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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

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

An open question from a reader


Anonymous said...

Hello VS-

I had a phone discussion with a shipbroker today, and he was telling me about the company and what not. He informed me they have an operations division where they take a "position". What does they exactly mean in the shipping world? I know in Wall Street for instance, that means a company puts of their own money on stock investment.


Anyone answer what it means to 'take a position' in shipping...?

Join in...


  1. sleepless nights, high blood pressure, tendency to switch to psychopath mode with wife. Ahh, the joys of capitalism!!!

  2. mmm....interesting

    Yes 'taking a position' can be stressful. Taking a position basically means 'trading' - or going long or shot in ships or cargoes.

    It can be even more stressful if you have to do it week in week out for years on end. Its like one is on war footing most of the time.

    I always prefer/ed fixing company tonnage personally.

    Balance is key. Occassional long sebaticals is also key. Good management is key. Flexible work practices is key (most men and companies are bad stress managers - its a culture problem)

    The stress of trading week in and out made me take up meditating - and that helps too (Thats a whole new book).

    Anon - I hear ya brudda!


  3. "Taking a position basically means 'trading' - or going long or shot in ships or cargoes."

    Could you expand on this? Who are they 'trading' with?

    How does a company go long or short? Once again, I understand this in Wall Street terms, so if it is similar you can go off that analogy. From my understanding Operations takes over after the shipbroker has secured a contract between the ship owner and cargo owner. So I am not seeing where taking a position comes into play.


  4. Hi there

    I suggest you read 'inside shipbroking' where I explain the role of a 'freight trader' also known as a 'shipoperator".

    Its a big topic


  5. A company has to trade even with shipbrokers, right?

  6. I would say that 80 percent of all shipping deals include brokers and 20 percent are done directly (no brokers) between principals.

  7. Taking a position can be divided into two sections basically : A)Physical Trading (charter a vessel , sell a vessel etc) and B)Paper Market Trading (FFAs mostly). As i see you already have covered section A in some of the comments i will briefly explain section B.

    To take a position in paper market trading means to enter a forward agreement for some underlying commodity (bunkers,freight usually) either through a SWAP or an option. In trading "going long" means to buy something and "going short" means to sell something.

  8. Yes - i cover the idea of freight trading (ships and derivatives) in 'Inside SHipbroking".

    Basically taking a position means any decision where one has 'exposure' to the markets - any markets.

    In shipping we can take positions hundreds of different ways.