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

Sunday, February 15, 2009

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'.



  1. hi I m very excited when I found your ship broker blog.cos I have looked for so much about how to being skifull and succesful shipbroker so far.so I'm very satisfied for your information.I think I have wealth treasury now.I'm in studying at post graduate shipping manegement and transport programme in london now.I am looking forward for being shipbroker.I want to get benefit your experiences ıf you you'd like.could you give me some advice about how I must spend my time during studying.ıf you get advices I will be apprieciated.thanks for everyting for now.

  2. Hello Ali

    The answers to your questions are wide and varied and have been asked many times. That is the reason i decided to write "Inside Shipbroking'. You will find all the infomration inside. Best of luck VS

  3. hi.your blog has made me really interested in shipbroking.
    I currently have a bachelors degree in marine engineering.Can you tell me what post graduate courses would be beneficial for work in this field. Also you've mentioned that you have a masters in business management; could you tell me the names of a few reputed colleges for the same. thanks

  4. Hi VS,

    This blog on brokerage is most useful and with simplified english, people when creating such things use terms which goes beyond the understanding of many who are involved in the shipping industry but not related to brokerage itself.

    After 9 yrs in container biz and my enrollenment with ICS moved in with brokerage and chartering biz its quite fun learning something different.

    Thanks for your help in simplified way.


  5. hello virtual shipbroker,
    i have recently enrolled for PQE with ICS. i have sailed on vessels before but i lack knowledge when it comes to brokerage. i am currently facing difficulty writing answers for the past examination questions and also the questions in the book. i am looking for help and i truly need someone who could guide me on how to answer the questions more skilfully and efficiently.if you could help me or if there is any source in yourknowledge that could be an aid to my current situation, i would be very glad to know that. thank you.

  6. Anonymous (post above),

    I have had an offer of work on the basis that I start the ICS PQE. I have family working in the industry, and have been informed about how the industry works since a very young age. I do not wish to purchase the courses for financial reasons. Maybe we could help each other beneficially?



  7. Hi

    Send me a private email with your idea


    1. Hey VS ,
      I Am a master mariner with MICS and MBA in operations. Have been a tanker man through out. I Have also done Specialised diploma in cargo claims, insurance and underwriting. Presently working in operations as a performance manager ( vessels). Will i be able to get anything in the chartering business. i am 40 right now. is this the right age to make this transition.

  8. Hi I am a young graduated from college, and now working in a shipping company. I am abit bewildered as in how should I build up my career in shipping. I am passionate in shipping especially in chartering. This is a great blog which help me alot. Thank you and Wish I could learn and grow here.

  9. Hi, I really apreciate your help ... now Iam working in a Ship management Company but I want to learn about ship broker, Do you know about some course or Master related to the topic ? ... I am planning a trip this year to New York for 6 months and I really want to do any course there. Thanks for your help.

  10. I have done my Intitute of Chartered Shipbrokers exam and passed it long back. I have years of experience in shipbroking but now I am moving to Canada. Kindly advise what are the prospects there for this profession and how I can work for a company there as a shipbroker or chartering manager. Thanks

  11. Hello Zeek

    Canada has a fine chartering and shipbroking industry. Vancouver seems to be the centre of it but in all the major cities there will be forms plying this trade. Because Canada has lots of natural resources their are many companies that employ shipbrokers in this capacity.

    Good luck!

  12. Hello Mr VS!
    Congrats on the site!
    I live in Greece I am atending the ICS course and have been trying to get into the shipping bussiness the past few months and to be more specific chartering.The only offer I got up to now is to work for free for 6-12 months in order to learn the bussiness. What is your point of view on this?

  13. Hi there!
    As anyone aware shipbrokers hv their own moto : "Our word - Our bond".Could u extend this direction and advice several main shipbroker's rules relating to their professional engagement.For example : "Good shipment - fixed by my own shipment" etc. Thks in advance

  14. Hi, I live in Australia (Sydney) and I was wondering if it is a good place for shipbroking.

  15. Australia is a huge exporter of commodites. Downunder there is a large chartering fratrernity. Not just brokers but also check out other areas where shipbrokers work!

  16. Hey, I am an 18 year old girl currently studying for my last year of A-levels. My grades are very average C's. Recently I decided that university was not for me and I gained an interest in the shipping industry. I am now completing an online course available from the institute of chartered shipbrokers website called 'an introduction to shipping'. I just wanted your opinion on what you think I should do, should I go out and try and get a job in some of the bigger, more established companies, or will I get laughed at because of my age, grades and lack of degree? Thanks a lot

  17. Hey right back at you Dude (emily).

    No one will laugh at you. Do you have any contacts in the industry? What made you pick international shipping?

    I cant really answer your queestion without knowing more about you.

  18. hi VS,

    I am 32 and have sailed on ships as a 2nd mate now on land but not in shipping industry, now I am planning to study something with the help of which I will be able to work in my own profession. I just want to find out whether a degree will be better than ICS.


  19. Hi there

    it depends on what ype of job you actually want to do. The shipping industry has hundreds of land based jobs on offer.

