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

Thursday, September 17, 2015

A good question from a seafaring reader


From Seastoshore

HI VS I am a newly qualified officer of the watch with a British issued COC In the next year or so I plan to do a trip as a junior officer and in my leave learn the commercial side of the business and hopefully do some post fixture work, after this I want to brake into brokage. How employable would I be seen to be .. yes I don't have a economic/business degree from a top university but I do have solid industry experience. Alot of guys who go for trainee broker jobs probably haven't even seen a commercial ship yet alone know that a 38000 dwt Handymax bulker can't actually carry 38000 tonnes of cargo. Regards


I hear ya Seatoshore...

Im always on about the need for commercial shipping people to know what a ship actually looks like. Early on in my career I was lucky enough to have a management traineeship with a large multinational shipping company that apart from ship brokerage, they owned vessels, had an agency and offshore set up and even owned stevedores and ports. 

I will never forget the day that I was asked to jump on a helicopter and land on the hatch of a panamax ship just outside the port limits. Because of congestion the ship could not berth but they needed to evacuate a sick crew member. The weather was hairy but the incident was one of the best things I have done in the 25 years I have been in this caper. 

on a calm day

Cutting to the chase Seatoshore - your experience is fine and if you carry that combative yet polite 'winning' attitude then I reckon you would be a great asset and very hireable. Check out 'Inside Shipbroking' though for some of the other way 'seaman' can transition into brokerage...

Wishing you luck


Saturday, September 12, 2015

Another happy VS shipbroking and chartering Cert student

A nice message after our final virtual negotiation..


Thank you VS!

Sent the recap to both VS Broker and VS Charterer. 

That is truly sad news (that we are finished) but for what its worth, I would definitely enrol my future trainee shipbroker employees in this course. Hopefully it’s still around. 

I wish to thank you for considering me. It has been nothing short of fantastic.

Eddy P


Look - every time i run this course I do have some hesitation. It is important to me that the course offer great value and it is not until i get feedback that I am ever sure. 

What I do know is that after every course, despite its simple premise, the feedback in terms of practical knowledge and value delivered is unanimously good. 

When you also consider that a 2 day course covering about 1/10 of what this course delivers - can cost up to USD 5,000 ......then my humble little chartering and shipbroking course remains the benchmark.

Thanks you to Eddy P and look forward to running a new (larger) intake in October...


Monday, August 24, 2015

Who is watching and reading the VS Blog

Haven't done this for a while. Found that readers like to find out who else is reading the VS blog
Numbers are readers (page hits) this month total 12,390
Top 10
United States   2223
United Kingdom   1437
Singapore  1323
Russia  1013
India  978
Greece  487
France 482
United Arab Emirates 293
Ukraine 290
Germany 218

Some usuals not there ( in top 10) this month

C'mon Australia, Norway, Japan and Denmark!

Drop us a line and say hello from wherever you may be!



Monday, August 17, 2015

The VS Dry Cargo and Shipbroking Certificate

Every week I get an email or two asking about the next VS Dry Cargo and Shipbroking Certificate.

Due to time constraints (im a busy person you know) I have recently been running this program on a one on one - case by case basis..

Having said that I am really enjoying it at the moment and I am considering a larger intake around November this year.

So if you are keen to be part of this course check out the 'study' tab above, read the premise and drop me a line....

Spaces are always limited....

A question from a reader..

DamayantiAugust 13, 2015 at 7:16 AM
  1. Hey! Can you tell me the implications of the clause
    "Laycan: Prompt"? Would prompt in this case mean that the ship HAS to be available at the start of the laytime or within reasonable period?
Prompt merely means 'now onwards'..........
In a negotiation you would ask for clarification (real laycan) from the charterer...

Sunday, August 9, 2015


Still around just busy with stuff...

See broking circles awash with redundancies, mergers and restructuring as the poor market conditions really start to bite...

More to come


Sunday, June 28, 2015

The greatest shipping book ever written?

So I thought I would tell you guys about the greatest shipping book I have ever read.

Title: We, the Drowned by Carsten Jensen

I just finished reading it and I would venture to say not only is this the greatest shipping novel ever written but quite possibly my favourite novel of all time.

EPIC - on a slightly smaller scale then say Tolstoys 'War and Peace'.

So if you love literature and are interested in all things shipping then this on one helluva book.

Traces the trial and tribulations of the small Danish maritime town of Marstel over a 100 year period.

It's people and the rise and fall of the shipping markets, ship owning, ship broking, life at sea - all the good stuff - through wars, depressions, booms and busts.

Check it out


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Freight market update!!

Ready for it..................

No change


Wont change for at least 2 years.

On the supply side - the good news is that new orders (for new ships) have dried up completely and scrappings (of old ships) will continue nicely. So I reckon 2018-2019 we might see an upturn.

BUT like every other market report for the last 15 years the direction and speed of the market all depends on 'China' - well mostly anyway...

