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

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Revolutions everywhere!

To our friends in North Africa and the Middle East. Stay safe and we wish you well with whatever transpires in you home states. I have many readers from the region.

I wonder if this event would have been possible (this combined consciousness across a few countries) had it not been for the Internet and the ability for the countries citizens to access information that is leading to these uprisings. I think this may be a good thing.

I dont pretend to know the issues in all the countries involved. As always it seems complicated.

Its a crazy time and out thoughts are with you.
The Virtual Shipbroker

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Open Questions Thread

I will use this thread (and put it in favourites) for any open / random questions people want answered that aren't necessarily linked to my posts.

If no one has any questions then thats cool too - I can go back to sleep!

Monday, January 24, 2011

voyage charter vs time charter question

Bump from another thread

Good question


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Readership growing":
I have a qn VS, hope to hear your view.

Why does voyage cargo always pay better than a time charter trip? Is it due to better control over the costs?


There is a huge assumption here that shipowners prefer voyage charters over time charterers because they ALWAYS pay better.

Anyone care to offer an explanation / comment?


Vs dry cargo chartering and shipbroking certificate

Ok people, due to popular demand I am rolling out the 3rd edition of the overwhelmingly successful (yet humble) VS dry cargo chartering shipbroking certificate.

This post is to ask for any requests for enrollment.


Start date: 07th February 2011
Request for enrollment date: Friday 28th January (must be in by then)
I will let you know if you have been successful within a few days

Cost: I have decided not to increase the cost (despite the poor USD) for this intake. Next intake (midyear 2011) will most probably be slightly more expensive.

Those of you who have already contacted me with enrollment requests could you please send me a one liner confirming interest.

Subject to total class numbers
Check the blog link for further details http://virtualshipbroker.blogspot.com/p/study.html

The Virtual Shipbroker

Friday, January 21, 2011

Basic shipbroking 101

My current crop of students are completing there certificate by taking part in their final virtual negotiations.

The process reminds me that many juniors over think things. Remember that a brokers central role is to 'pass on' information from one party to another. Pass it on in a timely and accurate manner - full stop. Leave the interpretation and salesmanship once you have done a few deals and you can read the situations better.

Keep it simple - pass on the info and stay out of trouble - junior brokers! If you are unsure about an element ask your boss or drop VS an email - ill help out...

BTW - the next intake will be forced back a few weeks. I will be announcing details of how people can make an request for enrollment over the next week or so.

Yours VS

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Readership growing

Over the last 3 days this blog has broken a few readership records with over 600 individual hits on each day. Still humble by google standards but great for a brokers blog.

Incase yu were wondering - the top ten for last 7 days

United Kingdom 484
United States 437
Singapore 408
Greece 272
India 153
Australia 124
Canada 81
Denmark 72
Spain 71
Netherlands 53

Thanks for reading!

point of clarification

It has been mentioned by someone to me that there may be a persepction that i delete blog comments from others that I dont like.

Its true - I am able to moderate (delete) posts that I dont like. Luckily for me I have deleted a grand total of 4 comments in 2 years of operation.

Yes a whole 4!


1. if someone tries to sell something in the comment ie there is a link to a product. Yes even a past chairman of the ICS who sent me blog message for publication - included in his message a link to his own consultancy business which i deleted. I get many people who only make comments as a way of propomting their own businesses. Its a standard way for interenet marketers to try and increase readership and advertise for free and well patronised blogs. I wont allow it.

2. If someone is abusive (happened once)

3. If someone asks a question that has been repeated many times

4. If it is obvious that the person has an agenda other than to advance the discussions important to shipbrokers.

Incase yu are wondering in 2 years I have had no negative reviews to any of my blog posts, books or software. None that I have seen or that I have moderated anyway. That certainly does not get vetted. Ask around people like my books! I cant help it. Not one request for a refund except on a software that we had trouble on one computer.

Many people send me private messages and we have discussions on a private basis regarding interesting topics which is great. But when someone sends something deliberately antagonistic and wants it to be published then it wont happen.

And btw I only publish a 1/10 of the compliments my books, blogs and course get. I dont wanna bore yu.

You be the judge - follow your instincts. its all good.

keep rockin


Should VS Twitter?

Im not convinced but alas I have set up a twitter account. I havent done a tweet yet (do you really want to know when im sitting on the toilet reading tradewinds?) and yet some of you have tracked me down and asked to follow my tweets....which appreciated.

My wife says I have nothing useful to say and my kids dont seem to understand my basic instructions so im not sure I am the tweetable type.

You never know...if i tweet I will tell this blog so that yu can all decide if you wanna follow or not.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A good question - Females as shipbrokers!

