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 © 2020 by Virtualshipbroker Contact virtualshipbroker@yahoo.com

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Insider guide to shipping

The good news here is that im well on my way to finishing my e - book - Insiders Guide to Shipping. There is lots of 'conventional wisdom' out there regarding the shipping world and International Trade. Like most industries there are a few people who cut to the chase and tell it like it is covering the best ways to get in the industry, the best ways to make money from the industry and more. Some will also be able to give guidance on how to be happy in a vocation, which is never easy, and involves something a bit deeper than just how to make a buck.

Anyway, Im hard at it so if you are keen to know more become a follower or add me to your favorites, and if you are feeling positively enthused leave me a message - helps with motivation you see. Truth is ive wanted to document my unique and proven persepctives for a while so it will be written anyway - haha!

Thanks for reading
The Virtual Shipbroker

Back from the front - BDI trending down

Hi All

Back after a week in Japan and China visiting various trading companies and steel mills. Its not pretty. Although the news is saying that Investment Loans are up in China it appears that most of these loans have many strings attached and most of them only pertian to solid state backed enterprises. Bottom line for steel makers and supporting crew is that its sink or swim for most of them. The profitable will survive and the rest will be left to flounder. The governments are doing their best to increase infrastructure spending but some of the economic issues are beyond the reach of any helping hand. The market forces will have their say in the end.

What does all this mean for shipping pricres and the BDI index. Long term I maintain that it will be a long and painful ride for this lady. Short term look for volatility as people look for anysigns of real recovery only to be thwarted by a continous stream of gloomy news.

The china propaganda machine is working well. Ask any chinese executive and they will tell you that the Chinese economy is even worse than what is being reported...

Are the Chinese just playing poker to try and pull prices down or is this really the case. My feeling is that the truth is quite bad. No economy decides to allow millions to fall unemployed in the name of saving a few bucks on imports. The problems seem to be real.

But theres good news in every bad news story. Lots of opportunities arise in these bear markets. When everyone is running scared opportunities abound.

Yours Virtual Shipbroker

Monday, February 16, 2009

The International shipping Industry

The bulk shipping industry is huge. Depending on timing estimates of the size of both the physical and futures markets run into the hundreds of billions of dollars.

Bulk trade requires the movement of bulk commodities like wheat, barley, coal, iron ore, steel products, alumina, Nickel oresetc around the globe. There are net export countries like Australia, USA, Canada, Brazil, Chile and net Import countries like Japan, UK, and India.

In order to move these goods we need ships. There are approximatley 1,000 Shipowners who control over 5,000 bulk carriers. The major shipowning nations are Greece, South Korea, Japan, Norway, UK, Denmark, China, India, Germany and the USA. Some shipowners only have one ship. The larger multinational companies can own upto 250 vessels. the market is wide and varied. All deals are done is US dollar currency and the shipping language is English.

The pure size of the industry together with the huge diversification means massive opportunities. There are markets and submarkets ready to explout for economic advantage. The industry supports over 100 different kinds of vocations employing thousands.

Shipbrokers and Chartering Executives are the elite niche where the money and the big decisions are made.

Im IN!

The Virtual Shipbroker

What do shipbrokers do?

The textbook answer to this question is that a shipbroker is an intermediary between shipowners and cargo owners. They bring the two together, negotiate a contract and see it through until the shipping contract is finished.

There are approximatley 8,000 bulk carriers around the world the majority of which are floating freight taxis looking for the best paying business. No cargo owner can possibly keep a tabs on where all these ships are. This is the role of the broker. There are literally thousands of firms that have cargo. Mining companies, trading companies, agribusiness's, governements, aid agencies etc etc. No shipowner can possibly know who has what and where! This is the role of the broker.

Brokers bring the two together and get paid a commission for there services. These commissions are very lucrative. Brokers generally charge 1.25 pct of the entire freight bill. Therefore is 30,000 mt ton gets shipped from Australia to india at usd 25 per ton - the commission earnt by the broker is asf; 30,000 x usd 25 = total freight bill usd 750,000 x 0.0125 = usd 9,375.

The biggest deal i have ever done was a contract of affreightment (multi shipment deal over 5 years) deal worth approximately usd 2 million in total commissions.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Why Shipbroking

7 reasons why shipbroking is a great Job

1- Its a highly paid niche skill. Low supply and high demand = high salary!
2- Travel
3- Status
4 - Not complicated
5- Low barriers to Entry. No formal qualifications, no large outlay.
6 - Work is interesting. Everyday is different.
7 - You can live anywhere and work from anywhere.
8 - You can create a business and a lifestyle that suits your personality.

The Baltic Dry Index (BDI)

Everyone is talking about the BDI (Baltic Dry Index).