See don't bother paying Clarksons or SSY thousands for market reports...send me the cheque..

Virtual Shipbroker
Blue Sheep Way
8,000 meters

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

update on junior salaries from a former student of mine


btw VS, just completed 2 years as a broker a few weeks ago, and I guess I’ll update the salary question bc that’s usually what everyone wants to see. I went from 45k the first year, to 55k the second year, to 75k into my current contract, not including bonuses. Currently in discussion with a few other shops/principals offering about 90k if I stay in the country I am in, and close to $120,000 if I go abroad. If I can get a handle on this, anyone can.


Many thanks update. Not sure where you are and what currency you are using but either way whether it is USD, Euro, Pounds or Sing not a bad progression and a nice wage for someone in the game for 2 years..

Keep me updated - you are a legend!


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Another great question from a few weeks ago - sorry late posting


Hi mate,

Big fan of your blog, great to read something that is explained as clearly as it is

I have recently started working as an FFA trader for a shipowners, but have barely been taught anything about the physical side of things. I have 2 questions if you would kindly answer. 

What are the advantages and disadvantages of fixing a spot ship?

China cut their interest rates recently meaning stock prices went up. How does that effect the shipping market?

Answers anyone??? Love this interactive stuff

demurrage / half despatch - wtf?

Great question!


Hi VS,

I am a fan of your wonderful blog.

Also brought one of your books "Shipbrokers Fasttrack" which was very informative and useful when I worked for a broking firm.

Presently, I work for a Charterer and I have 3 questions for you.

Why Despatch is half of Demurrage ?
Why not same as Demurrage ?
What is the logic behind Half of Demurrage ?


Best Regards


Who can answer???

Cmon - join in!

Monday, March 9, 2015

When to include ship brokerage?


VS / Will

Good day

long time listener, first time writer!

I managed to secure a broking job for a small broker firm in London. I have been doing a bit of short-sea as a way to learn/cut my teeth. I have one question regards brokerage. 

We got a request from some close charterers to get tonnage and rates for an order they had. I sent out the order to owners with our brokerage included on it. We then got rates/tonnage back from owners which we sent on to charterers for their guidance. When I sent the tonnage/rate onwards I did not included our brokerage as I understood that owners will be paying. Therefore, charterers do not need to see the brokerage as we collect it from owners. Am I correct in this thinking?




Hi Will. Congratulations on your new job. Yes you are right the charterers don't necessarily need to know about the brokerage except in the recap if you fix or if they ask explicitly

Thanks for the post


state of affairs - interesting article


Shipping industry faces shake up as private equity unwinds bets

SINGAPORE, March 4 Tue Mar 3, 2015 9:00pm GMT
(Reuters) - As global shipping grapples with its worst downturn in 30 years, private equity firms are unwinding massive bets made on the sector in a move set to accelerate a restructuring of the shipping industry.
Private equity invested tens of billions in global shipping after the 2008 financial crisis, but weaker Chinese demand and an oversupply of ships has driven down freight rates and caused firms to idle vessels and in some cases file for bankruptcy.
At least five private-equity backed shipping firms are seeking share listings, though it's unclear whether they will be able to price them to make a profit.
Industry sources also expect mergers and acquisitions to drive more consolidation in one of the world's most fragmented industries. According to shipping services firm Clarkson, 70 percent of the sector's thousands of firms own fewer than 51 vessels.
"People who invested in dry bulk are likely losing their shirts. Those that invested in container ships probably feel disappointed," said Jim Furnivall, managing partner of Alterna Capital Partners.
The New York-based private equity firm had generated "great but not spectacular" gains in its investments in clean tankers, vessels that carry refined products, he said.
Private equity invested $32 billion in shipping from January 2012 to January 2014, maritime fund management firm Tufton Oceanic estimates. This is equivalent to 22 percent of the total value of the world merchant fleet, including ships on order.
Harold Malone, managing director of maritime investment banking at investment bank Jefferies, said private equity exits were likely to "accelerate into 2015 and 2016" after it appeared a number of "potentially terrible" investments had been made, though he said crude tanker investments may turn out better due to a revival in rates last year.
Principal Maritime Tankers Corp, backed by Apollo Global Management, is seeking to raise up to $100 million and containership operator Costamare Partners LP , supported by York Capital Management, is also hoping to raise $100 million.
Singapore's Miclyn Express Offshore, owned by Australia's Champ Private Equity and Hong Kong's Headland Capital Partners, is eyeing an initial public offering in the next three years.
Asked about their investments, Champ and Apollo declined to comment, while Headland Capital Partners and York Capital did not immediately respond to requests.
ICON Capital, another private equity house, said it was planning to list one of its shipping funds in coming months.
New York, as well as Oslo and Singapore, both important shipping centres, would be among the favoured listing locations, financiers said.
Underlining the pressure the global industry is under, China's Winland Ocean Shipping Corp filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States on Feb. 12, the third known bulk shipper bankruptcy this month.
"Private equity is forcing and supporting mergers and acquisition deals to do (fleet) roll-ups or listing as a way to exit their positions," said Randee Day, president and chief executive of Day and Partners, a maritime consulting and advisory firm, adding that many investors would sell at a loss.
Day is also interim president of private equity-backed Eagle Bulk Shipping.
Recent mergers have included Excel Maritime Carriers selling a fleet of 34 ships to Star Bulk Carriers. Oaktree Capital Management was the major shareholder in both companies.
Supertanker owner DHT Holdings, whose major shareholders are private equity funds, also acquired Singapore tanker owner Samco Shipholding last September.
Ship owners embarked on a massive ordering spree, partly fuelled by private equity, from 2008 which created a glut of tanker, container ship and dry bulk shipping capacity.
A balance between the fleet and cargo demand growth in the dry bulk sector expected last year failed to materialise, amid an uncertain global economic outlook and slower growth inChina, the world's biggest dry bulk market.
This has put more pressure on cargo and ship prices.
The Baltic dry index - the industry benchmark for freight rates - has plunged to an all-time low.
The value of a new tanker or dry cargo vessel is 13 percent lower than 10 years ago, said Ralph Leszczynski, head of research at ship broker Banchero Costa.
Five-year old secondhand ships are around 35 percent cheaper, and average daily freight rates for tankers and dry cargo ships are also below 2010 levels, he said.
(Additional reporting by Byron Kaye in Sydney; Editing by Henning Gloystein and Ed Davies)