    The ics is a great diploma but its very specific to chartering/broking roles. A degree will give you a broader level of experiencde.

    The choice is yours!

  20. Dear Shipbroker,

    I am a recent university grauate that has just been hired by a commodity trading firm that has a good deal of involvement in chartering/ship management/port & terminal management.

    Internal training is not very formal and I would like to start taking the PQEs in order to advance my knowledge of the trading/shipping industry and so as to gain a formal accreditation that my might make my bosses more comfortable delegating responsabilities to me.

    My company has agreed to finance my exams, and I am eager to become a member of the ICS as soon as possible. Do you know how many papers people tend to sit at once? How difficult are the exams and what kind of time commitment is involved in preparing for one.? I would very much like to pass with distinction in order to show my bosses that I am ready to start taking on larger responsabilities and move on from menial "trainee" tasks... Do you think it is feasible to sit all 7 exams in one year?

    Also, my academic background is in economics and transportation & logistics so some of the PQE material (particularly the compulsory foundation courses)might not be completely foreign to me....

    if you would like to reply by email, my address is a-duarte@northwestern.edu

    kind regards,

  21. Hi VS,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to answer the questions posted.

    I am going through some sort of crisis as to where my professional life is headed. Your blog has been very helpful in helping me chose my next career direction.

    Again, thank you so much for all the vluable information you provide us with.

  22. Glad to help Petros. Wishing you the best of luck!

  23. Of course this blog is great.
    I want to get your book im in Egypt but they are not available for sale here , Pleas advice

  24. I am sorry but the books are only available through credit card payment or paypal. If you cannot access these features from your homke country then I suggest you ask a friend or relative in another country to buy the books for you and you send them the money seprately.


  25. Hi VS,

    Was searching for more information on Shipbroking & came across your blog which I find very interesting & informative :)

    I have just completed a 2 Year PG Diploma in Shipping Management from Mumbai & have about +2yrs experience in container logistics.

    Having just enrolled for ICS-PEQ course, i want to work as a trainee shipbroker instead of working for a freight forwarder.

    Have sent out my resumes many companies---no replies yet :(

    I feel lost...what do I do?

    Sailee (Ms.)

  26. Hi, dear sir, i am a master mariner from Pakistan, formally pre-sea, post-sea trained from Pakistan Marine Academy Karachi as well as Pkaistan Marine College. I have served onboard all kind of vessels inc. tankers of all kinds as well as commanded ships of diverse nature and tonnages. I want to whole heartedly start ship broking / chartering from the comfort of my home or an office in europe, england or USA.
    I am currently studying for ics exams, but only half heartedly as you said real nuggets are well kept secrets with experienced ship broking gurus and you are one of them.

    I am 52 years of age and commending since 2000.
    Pleae help me find great somes of money lying hidden within the shipping sectors as salaries have always kept me hand to mouth.

    I can even be a ship broking trainee and start all over to learn from your wide spread experience as a acommerial shipping guru with some of the most disrespected( joke, like you only said )companies.

    ALways learning / at your beck and call .
    Capt. mehboob Malik
    Master Mariner (FG)

    e-mail : capt.mehboobb@gmail.com

  27. Dear VS,
    i am chief engineer and learned few basic in my class one syllabus .then i develoved contct trough few charteres and broker. Now i am facing one problem is that they are ready to pay shipowner frieght but they are offering double rate to charter ship . they have some insider whome they want to pass back diffrence . offering me better brokrage . i have arrange ship also . now i have suggested that in charter party shuch margins are not allowed so they them self become charter and take diffrence them self . as broker i canot gaurentee that ship owner will pass back .cargo is wet and charter is time . still learning trick of trade .

  28. Virtual ShipbrokerJuly 25, 2011 at 9:19 PM

    James - Sounds complicated and mildly illegal - how exciting! Good luck and send me an email from the caymans when you are all done...

    Yours VS

  29. HI VS,

    Let me appreciate the effort you put in to help budding candidates who are new to this deep oceanic field of Ship broking..

    I am one of such candidate who is complete alien to this industry i am a civil engineer by qualification and had further enhanced my qualification by doing an MBA in marketing....i have served the industry for last 9years ranging from paint indusrty to managing credit card sales for couple of Banks.

    Recently i came across this Distance learning course by ICS Chennai and have generated interest to go ahead for this course from academic interest as well as carrer progression...

    My question to you would be will this course really help me move up the ladder as i being completely new to this industry as well suggest what kind of job roles can i look for after completing the course..

    Thanks and Regards,

    D G

  30. hi VS
    Thanks for your wonderful site . I need your advise - i have been in ships agency for years in both ops & sales for the big global ship agents in india , ME & Oceania ( now) , i find the job very boring and always wanted to shift to chartering or broking. ICS course has been advised which i hope to finish by 2013 but the problem is that i would be nearly 40 by then. is it too old for a new career - i have spoken to several brokers / owners earlier who said that its too late now. Feel depressed that would need to continue doing something i dnt enjoy.