Analysts with absolutely no shipping knowledge and referencing it, taxi drivers are talking about it and mum and dad investors mention it, along with property prices and school fees.

So whats the scoop on the BDI and why is it so important.

Put simply, shipping, bulk shipping to be exact, is one of the worlds most pure markets. The actual physical movement of bulk goods represents what is actually happening in the real economy away from gossip, inuendo and a myriad of sometime meaningless facts and figures.

To explain better I like to compare ships to Taxi Cabs. Bulk ships are like Cabs in that they float around looking for employment. They will go where someone is willing to pay the most money. Therefore many of these ships, over the period of 12 months will visit 5 different continents, 10 different ports, never knowing only until the week before there current cargo is discharge, where they will end up next. It really is a global market.

Due to the nature of the market, a ship like any other tradeable commodity will have a fluctuating price depending on supply and demand. One day a ship can be worth usd 100,000 per day to hire and the nextday it could be worth usd 75,000 per day.

This then is the role of the Bulk shipping executive. Shipbroker, shipowners, freight traders and ship charterers meet in this market place 24/7 and vessels get 'fixed' at an ever changing market rate.

This also explains wy the BDI is so important. The BDI represents whats happening in international trade and hence the health of the wider world economies.

The Virtual Shipbroker

Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers

Over the years thousands of people have completed the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers exams. These exams are a great way to:

1. Learn about the industry
2. Gain a recognised shipping qualification
3. Beef up your resume in order to gain shorebased employment within the Shipping Industry.

Although one doesnt need any qualifications in order to be a commercial shipping boffin, there is a definite need for training. Commercial Industry training helps to lift the level of professionalism within an industry.

There are other training options open to the budding commercial shipping executive. Infact I dont have a certifcate nor am I member of the Institute of Chartered Shipbroking. I do however have a Masters in Maritime Business from a first class European University. I also have an Undergraduate Degree in International trade and Shipping Economics. From personal experience the formal degrees have helped build a solid foundation for my move up the corporate ladder.

Before the age of 35 I had

- worked as a shipbroker, shipowner, freight trader, chartering officer and shipping lecturer.

- Gained General Manger and Directorship level in large, multinational Shipbroking and Shipowning companies.

But here's a huge secret...the most important elements of success one cannot learn from a university degree or an Industry Certificate. The best shipbrokers, chartering executives and freight traders, some of whom have no formal training, keep these secrets well hidden.

I intend to write more on these topics going forward. So help me help you and say Hi. Leave a message or ask a question. Tell a friend and let me know that this blog is a useful resource. That will keep the Virtual Shipbroker motivated to keep posting my 'Insiders Guide to International Shipping'.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Free Shipping!

When researching the content for this blog it amused me these are the two most googled shipping 'keywords' - "Free Shipping".

Everyone hates to pay for transport and I can understand that. Unfortunatley nothing is free.

Their is hope though. Shipping over the years has morphed from a 'cost' industry into what is now sometimes described as a 'commodity' based industry. Freight is a commodity that can be traded in the physical and on the futures markets, so the smart ones, ie those that know how to trade freight and pick the market, may indeed succeed in finding 'free shipping'!

The Virtual Shipbroker

The Financial Collapse of Shipping Companies

Interesting to hear today that the South Korean giant Samsung has declared bankruptcy. No surprises here. Details will emerge soon as to which companies are left holding the baby.
Technorati Profile

shipping salaries / shipbroker salaries

This is my first crack at a blog and many things have only now just occured to me.

It is entirely possible that no-one will ever see this blog....thats a lonely thought.

Also it occurs to me that I probably need to blog something remotely interesting in order to grab 'the viewers' attention.

Shipping is a fairly dry subject but below the surface is an entire subculture in desperate need of exposure. Think big money, think old money, think travel, think flashy suits and fast cars, think corruption, think secret gentlemans buisness, think glamour - think Shipping.

Interesting point one - A Shipbroker / Freight trader / Bulk shipping boffin is one of the highest paid professionals in the world. And the best part is that in most cases you dont need any qualifications. So whats the going rate?

Shipbroker Salaries
Junior less than 3 years experience - USD 30-60k
Mid level 3-7 years experience USD 70-120k
Senior exec USD 150-300k
C level USD 300k plus

Not bad hey!

But the question is How does one become a 'Bulk Shipping Executive?' Thats why I wrote 'Inside Shipbroking!' - check it out when you get the chance.

An update for shipbroker salaries http://virtualshipbroker.blogspot.com/2010/05/shipbroking-and-chartering-salaries-and.html

The Virtual Shipbroker


Hi! Im the Virtual Shipbroker. This site was opened to provide an insiders guide to the mysterious world of of bulk shipping. Give me some time to perfect my craft. Back Soon.

The Virtual Shipbroker!