It is one profession which has no defined precursors. Known in the shipping fraternity as a glamorous profession, anyone remotely associated with the marine world or willing to be associated can be a shipbroker.
Shipbrokers remain at the helm of any shipping transaction to steer it to its rightful destination. They act as intermediaries with Shipowners on one hand and a counterparty on the other hand which can be a charterer looking to move his goods or another company looking to buy or sell a ship.
Excitement and unpredictability is the rule of the game. If your are looking for consistency and a ’settled life’ surely this is not your cup of tea. The day of a shipbroker starts pretty early in the morning when others are still rubbing their eyes. Throughout the day you have to be on your toes with eyes and ears wide open to capture any relevant piece of information floating in the market. Weekends and ‘after office hours’ are frequently marred by client calls.
By the sheer nature of the job, a shipbroker is frequently required to negotiate on behalf of his client and assist him in all possible ways to conclude the transaction. Though most of the business is today done using blackberrys and ifones but frequent travelling may be expected to give a finishing touch to any deal.
To summarize it is one job which involves lot of uncertainity, hard work, excitement and information resourcefulness.
In terms of rewards, shipbroking also abides by the basic principle of finance that Risk and Rewards are proportional. Shipbrokers are paid off well though majority of the component is variable. Shipbroking is one of the few profession which can match Investment Banking and Consultancy in terms of salary. Though a trainee broker/junior shipbroker starts off at around $30k-$50k pa, within a couple of years it can go upto $150k pa. After that it is directly propotional to the broking commission you garner for your firm with the constant of proportion roughly around 1/3.
…and yeah just forgot to mention that for being a shipbroker you need to love the ships and the shipping industry as a whole. You just cannot exist otherwise!
Source: My Ship Broker. By Ankit. 25 July 2009