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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, June 13, 2009

Fixing Machine - Tip 7

The best competative brokers are like well trained athletes. I dont mean physically (trust me). I mean mentally.

In 'Inside Shipbroking' I talked about the need for any good broker (or trader) to develop a thick skin. I guess it is not so much about developing a thick skin but more about being able to bounce back from adversity.

A brokers day/week/year/career is broken up into many different cyclical phases. One day a broker will be fixing everything in sight and then 6 months later they get a severe case of the putting yips (golf reference) and nothing seems to work.

Like any business, shipping is alot about personalities and keeping customers happy is never easy. Some days conversations flow easily and everyone wants a piece of you and yet on others it seems like you have been blackbanned by one and all.

At times like these it is easy to get down on ones self and the confidence will take a hit. Sometimes the best thing you can do is just ride it out. Understand that relationships are clclical and just keep your head down.

Having said that 'Fixing Machines' have an uncanny ability to bounce back. The next morning, despite a crazy previous day, they walk in the office acting as if nothing has happened. Instead of carrying emotional, energy draining baggage around for a few days, they get straight back on the horse and treat customers like they have every other day before.

(for years I was bad at this)

This is where sports psychology comes into it. The best tennis players have learnt to play point by poiont. The best baseballers take it pitch by pitch, and the best golfers are able to block out the last bad shot and hit the next one close to the pin to save par.

I will also make a Zen reference here. In Zen buddhism they talk about a thing called 'beginners mind'. Those that are enlightened have the ability to see things every day ljust like it is the first time they have seen something. Think about how much you learn as a child when everything is new. And then think about how little you learn when you have convinced yourself that you are an expert.

If you can bring this beginners mind to the desk every morning and treat customers like you are cold calling them for the very first time, desperate to win their business, then you will be a star!

If you thought that business, broking and trading was about objective sitauations and events then you are wrong. Like most things in life success starts with whats going on between your ears!



  1. Dear VS

    Talking about comunication and understanding between the parts involved in the shipbroker's duty, besides english, wich language do you think a shipbroker should dominate? Chinese? French? German?

  2. I think English, Chinese or even Indonesian are excellent. And yes the usuals being frnech, german, japanese, always handy.

    English is the main one though!

  3. You seem to be a very knowledgeable person - so please can you tell me what the expression "cargo is King" means - does it mean that if you are a shipowner you are a pauper ?

    It would seem to be very strange if a shipowner was regarded as someone who was not wealthy person.

    i think if market is lacking tonnage then the owner has the upper hand so ship would be king - but i never heard THAT expression before….

    if the market has lots of ships the cargo owner or charterer is generally in a stronger position - so both situations are valid but in that case why such expression for only one of them ?

  4. Good question Bika fella - i will answer in another NEW post.

  5. VS / Will

    Good day

    long time listener, first time writer!

    I managed to secure a broking job for a small broker firm in London. I have been doing a bit of short-sea as a way to learn/cut my teeth. I have one question regards brokerage.

    We got a request from some close charterers to get tonnage and rates for an order they had. I sent out the order to owners with our brokerage included on it. We then got rates/tonnage back from owners which we sent on to charterers for their guidance. When I sent the tonnage/rate onwards I did not included our brokerage as I understood that owners will be paying. Therefore, charterers do not need to see the brokerage as we collect it from owners. Am I correct in this thinking?



    1. Hi William Burrows - I have read all your books. Re your question you are quite correct. Hope you fixed!