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, September 18, 2011

The VS certificate rolls on

The great news is that none of the current students have decided to drop out after the two week grace period and by all accounts are enjoying the program alot.

So who are the current students? People always want more info.....to satisfy curiosity...which is cool.

Can't tell you specifics but can say this
  • 8 in number
  • 7 males
  • 1 female (first one wahooooo)
  • 1 of the 8 has elected to do the course anonymously
  • 2 from chartering companies
  • 6 from brokers (including 3 of the big 6)
  • 2 from South Korea/Japan
  • 1 from Australia / NZ
  • 4 from Europe
  • 1 from South America
  • All pioneers with a entrepreneurial spirit
  • All with varying degrees of knowledge and experience

As i have said to the students. Kudos to them - It takes some courage to hand over close to USD 1,000 to an anonymous blogger. It is entirely possible I could take the money and run never to be heard of again. Highly unlikely though and these guys are smart enuf to understand risk vs reward. Not only is this the cheapest, most hands on course in chartering and shipbroking, you also make amazing contacts which is worth the price of admission alone.

Next intake wont be until well into 2012....incase you missed out this time.


Answer to the question on previous post - can a shipowners cancel?

Once again thanks for the great question and thank you to the many contributors who pretty much answered the question perfectly.

Note that im not a lawyer and without knowing the exact circumstances and charterparty clauses.

I do however offer the general opinion that -  a shipowner cannot cancel a contract under these circumstances but fortulately is protected by way of demurage / detention clauses (in the cp).

Legally speaking demurrage or detention constitutes DAMAGES awarded against a charterer for taking longer than stipulated to load or discharge a ship.

The question of whether the damages fall under 'demurrage" or "detention" probably depends on the circumstances and also on the cp.

There is a great lesson here for shipowners. This is a story about delays but it is also a story about sound ship trading practice.

Although a shipowner cannot be expected to premeditate every move in the market, a shipowner / ship operator when fixing a cargo with say a laycan 3 weeks away needs to consider many things

1. The current voyage he is undertaking and the likelihood for delays

2. The charterparties for both the current and next voyage and whether there is flexibility or even scope to cancel the contract. What kind of laycan cancelling clause have you used is another example of smart cp negotiations skills that can help you before a problem arises.

3. Current market conditions......if the market is about to explode best to fix a cargo that you are certain will run smoothly and quickly so you are set to take advantage of the next opportunity

To name a few..........

If the market were to drop (instead of rise during the voyage period) the shipower would be very happy with any delays locking in a damages claim at higher than current market levels. So it goes both ways.

In a game of poker - sometime you win, sometimes you lose. Advice to the shipowner is "limit the damage and move on"!


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A great question - can a shipowner withdraw a ship if cargo is late?

From a reader


Can shipowner cancel the contract or witraw from it if the delay is caused by the charterer (for example: the goods intended for loading are not ready)? The delay prolonged the time beyond stipulated laycan, and the shipowner has next contracted laycan for another charterer so he should cancel this C/P to acheve the next one.

If this is the case, does the shipowner has a right to charge the charter the deadfreight or some kind of compensation for losing time due to chartere's delay?

Thanks in advance.


Anyone help this person out???

Free beer for any right answer..

Monday, September 12, 2011

CO2 fitted ships

One of my current crop of students has asked a good question. What constitutes a CO2 fitted ship?

Not all ships are fitted with a CO2 fire fighting systems in their cargo holds. The systems are quite expensive and those ships that are fitted are able to load combustible cargoes that other ships cannot. Cotton seeds are one such cargo.

Sometime these ships command a premium in the market..

The details

The Co2 system consists of a fire detection system (smoke detectors) and an alarm system, along with Co2 cylinders. During an indication of fire in the cargo hold, the gang of co2 bottles are released depending upon the cargo permeability (how much space is empty over the cargo for co2).

When there is a fire in any of the cargo hold compartments, the smoke is sucked into the sampling pipes and is passed through diverting valves in to the wheel house, thus warning the bridge personnel about the fire. Simultaneously, the sample from the pipes is passed over a smoke detector which senses the smoke and activates the audio visual alarm indicating the outbreak of fire.

There are other fire fighting systems available to shipowners but the Co2 system is easily the most popular...


Re current crop of students.

A great mix from some of the worlds largest brokerage firms and even a few cargo charterers aswell. To those who didn't enrol you missed a chance to network with people controlling millions of tonnes of cargo. And those cargo principals who are thinking of enrolling next time.....you should. Its a great way to improve your knowledge, expand your horizons and make friends in other fields...

Great fun and this is a really good crew to teach..

We all rock


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Volatility - Handies vs Capes

Why is it that the smaller ship market segment is less volatile then larger sizes?

Good Question  (see previous post) and some excellent answers.  Thanks for the contributions and you are all spot on. And btw Gambalistic will go into my linguistic repertoire from now on! Love it...

Here is my take

The markets for larger ships have been more volatile than smaller ships for following reasons.
1. The market for larger ships is dominated by a small amount of larger players. This means that any significant change in market conditions will result in large market fluctuations. In shipping speak this means 3 things. The market is dominated by a) China b) coal and Iron Ore and C) Larger corporate style shipowners who control more than a handful of ships.

2. The market for smaller ships is dominated by many smaller players. This means that any change in market conditions does not necessarily affect the price of ships to a huge extent. Smaller ships go everywhere and carry everything. There are thousands of shipowners some controlling just one vessel and therefore unable to be a price maker in any way.

3. The world has built more larger ships than small ships, over recent times. Meaning that an over-supply of larger ships has led to a weakening market. Smaller ships, until recently, were being ignored by major players and are now facing catch-up. This means that a relative undersupply has meant firmer rates.

4. Larger ships and the trades they pursue are more likely to get involved in congestion issues, leading to decreased supply and more volatile rates.

Hope this helps. Anyone else care to add more reasons feel free. Any more ripper questions keepem coming.

The Virtual Shipbroker