  31. The Virtual ShipbrokerDecember 7, 2011 at 5:34 PM

    The ICS exam wont be the deciding factor if you get a job in chartering / shipbroking. You already have enough experience to move accross because ship agency is an excellent foray into broking...better then any certificate. So why dont you just ask some of your colleagues or contacts for a job!

    Good luck ....this indistry can be a bit ageist but there is absolutely no reason a 40 year old agent could not within 6 months be fixing either as a broker or a charterer or a shipowner..

  32. Hi VS,

    I am basically a finance professional with an investment banking back ground. In my early forties and on a sabbatical now, I am interested in enrolling for the PQE to obtain membership of the institute to explore a career in ship broking.

    Since I do not have prior shipping industry background do you think my chances to progress are limited ? Please advise.


  33. The Virtual ShipbrokerDecember 15, 2011 at 2:58 AM

    vpk - anything is possible and will depend on contacts...also are you happy to start again at USD 30,000 per year until you prove yourself?

  34. Hi VS,
    I am currently sailing as a 2nd officer on dry cargo vessel, I want to get into chartering business as a land base job. Please advice me will studying from ICS is a right choice to get into the business and will the qualification be recognize in getting a job... Please advice.

  35. Hi, compliment for such a helpfull site. I am 32year with a life long strong desire to own a shipbroking firm, i have been trying so many ways to get involve in the maritime industry back home but to no avail. my older brother current has a successful barge and tug leasing company back in Nigeria, i obtained my first degree in mechanical engineering, currently doing a master in maritime administration and logistic in the united state, but not really being thought anything about ships. pls for someone with No actual maritme experience about the shipping industry where in the united state, but passion and desire.. where can i get started.. what programme do i really need that will give me the basic training to set up a ship brokerage business where in the united state?

  36. HI

    You have come to the right place. First thing to do is to buy all my books then you are on your way! Im not kidding either. Its the best place to start and many are now using my material to run successful business's.


  37. hey virtual shipbroker

    i am presently sailiing as second mate on tankers. i have a BSC nautical Science degree and will be appearing for ICS examnication in apr 2013.Also im presently undergoing HND nautical science from Glasgow including Chief mates.
    Can you advise after my membership from ICS and HND how do i approach for a career in ship broking/chartering.
    AS wat i hv expereicned is the market is very reluctant to recruit trainees and the most of the companies dont seem to have a vacancy.
    i ahve applied in several firms but my application was unsuccesfull.
    i currrently live in UK and bcoz i dont hv a work permit i cant apply for jobs.
    can you suggest me how to i go about in getting an entry into this field?.
    work location for me dosnt matter.
    which is the best place to get started and the easiet one? when it comes to visa and other requirements.
    kindly advise

  38. Hi, I would like to know if there are alternatives to the ICS. I have nothing against ICS, just wanting to compare pricing and benefits of other comparable certifications. Kind regards, Fernando jfa2 at Cornell.edu

  39. Hi

    The ICS have a monopoly on certified industry courses. Having said that there is no need to be certified. Many of the shipbrokers i know have indeed been certified but thats to enter into rehab and nothing to do with shipping (joke people).

    There are many other colleges that offer shipping related degree / courses etc. i even offer one....new intake not until mid 2013...


  40. Hey VS,

    Currently studying for my first 2 ICS exams, but want to beef up my shipping resume anyway I can. What's your opinion on the Lloyd's Maritime Academy courses(link below)...?? I've already purchased your 2 e-books and read them and they were great!



  41. The lloyds maritime academy courses are great - good luck

  42. Hello Sir!
    I am BE(IT)graduate and worked onboard for 10 months. Now i have a strong desire to work in chartering and shipbroker profession. i have no idea about ICS pls help me on how to start a career.

  43. Hi VS,

    Just visted your blog and it really is a nice tool to get familiarize with the ship broking/ chartering job. However as you know getting into broking/ chartering is not an easy tadk. I am presently sailingas a chief officer, DPO on AHTS vessel. I have enrolled myself into ICS PQE and looking forward to finish the course and attain the maximum out of it. one thing which crops up to my mind is that how does ICS ease you in getting break as a ship broker/charterer.? Do the firms give consideration to the guys who have a shipping background and especially who have sailed? Many thanks for your inputs


  44. hi Ashish I thnk v both are on the same page.
    y don't we share our ideas about getting into this field
    mail me at junaidm.1986@gmail.com

  45. Good Day Sir,
    I am currently planning to get enroll in ICS. While going through the subjects I came across PORT AND TERMINAL MANAGEMENT. Sir is it possible to get a good post (job) in terminal operation with the help of ICS?
    If yes, is it a bit difficult to get job in it despite of having ICS?

    If ICS wont help in this field, then what course can I take up to be eligible for the same

    Ishtiaque halde

  46. Hi Mr VS I am an Electrical Officer I would like to know whether any opportunity to higher Electrical Officer in shipbroking exists.

  47. Hi dear sir, I live in Vancouver and I'm learning English. I've been here for 3 months and I've 6 months more. After I going to extend my visa and I want to study Ship Broker course. What is your advice for me ? What should I ? Also I don't want to online course. Please help me. Good work.