Friday, February 6, 2015

A big deal in the shipbroking world

One of my Old companies...bit sad really but with such a bad market a normal occurrence.
A direct hit on SSY?


Clarksons and Platou seal deal

Clarksons has completed the purchase of rival RS Platou ahead a schedule.
Andi Case and Peter Anker
Andi Case and Peter Anker
London-listed Clarksons revealed the $441m swoop had been finalised in an update to the city this morning, that was accompanied by an increased profit projection from Panmure Gordon.
Andi Case, chief executive of Clarksons, said in a statement: “I am delighted to announce the completion of the acquisition of RS Platou and we look forward to welcoming the Platou team into the enlarged group.
“The priority now is to implement our integration plans and we are excited about the enhanced offering we will be able to provide our clients following the combination of the two businesses.”
Case has previously told TradeWinds the Platou deal is a direct hit on strategic target, while Platou boss Peter Anker has reached his goal of taking the company to the capital markets.
Anker will now take on a senior role as global head of broking at Clarksons.
Gert Zonneveld of Panmure Gordon says the takeover has been finalised more quickly than expected and dialled up his 2015 profit guidance as a result.
He is now projecting earnings per share of 157.6 pence for 2015, up 1.6% on his earlier forecast. His 2016 numbers are unchanged, with EPS set at 177.1 pence.
“The Platou acquisition should strengthen Clarksons’ global position in offshore broking and shipbroking, enhance its research offering and further elevate its position as the go-to specialist investment bank for offshore and shipping,” Zonneveld said.

congratulations to the 400th follower

Anant Saxena!

Who wins a lifetime supply of beer, pretzels and good luck...

Membership has its privileges


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

nice message


Dear VS,

This is simply just my way to thank you for all the amazing blog content and your book The Virtual Shipbroker. 
I’ve now thanks to you managed an internship at a local niche shipbroking firm! We’ve been in contact with each other before and Iam so grateful for your answers and your kindness.

Wish you the best!

Kind regards, Joe


You rock!

Oh and can someone please be my 400th follower - the suspense is killing me...

Monday, February 2, 2015

I know what you are thinking!

Alright Guys and Girls i'm back.

Thanks again for your patience. Was a great trip and have spent the last month or so getting back into the swing of my real life. Highlight of the trip was seeing Messi, Suarez and Neymar score against PSG (Zlatan also scored) at the Camp Nou in December. Shipping took a back seat.

I have many emails that need answering so I will get to them over the next week.

The books keep selling and I appreciate all the positive feedback. I need to write a new one this year - note to self.


Ability to predict behaviour

Brace yourself for some VS pseudo psychology - its been a while brewing in my head.

On the topic about what makes a good trader / shipbroker and also after watching Messi live at the Camp Nou - somehow it made me think of a TED talk I watched while surfing the net a while back.

This TED talk is about a thing called 'Theory of Mind' - and theory of mind essentially is about our ability (or lack of) to read someones else's thoughts. A mind reader no less. No this is not whack job stuff its actually scientific and there is a part of the brain that is either "active or not - or somewhere in between'. I wonder if a genius sports persons innate ability to 'predict' what is about to happen is what makes Messi and Ronaldo better than the rest? Could this also explain why some traders / shipbrokers are better than others. Trading is all about psychology.....predicting what the market will do...Pure economics people!

Here is the TED talk for those inclined

(I predict most shipbrokers will get bored after 1 minute.............see how easy this is)

Good to be back. Drop me a line to say Hi!