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

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Happened yesterday

At Richards Bay South Africa

160,000 mt of coal on board!


Monday, August 19, 2013

The VS Dry Cargo Certificate

So its been a while since I ran one of these courses. I think I have done 6 or 7 of tyhese courses with over 30 graduates. But Gee they take alot of energy and I just needed a break. In truth i still am not ready to run another course but If i keep getting emails like this one then I just might!


Hi VS,
My apologies for not writing in earlier, especially right after the course. There was something wrong with the other email id that was using and then i was probably too lazy to start a new one all these months......finally i've created a new one thus writing in.

I am happy to report that right after I graduated from the course, i doubled the number of fixtures/revenue I was concluding.

It's been a mix of tc, short period and voyage, more of supramaxes than pmx and handy.

I cannot thank you enough for conducting this course - it takes a lot of generosity, self confidence and positivity to share your knowledge with strangers like me - thus transforming lives and careers.

I came across many situations repeatedly where your education/guidance was absolutely bang-on and concluding the deal was hinged on this, and i found myself thanking you in the back of my mind.

I doubt there is any other course/education in this world which imparts such technical and practical knowledge and the jist of years of experience - keep rocking !!!!


Gee I have awesome Alumni!

makes this VS thingy worthwhile....

even though I am anonymous and cant really share the success of this blog with others (except a modest few) emails like that allow me to smile to myself as I walk to work each morning knowing that some people are getting something out of my shipping related rants.

Sincere thanks


The answer to the Riddle...

POWER (and influence)

Concepts I admit to struggling with over the years. Power is useful, intoxicating, dangerous and evil all at the same time...........in my opinion anyway.

And the idea of POWER is something that rarely gets talked about at corporate lunches, or business functions for one huge reason. People HATE the idea that they are influenced (even controlled) by those who wield power. If they admit this they admit to not being rational or even susceptible to charismatic individuals who get energy from having power. Hence the cliche's explaining the success of some.

POWER - they way I describe it and have seen it over the years is in many guises and I will try and explain more in future posts. If anyone can relate then I am pleased to hear your stories.

Friday, August 9, 2013

A riddle that took me years to figure out

Like any enthusiastic young buck straight out of university and trying to make a name for myself in the world of international bulk shipping, I worked hard and tried to figure out how the be the best shipbroker I could possibly be. Also - as a then unconscious INTJ (see Myers briggs) I see now that I was constantly trying to solve a riddle (because INTJ's are strategists) that in hindsight was not mine for the knowing - just then anyway.

That riddle - the riddle which I posed to all my mentors, colleagues and clients at any given chance, was also in hindsight out of their reach too..

For this riddle only reveals itself to those who look hard enough - in my opinion anyway. You see the problem was that I kept getting the same kind of answers when I asked a simple question - "What makes a great shipbroker?" and more specifically "who is the best shipbroker in the market?"

It was (and still is) a loaded question mind you because like politics - everyone has an opinion. And sure enough the tried and tested, almost cliche'd answers would waft across my bow - especially with regards to what makes a great broker. The usuals like "hard work", "experience", "great customer service" and 'street smarts". I sucked up these answers keen to take it all on board  - although deep down I had suspicions that I could have got the same answers from any business textbook i had read at university.

As for the other question - "who is the best broker"? a curious thing happened. Unlike politics where people had different views - this elicited a reply more common at a birthday party - just about everyone in my market (which is a pretty big one) sang out the same name....Len Maxwell....(not his real name because that would be embarrassing for both of us). This was over 20 years ago now and yep for the next 15 years whenever a discussion was to be had about who is the best most successful broker 'in the land' Mr Maxwells name would invariably come up. There were a few anecdotes about large deals but the crux of any conversations was that if Mr maxwell was the broker then as a competitor you should concentrate on something else.

As a client having Mr Maxwell handle your account was seen as a fairly important thing....it meant your account was worthy of his attention. In the crazy, high end world of million dollar deals and massive ships those of you new to the industry need only hang around for a while before you realise how reputations are made and destroyed in what is a truly global industry.

So back to the riddle - what in my opinion was the real reason Mr Maxwell was considered the 'Best Broker' in the land and how could I tap into this reservoir of riches and respect amongst my peers?

There was one thing he (Mr Maxwell) had more than his competition......and he had it in droves...

Who can guess what that was?........anyone? anyone?...

(oh and a tip - its not something boring like 'passion' - this is not Oprah - try again!