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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, February 23, 2011

Woman in Shipbroking

I have bumped a posting made in another thread - good reading


pilarin said...

Comments from a woman shipbroker: It’s true, most men in this field tend to look at women as an employee who is not much more than a highly skilled secretary which of course is not true.

Men have their way of dealing with things and women have theirs. This is a job that requires many skills which are most certainly part of the female way of thinking and acting.

The real question is if a woman is up to working 24/7 doing something that is stressful but rewarding (when the damn deal is finally closed).

If you like challenges then yes, you can do it and men will eventually realize that you are a good professional.

But the fact is that many companies only hire men brokers… I say it’s their loss…

Meantime I have received info that a women shipbrokers net is coming together which should be able to support the ladies in the industry… we will see…

February 23, 2011 7:31 AM

The Virtual Shipbroker said...

Hello Pilarin - thanks for the well considered comments. From a guys perspective I actually agree that many shops are disadvantaged by not having woman in broking positions. You need a balance and with the ease of offsite communication it allows more flexibility for those woman (and men) that may need it for family reasons. I personally dont like spending ALL my time with men. Its unnatural....for 12 hours a day 50 weeks of the year.

Shipbroking doesnt need to be WAR or a prison cell. One can actually go to work, do deals, and have a balanced life.

Good luck to the female shipbrokers network. If you want me to speak at one of your functions (from a guys perspective)let me know!



February 23, 2011 2:53 PM

Post a Comment


  1. VS special thanks for this special post.

    Glad to see that you do not consider women brokers as an nice decorative touch in the tough "men only" shipbrokers world.

    It takes a guy with an open mind to say that.

    You mentioned the key word which is BALANCE and I totally agree with you.

    Life is not all about work work work.

    Being a broker often meens that you may live a virtual life stuck with a mobile and a laptop no matter where you are, and you lose touch with what actually happens around you.

    A flood happens and instead of thinking "wow those poor people" our minds go "wow new deals ahead".

    Sometimes you just need a brake.

    At the end of the day it may be a tough job, but we like it... call us crazy!!

    I am sure that the women shipbrokers network can use your expertise and words of wisdom (from a successful shipbroker's perspective as well)

  2. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but on the tanker/oil-side of the business, trading, chartering, and broking is done almost exclusively by men. I've worked at one of the premier tanker brokerages and commercial houses, and I had one of the brokers tell me that they've had some not so great experiences with women who ended up on the dealing desk -- this is a tough, cut-throat, fast-moving market (particularly wet bulk and derivatives).

    The unwritten rule now is that women in operations, post-fix, back-office, etc. is fine, but when it comes to market-facing roles...well, you know the rest. As far as I can tell, the company's are no worse off -- in fact, much of the expertise and knowledge about the business's inner-workings tends to be passed along OUTSIDE of the office or often in informal settings in which women are usually not permitted or accepted, particularly when interacting with certain Asian and Middle-Eastern clients. I'm not to trying to be a jerk, and these are not my personal opinions, I'm just trying to relay some facts.


  3. Your comments and thoughts are welcome - thanks for participating.

    Whilst I do not deny the prejudice it doesnt necessarily mean I agree with it. SOmething about believeing race, creed, sex, age etc shouldnt count (call me old fashion!). I know quite a few female asian shipbrokers who do very well btw.

    Just as a I know Asians who didnt feel accepted in England, Muslim traders who felt threatened in the USA, Americans who were treated badly in Africa and the list goes on.

    Everyone (including the ladies) need to pick their markets and play to their strengths.

    I was about to break into a John Lennon song but I wont.

    Keep rockin (and Imagining)


  4. Individual ambition serves the common good harmless without prejudice. Way to go.

  5. I guess that Anonymous feels the same way as soldiers or race drivers do.

    It's OK and well understood. I just feel that it is not a matter of sex but mainly a matter of character and ability.

    If you like a good battle you will enjoy it, no matter if you are a man or a woman.

  6. Anon may not have put it the most diplomatically, but to a certain extent, he is correct. I wouldn't say all front-office is the exclusive domain of men, but it tends to be dominated by men. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, it's more like the nature of things. And for the most part, there is no official or unofficial glass-ceiling as far as I've been able to see. If a woman wants it bad enough, she will get fair shake, I think -- at the majority of Western firms. Though anon does accurately note cultural differences, and having dealt with Middle Eastern clients, I can confirm that I have never met a women in a negotiating position in the ME, and I have never seen a firm send a woman in such a position to negotiate (when a deal is on-the-line) face-to-facein the ME, either. Chinese and Japanese tend to be male-centric deal-makers, though I believe South Asians (Filipino, Thai, etc.) are a bit more liberal in that regard. These are, of course, broad generalizations, but any time you talk about gender, race, etc. in the workplace, generalizations become par for the course.

    How many women pursue these types of opportunities, and by virtue of that, how many of them are ultimately successful, is a different matter. If 95 men and 5 women try to make it in broking, and only 50 survive after 3 years, the men as a whole have much better odds of success, simple as that. The industry in general is very secretive and opaque, and that naturally does not lend itself to recruiting women, not to mention less-aware men.


  7. both gender can give their best in this field ......so if they will work together then then they will climb the steps of success...

  8. Hi There:)

    Can I find any information about LNG broking? I know that it is said to be very small spot market on the one hand, no the other we read a lot about growth and future prospects.

    I would like to understand what are the chances to become LNG broker at this particular moment and what career path can I follow in LNG (I am MBA, I know languages and have some exams in Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers, I am good in contacts, but not to technical).

    I am ready to relocate.

    I used to trade in fresh fruit and vegetable market as sole proprietorship agent but using road transport and it was really 24/7 as the product is very fragile and fast moving.

    How is the case with LNG? Can you have a balance with your family life (being organized and hardworking) but not 100% of your time on the mobile?

    Thanks so much