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

Monday, February 16, 2009

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.


  1. Hi VS,

    I have a couple questions about shipbroker career and hope you could kindly share your insight...

    1. What do you think are the necessary qualities of a good shipbroker? I've seen "extrovert" and "motivated" in some job descriptions but I'd like to have more granular sense. Detail-oriented vs. big picture? Quick decision vs. deep-thinking? diverse experience vs. deep knowledge in shipping? Aggressive vs. cautious? Analytical vs. good people skill?
    I know these qualities are not necessarily exclusive of each other but would want to know which end of specturm the job is close to.

    2. What are you daily activities are? Could you pls briefly describe your typical day at work? How much do you travel?

    3. Do you see any disadvantage for female in the industry? Personally, shipping has a strong impression as a male-dominating, musclar industry as much as it is enticing to me (female).

    Thank you in advance. Learning from your blog a lot and truly appreciate it. :)

    - H

  2. hi sunshinee - all your questions are answered in 'inside shipbroking'.

    It can be a very male dominated (but not very muscular - have you seen many shipbrokers? - muscular is not the immediate thing that comes to mind!) industry. This is also the same for investment banking, stock broking, etc. So yes a woman needs to have her wits about her.

    I know quite a fe successful shipping ladies.


  3. Good morning VS,

    First of all very nice and interesting blog you have here!
    Im Nick, 21, from Greece. Im on the 3rd year at my Uni and i decided to change major from economics(boring) to shipping. I talked to a friend last summer who told me about shipbroking. Next week im starting at a shipbroking company as a trainee. The thing is that in this company the work of the shipbroker is to bring together the shipowner with underwriters. Its an insurance brokers company. What are the advantages and the disadvantages of this kind of brokers?
    If you are kind enough to explain to me!



  4. Hi Nick

    You will be training as an insurance broker catering to the shipping - not as a shipbroker. They are two different things. I am sure insurance broking is interesting in itself. good luck!


  5. Hello VS,

    What do you reckon the current and future opportunities for shipbrokers to be in the wake of the economic downturn?

    Keep us posted about the inside news.



  6. Hello rookie

    In some parts of the world there is no economic downturn.

    Shipbroker and chartering job opportunities are very bouyant. Its as good a time as any to enter the industry


  7. hallo VS,

    I am working in the shipping industry in the Accounts-Financial Dept of a well esteemed NASQAQ listed company. I am working here for about 2.5 years and I am thinking of jumping to chartering or Sale and Purchase. I find myself competitive and I need of a job where I will be able to search and succeed. Please tell me what is your opinion for the S&P broker system and if it is more difficult for someone to get into.
    Also tell me if it is generally better to get involved in a wet industry (LPG-TANKERS) or in Dry cargo Chartering (in terms of easier to get a job etc.) and also if able advise me wheather i should go to a competitive chartering house (lets say Clarcksons f.i.) or i should begin in an entry level as a junior broker assistant in a shipping company (owners).

    Best Regards,


  8. hi I am going to go to college at Suny maritime or Mass maritime. I was wondering what should i major in if i want to be a ship broker. Where to ship brokers typically work?..wall st?

  9. Hi there.

    Pick subjects that have chartering / shipbroking in their title. Shipbrokers work all around NYC and up the road in Stamford connecticut.

  10. Hi I am a man who has good skills of international business. But I don't have any maritime skills at all. My parent opened a business of ship-brokering. But he doesn't want to work and gave all the rights to me. how can I manage to be a successful ship-broker. Could you please let know step by step?

  11. Hi,First of all I want to introduce myself, I'm mieke, working on board ship as 2nd.mate on storage tanker for 5 years. I felt boring when I'm continuously working like this, Yes. my reason first I left my family for longtime and second I could not monitored the study development of my children,I want to start becoming ship broker recruitment so I can make business on shore side. kindly you let's know how to start it .
    Tks & Brgds
    from Mieke

  12. Hi VS,
    I would like to know what is the best way to start in the ship brokering industry.I am a sailor who has been out at sea for 5 years in the liner trade as a second officer.I am starting with becoming a member of ICS U.K. So could you please suggest once i become a member how do i proceed further.What are the other basic requirements that the employer currently seek from the freshers and also what are the other various job prospects once you become MICS.

    Expecting some guiding lines from you.

    Thanking you in anticipation



  13. Hi Guys

    your questions are great and that is why I wrote Inside Shipbroking....to asnwer them all in one place.

    check it out of you get the chance


  14. Hi VS !
    As I am planning to enter the field of Ship broking, what I'd like to ask you is, What does a Ship Broker get for all his time & trouble when he has assisted in the Brokerage deal from start to finish & at the very last minute the deal collapses?

  15. Nothing!

    Thats the nature of the game.

    The next day a broker may do very little and a deal lands in his/her lap...

    so you take the good with the bad

  16. Halo VS

    I wanted to pursue my career in ship broking at present am working with Logistic company , taking care of the project cargo transportation. I wanted to change my job but only in ship broking .

    Being a fresher in shipping industry how to start a career in ship broking ?
    Do i need to go for any course related to it? if yes then please let me know from where to do?

    If possible please suggest few names of companies where a fresher can also apply?


  17. check out inside shipbroking for all the answers!

  18. Hi VS,

    I have work experience in container shipping line, EVERGREEN, as a sales representative and have just finished my course Msc International Transport. In my case, considering my background, I would like to enter the ship broking field as a container chartering broker. However, it is hard to find out any information about container chartering broker. Could you tell me any information about container ship broker? and Do you think it is a good idea to be a container chartering broker in my case..?? Your comment will be highly appreciated...~!!!

    1. Check Maersk's Trainee Broking Scheme.