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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 © 2009-17 by Virtualshipbroker

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A good question from a reader

Dear VS
Why would shipowners not want to open their fleet details to the market? In high BDI days, would this not be an advantage to them, as now they can have many brokers fighting for the business, and they can have a stronger arm to negotiate and get best deal for themselves.


Good question Zubair

I might leave this one open for any readers to try and answer. Can anyone think of a reason/situation why a shipowner would not want the market to know all his open positions?



  1. I try to give my opinion.

    If owner open their fleet details to public, which means other owners, shipbrokers and charterers are able to see these information.

    If charterer have access to these information, they can easily source their suitable vsl, this means they can skip the broker and go directly to owners. Shipbrokers definitely don't want this happened.

    If i were a charterer and i can access to all the fleet details and their position of every owner. I will only fix a ship on APS basis (avoid to pay for ballest leg).

    It seems that only charterer will be benefited from opening of these information.

    PLS correct me if i am wrong


  2. Hello Milano

    Not bad - yes one reason for a broker not to push this information around is the fear that other brokers or charterers will go direct.

    But No there are other more important reasons.

    Anyone else?

  3. Hint - why would the shipowner (not the broker) want keep some positions quiet?

  4. Exposure.
    Think about it? Would you like to let everyone, I mean, brokers, other shipowners and charterers now how your fleet is employed??

    You wouldn't want Charterers to know that your ship is open, waiting near a port he has a cargo ready to load. Why?
    Well, you want to keep the hedge when you negotiate. If the charterers know that your ship is open, they will try to push the rate down. And what would you do? I mean, either you take their offer, or your ship stays there NOT earning hire!! you lose the hedge!

    Brokers - You don't trust everyone out there! Some will work for you and close to you, but some will work for some charterers and close to these Charterers. Who is their "main" client? If you let a broker that is closer to a charterer know about your open ship, he will advise the charterer to try to bring the rates down. In this case, he will try to fix your ship but he would be trying even harder to build or maintain a SOLID relationship with the Charterer.

    At least, that's the way I see it.
    It is about competition! If you are too exposed, you loose the hedge! And I bet you don't want that, do you?

  5. For the very same reason that a Charterer may not disclose all his cargoes... hint hint.

    Thanks for the interesting blog, hope to pass by a bit more often.

    Oh & can I choose leather seats ?

    Have a great day.


  6. Dear VS

    Thanks. What i feel, incase if the vessel is not on a spot bss, Owners would definitely like to evaluate the various opportunities available in the market before entering the market.

    Also by not disclosing vessel availability Owners may be able to create an artificial demand and thereby gain an upper hand on Chrts looking for tonnages.

    Im not sure whether the above is right or not. Anycase thanks for your efforts to make the readers a part of this blog.

    All the best for you and looking for your comments on my answer.


  7. Nice feedback everyone.

    Gregocebr, Gary and Varun - all spot on.

    The main reason is simple supply and demand.

    If a shipowner has 20 ships and 7 of his ships are open over the next month in Singapore / Japan range for example - then he / she would being doing themselves a disservice telling the world that they have 7 ships open around the same time in the same place.

    Makes more sense to say you have 2 ships open. That way charterers think there are less ships (supply side economics) to choose from then there actually are. "Shipowners hat" - Less tonnage supply means better bargaining position -means higher price.

    (same reason in really low market shipowners layup some vessels. Ie to reduce overall supply in the market and thus keep overall prices high)

    And as Gary quite rightly points out - charterers can play the same game. Many charterers have more than one cargo but you would never know. They tell the market there is one cargo, quickly fix one ships and abracadbra 2 days later they take a second ship for what looks like the same requirement. Funny that.

    Smart play! If they (charterers) had told the market (shipowners) that there were two open cargo positions that would immediately lessen their bargaining positions because more cargo means more demand(for ships)and thus the propensity for higher freight prices.

    That my friends is why brokering is not just about matching open ships to open cargoes.

    It is also a huge reason as to why internet trading platforms will only have limited use.

    And above all else its a huge reason why shipbrokers need to have close relationships with clients. The best brokers have inside information and protect/circulate that information in ways that lead to more deals now and in the future.

    Many thanks for the contributions.