will also (probably a bit slower) start hitting pay dirt after a while but this is sometimes no always so easy. (Entry level wages for locals tends to be at local rates)

The good news for 'locals' is that this disparity is closing over the last 5 or 6 years.

Finally - probably the best way to answer your question is with a simple yes. The entire industry uses a common currency (USD) - so if you live in a developing nation with a currency that is valued much lower than the USD - when you convert you are a king!....The opposite is also the case. Currency values play an important role in the wealth of shipping companies and employees alike.

great question

VS