A Career in Shipbroking?

What is a shipbroker?

A shipbroker is someone who arranges the ocean transport of goods and commodities by sea, the employment of a vessel or buys and sells ships on behalf of his clients.

Do I need qualifications?

New entrants to the shipbroking industry do not need a shipping qualification, but there are shipping business degree courses run by several British universities.

The Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers offers professional qualifications and the Baltic Exchange also runs a number of practical shipbroking courses:


  What do shipbrokers do?

Shipbrokers act as intermediaries between shipowners and charterers or the buyers and sellers of ships. The broker is involved in many stages of a deal: presenting the business to potential clients, negotiating the main terms of a contract or sale, finalising the details of the contract and following the deal through to its conclusion. Increasingly shipbrokers also provide their clients with a wide range of market intelligence and advice.

A junior broker would be expected to be extremely flexible in terms of his or her job description - typically no formal training is given and experience is gained "on the job". Tasks might include: entering tonnage into the company's database; assisting the operations (or "post-fixture") department to get an understanding of the more technical nature of shipping; checking through charter parties (the legal contracts for any fixture); as well as starting to build his or her own contacts within the shipping world.

A successful shipbroker will have built up a network of contacts around the world - shipping is an industry based very much upon relationships and therefore it is essential that anybody entering the profession has an ability to get on with people from a variety of backgrounds. Shipbroking is highly competitive and there are far more shipbrokers than shipowners or charterers in the world - any trainee will need a strong commercial sense, be able to think on their feet and offer sound constructive advice to their clients.


  How does the Baltic Exchange fit in?

The Baltic Exchange is a self-regulated marketplace for shipbrokers. Its members are expected to operate within in a strict code of conduct. Membership of the Baltic enables shipbrokers to network, obtain market information and receive help in disputes.


  Where are the jobs?

Many shipbrokers are based in and around London. It is estimated that London's 500 shipbroking companies - many of them small businesses - account for 50 per cent of all tanker and 30-40 per cent of dry bulk chartering business. Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai, Tokyo, Seoul, New York, Vancouver, Athens, Hamburg, Copenhagen and Oslo are also important centres of shipbroking.


  Is shipbroking well-paid?

Shipbroking is a demanding and often stressful career, but the rewards can be high for the successful broker. Shipbrokers generally earn a low to medium basic salary with bonuses for good performance.


  How do I become a shipbroker?

Companies rarely advertise for entrant positions in to the industry, but some of the larger firms do recruit graduate trainees or school leavers. 


Contact details for some of the larger London firms are listed below:


Howe Robinson
Regis House
45 King William Street
London EC4R 9AN

Louise Scott

Clarksons Platou
St Katherine Way
Commodity Quay
London E1W 1BF

Simpson Spence Young
Lloyd's Chambers
1 Portsoken Street
London E1 8PH


Gibson Shipbrokers 
PO Box 278
Audrey House
16-20 Ely Place
London EC1P 1HP

Human Resources Director

Bridgegate House
124-126 Borough High Street
London SE1 1BL

Human Resources Manager

Baltic Exchange Ltd., St Mary Axe, London, EC3A 8BH
Registered in England Number 64795
Tel + 44 (0) 20 7283 9300, Fax + 44 (0) 20 7369 1622.
Calls to Baltic Exchange staff are recorded
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