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

Sunday, May 29, 2011

This post from 4 months ago didnt get any recognition (from me)

And it deserved more!

Great post

Crowsnest said...

Dear VS, stumbled across this blog whilst googling 'address commission' and thought 'wow, now why didnt i think of doing that!'. I intend to be a regular visitor and poster!

regarding the question of timecharter versus voyage, there is no doubt that the timecharter is potentially 'leaving money on the table' - which is what permits the role of Operator who will timecharter ships and fix business on voyage and hope to make some buckaroos in the middle.

As has been mentioned above, the key element is the amount of risk involved. The voyage charterer may earn what appears to be a big juicy freight but gets penalised by rain and bad weather whilst the timecharterer just wakes up every morning to another day's hire in the bank!

The voyage charterer must pay very close attention to cash flow - his ship may be waiting one month to load yet he will only receive the freight after loading completed, and the demurrage sometime thereafter. Meanwhile he must pay hire every 15 days to the owner from whom he has timechartered the vessel - not to mention having to pay hire in advance and a very substantial lumpsum for the bunkers upon taking delivery.

A voyage charterer must have a keen understanding of all operational aspects of the trade he is involved in. This means having his own team of in-house experts and reliable locals on the ground. The Owner who deals only in timechartering out his ships can operate with just a broker and an accountant and has plenty of time on his hands to work out the best moment to buy or sell another ship.

There are also the financial animals (such as publicly quoted companies on Nasdaq) who buy ships against long term period timecharter contracts - they have little interest in the daily excitement of moving cargoes around the globe. They just want to see a good (safe) return on capital. A period timecharter (to a first class charterer) is a bankable asset.

and so on.......personally I prefer voyage business because it allows the broker to really exercise his profession and bring his skills to bear in a way which will enhance his principal's profit expectations. If we brokers just act as post boxes then our profession (like the physical postbox) is doomed to extinction !
keep up the good work VS

End qte

Great work!

Friday, May 27, 2011

My work is done - well almost!

I have reached the pinnacle of my aspirations. First I can count Alain de Botton as a reader of the blog (tick) and NOW I can finally say that I have had an article dedicated to ME in none other than "Tradewinds" - the worlds number one shipping newspaper.

Here is the article from last weeks (20/05/2011) paper (notice the last line)


Blog reveals Achilles heel of shipowners

Hardcopy PDF

On the Watch has stumbled upon a frankly worded blog that offers some honest insights into an opaque business: shipbroking.

One recent entry on “The Virtual Shipbroker” (http://virtualshipbroker.blogspot.com) claims that when it comes to dealings with shipowners, “flattery will get you everywhere”.

The wisely anonymous scribbler claims to have recently done some consultancy work for a commodity exporter that involved running a tender and successfully negotiating the freight rate down by over $5 (generating a total saving of around $200,000).

The client was “flabbergasted” at this amazing feat given the owner had not intended to budge an inch.
However, our blogger turns out to have been an owner himself for many years, “so I know how they think”.

Then comes the juicy stuff where he details the must-know facts.

Firstly, shipowners “like to be flattered. Tell them that they have been chosen specifically and that charterers have been keen to fix with them for a long time. Massage the ego. [This is] standard across all industries!”

Next, “shipowners and ship operating is extremely competitive. Therefore they are always looking for new business. Promise the world — tell them that this is ongoing biz for the right owner!”

Thirdly, “find out who they compete with a lot and tell them that they are $2 cheaper! So if Shipowner X is always competing with shipowner Y in many markets, then play up to this. By telling them that their mortal competitive enemy is $2 cheaper, then they will surely sharpen their pencils. The other thing is this: shipowners and freight traders find comfort in numbers. If they hear that three or four other reputable shipowners are also offering on your business at these cheap rates, then somehow they can justify this internally. So play up to that! It’s not lying — it’s poker”.

So there you have it. The art of shipbroking in a nutshell. But lest our blogger be accused of partiality, he wisely wraps up with: “This post is to give one back for all the unsuspecting charterers out there who have been flummoxed by the super-clever shipowners. Sorry shipowners — next time I will let you in on a few secrets into what motivates exporters and importers.”

On the Watch has a gut feeling this anonymous broker is none other than... but you’ll have to wait until next week to find out.


Haha - Nice try Tradewinds - trying to increase circulation through bating the reader that my true identity will be revealed the next week. Well that time has actually come (next week is here) and sure enough nadda...I am still free to walk the halls of the baltic without being mobbed by sycophants and ladies of otherwise good repute.

I actually offered my services to Tradewinds (6 months ago) as a freelance colour writer but haven't heard back. If you think that VS should write irreverent articles for Tradewinds then send a email to the editor suggesting same. Go on I dare you!