NatC writes

Anonymous said...
Hi VS,
I am wondering in the line of shipbroking, whether there is any discrimination against females?
You see, I'm interested in this line, but I've heard that companies often preferred males due to the need for shipbrokers to engage in "entertainment"..
Is this true? And if it is, may I know what sort of entertainment is in store usually?
BTW, u have a great blog, keep it up! :)


A good question Natc. I have a view on this but what I would like is for some of my female readers (those in the industry) to maybe share their views regarding woman in the shipbroking workplace. Men out there are also welcome to have a say. Reminder you can do so anonomously if you wish because its an interesting topic and the VS blog is the only platform that will enable these interesting topics to be discussed.
Come on - I dare you!


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Force Majeur

Hi all

The reason for my absence is that i am caught up in this Australian flood disaster. Force majeur issues abound and I have been travelling around trying to keep people sane. Back soon I promise. I realise i owe many of you replies to some important questions and it annoys me that I cant reply. Sorry!

The virtual shipobroker

Monday, January 10, 2011


Sorry everyone - I am awol for the next few days - a short notice thing.

All those expecting replies from me hang in there for a few more days


Saturday, January 8, 2011

VS Dry Cargo Chartering and Shipbroking Certificate

I will be announcing a new intake (February start) shortly.

This just in from a current student who has 2 years experience in the industry.


Even thou I work as shipbroker I learn A LOT in every single task.
You were right; this course is absolute perfect for me!


For more details check the link by clicking HERE


Friday, January 7, 2011

The changing face of cummunication

As discussed previously, shipping has a whole language unto itself. The Genesis of this language, apart from maritime terms, was the need to abbreviate everything in order to cut down on communication costs.

Here is an interesting titbit for newbies (and by that I mean 10 years or less in the industry)

When I started 20 years ago not only was there no facebook, google or WWW - there was no email and no mobile phones.

Now 20 years ago aint that far away. Ryan Giggs was playing first team football at Manachester United and Shaq was midway thru his college basketball career. Both are still playing.

Communication was mostly done via Telex machine, although fax machines were becoming more popular. Telex machines had been around for ever and were used during the great wars to communicate battle conditions (there is every chance I made that last bit up but you get the vibe!)

So sending a telex was a big deal. very expensive. There is no way you could send your clients ships or cargoes to hundreds of brokers or principals around the globe. You would go broke the cost was so high. So back then you needed to be much more selective and think about who you sent messages too and what you said in those messages. Those of us around at those times sometime look back with nostalgia especially in this age where communication is almost too easy and cheap making what is written somehow less important (more disposable).

Telex machines played a crucial role in the office hierarchy. The trainee would be the telex person. Every time the telex machine made a noise the trainee would be up of his/ her seat to check the latest message. if it was a new ship or a new order it would be the trainees job to yell out the details to the more experienced brokers who would then jump on the phones and make those important first calls.

Telex machines

The offices I worked in had colour coded telex machines. Top copy had a red trim, Second copy, blue, third brown, fourth yellow, fifth white. The boss always got RED and down it went so that it was the trainee left with the plainest of all copies. Back then - all this type of stuff was important - to some anyway.

I just wanted to fix.

Communication costs back then as a percentage of overall company costs were probably around the 30 percent mark - falling slightly behind salaries. The cost of communication is now much lower by comparison.

I think Ill take of my Tweed Jacket, have a cigar and listen to my favourite Vinyl Pearl Jam record on my 1980's vintage phonograph.

Happy fixing


Monday, January 3, 2011

Welcome to 2011

With the power vested in me (as the sage of shipbroking, the lama of liberia, the ayatolla of passing gibraltar) I now pronounce 2011

The year of the shipbroker.

Under seige for sometime from cranky shipowners, cantankerous charterers, a falling US dollar and a plunging baltic dry index - its time to take stock and be thankful for all the good we (collectively) as shipbrokers, can look forward to, in the year that will be 2011.

The sun will still rise, ships will still sail and the world will not end (atleast until 2012).

In what could be humankinds penultimate year (if you believe the conspiracy theorists) lets make this one a year to remember. Celebrate your wins with more gusto then usual. Ring the bell until your ears bleed. Dont sweat on the small stuff - leave the gossip at the front door.

And while youre at it

Climb that mountain,
Dive that reef,
Run that marathon
Shag that (sorry i mean love) that person like you have never loved them before

Because people - we are SHIPBROKERS!


Stand on your desk and scream it at the top of your lungs - "I AM A SHIPBROKER".

Do it - Do it NOW!

Ok - anyone feel better?

Can courstesy of the Virtual Shipbroker

HAPPY 2011