Shipping is a complex global industry. Maritime transport is essential to the world's economy, with over 90% of the world's trade carried by sea.
It is, by far, the most cost-effective way to move large amounts of goods and raw materials around the world. It must continually evolve to take advantage of new technology and adapt to meet customers’ needs.
Despite the rise of air transport, sea transport remains an important part of many manufacturers’ supply chains. It’s not as fast as transport by plane, but there are very few restrictions on what can be shipped and it’s usually significantly cheaper. Many consider seaborne trade to be more environmentally friendly than air cargo.
What is a shipbroker?
Shipbrokers play an important role within this dynamic industry. They’re rewarded with exciting careers and a mid-range salary, with excellent opportunities to earn bonuses.
Shipbrokers are the middlemen who make shipping happen. They negotiate deals between shipowners and the charterers who arrange the movement of goods and products and between the buyers and sellers of ships. They’re employed by specialist ship broking firms, major shipping companies who have in-house brokers and chartering companies.
How to succeed in shipbroking
Successful shipbrokers are experts in the shipping industry. They are entrepreneurial, with a strong interest in business and tend to be good at identifying and developing innovative approaches and ideas. They enjoy working with people, looking after their clients and collaborating across their team. And they are great negotiators and influencers.
They work hard and they’re committed to delivering excellent results for their clients. That can mean working across all the time zones where their contacts are trading. Even when the deal is done and the logistics team is handling the charter, the best shipbrokers will follow the movements of the cargo and keep up to date with trends in the maritime industry and in the market sectors they support.
It’s all part of building the strong personal relationships that are the foundation of the job.
One way of entering the shipbroking industry is by studying the specialist degree in Shipping, Trade and Finance at Cass where you’ll develop an in-depth understanding of shipping and trading.
As one of the best shipping courses, it combines academic theory with practical application and makes use of strong connections with the shipping industry. It offers real-life case studies, visits from industry figures and policymakers and the chance to meet future contacts and employers through the classes and networking events.
Many organisations will encourage you to take the professional exams of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers (ICS), the only internationally recognised professional body in the commercial maritime arena.
Studying the MSc in Shipping, Trade and Finance offers you also the opportunity to receive three exemptions from the professional exams of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers (ICS).
Your future in shipbroking
Today, although the shipping industry has consolidated, it still shows steady growth. Shipbrokers are making the most of new technologies, including artificial intelligence and systems for sharing information and managing processes, to add value to the services they offer to shipowners and charterers.
An interest in new technology that can support clients will certainly help you to succeed. But the most successful shipbrokers will remain those who have an old-fashioned dedication to building a trusted international network of contacts.
Related courses at City
Whatever your level of interest in becoming a shipbroker, City's courses can help you take one step closer to a career as a shipbroker, develop specialisms that'll set you apart from the field or broaden your horizons with study in related subjects.