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 © 2009-14 by Virtualshipbroker

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!

Monday, November 17, 2014

VS Tour - I'm off!

Visiting - making myself available to a few friends / clients over the next 3 weeks. London, Geneva, Italy, Spain and Doha.

Look forward to seeing you all.

New blog post (by me) will be in a short hiatus over this time..

Keep rocking

Thursday, November 6, 2014

What to do?


Dear VS

I am a dry cargo broker just under a year now, i've been in non bulk sector before, all together 3 years in shipping sector in London. In this current tight dry bulk market i feel a lot of frustration especially being new broker. I start to doubt whether I shall continue investing myself into dry and expect it to get little busier in the next 5 years, or whilst not too late switch into to other chartering/broking sector (tankers/gas). 
Thoughts of changing location and abandoning Europe is also keep popping up in my mind. Dubai, Feast seem to be more perspective locations for young motivated guys (and girls) with solid shipping base.

What do you think? Apprec for your tips and comments in my not so easy daily "plan B" thinking.



Many thanks question and yes it is a tough time for everyone including trainees / young brokers. The market is crap. What you are doing (your thought process) is entirely appropriate and part of a necessary in built risk mitigation gene that all good brokers and wise people should have and cultivate.

FWIW I am always thinking 1,2 - 5 years ahead, considering scenarios and potentialities. This however needs to be weighed against the benefits of knowing when to stay still and be content. There is a time for everything. 

Your reading of the global situation is pretty good. The risk of staying in London waiting for the market to improve is that the East is growing and shipping power has seen a large shift to Singapore and other asian cities.
You also run the risk of getting bored or getting sacked if work doesn't come your way (in london).

My advice to most things is rarely dogmatic and this is no exception. You need to hustle...keep working hard in London but be on the look out for other opportunities...

There isnt necessarily a right or wrong answer but 'be prepared' to take advantage of a new opportunity even if it involves shifting your comfort zone.

So keep hustling and when an opportunity arises you should know then and there if its the right one to pursue.

Best luck - keep rocking and happy fixing...

A philisophical VS

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A good question regarding landing a big client..


Dear VS

Good afternoon!

I love your blog, cause it's really useful and reliable source of shipbroking information.

Can you please share your experience while doing business with big corporations?

You obviously know a lot of them by paying visits to international fairs and conferences.

All of big Charterers and Owners have their own chartering departments and my conversation with them usually ends with:"You are a good guy, but we have our panel brokers, who manage to find tonnage/cargoes for our needs" or "We have enough brokers in our list, so aren't looking to improve it".

I know numerous traders, buyers, shippers, but even they can't give an order or advice to their shipping department regarding freight arrangement. I've even asked whether any procedure to become 'panel list broker' , but my efforts are effortless.

Do you have any idea how is possible to manage this gap or shall I drop it?

Pleased to hear your opinion.



Dear KN

It's an interesting question and one that i cover quite extensively in 'starting a shipbroking business' - a great read even if I do say so myself....

BTW i realized the other day that I haven't read my own books for at least 3 years. I might do my self a favor and buy a copy. Just kidding - i don't need to buy a copy of my own book.......i'm sure my wife has one.

Anyway back to the question from KN

My short answer is this

You need to be more than just a good guy...

What can you give them that others already don't...

Answer that and you are part way to securing more clients..

Oh - and yes check out the book when you get the chance


Monday, October 20, 2014

An excellent question about bunkers


Dear VS,

Good day to you!

I recently graduated with a degree in Economics, and am a Trainee with a large Shipbroking firm. Am really new to the industry, and I’ve got a question for you:

In view of the current falling bunker prices, what do u reckon will the market respond, from the perspective of 1) the shipowners, and 2) the charterers (aka the cargo owners). 

Obviously the VOY equiv rates (converted from TC rates) will fall. Will owners respond by increasing the TC rates? Is only APS rates affected, only DOP, or both will be affected? From the other perspective, what will happen to the VOY rates as well?

Thanks, and will really be glad to get a response! 


Thanks for making contact and a good question. Yes the prices of bunkers (the fuel that powers ships) has been smashed over recent months. 

As to how the market will respond? well pretty simple really. Bunkers are a cost of doing business (for the shipowner). Therefore when a shipowner rates (calculates a price) for a piece of voyage business, with low bunker prices brings a lower price. This is unavoidable. Because shipping is a fairly pure market a shipowner must reduce prices as input costs reduce. If they don't they will lose the business to the competition. 

So yes voyage rates will fall. TC rates aren't imo overly concerned with prices of bunkers. TC rates (time charter rates) reflect the balance between the supply and demand for vessels. A small reaction could be that with smaller input costs ship owners may be more willing to take the longer road to somewhere and avoid canals that have fixed costs. This will suck up supply and potentially push up tc rates. But rates are already so low and shipowners already doing this so I doubt any impact.

Your question about aps vs dop (on a tc basis) is a good one. APS rates (including BB's) should be a little cheaper because the cost to ballast includes bunkers. DOP rates on a tc basis should remain the same.

Keep rockin