Sales and Purchase Broker
Sale and Purchase brokers are shipbrokers that specialize in the buying and selling of new and used ships. As an S&P broker you work, in an international market which is extraordinarily volatile and subject to huge swings. The S&P broker has to know the market, be able to advise their clients on the market’s probable direction, and must a good knowledge of ships and their owners.
Brokers are vital intermediaries between parties looking to buy and sell ships. When brokers are dealing with new-builds they act as an intermediary between the shipyard and the buyer and when dealing with used vessels the broker acts as an intermediary between two owners. Since buying a ship is a huge expenditure and prices of ships fluctuate, the price that these ships change hands for will affect their profitability during their lives, meaning the responsibility of the S&P broker is considerable.
If representing a seller, the broker will seek buyers either from their own contacts, in both the broking industry, or among shipowners who operate similar types of ship and might be looking to buy. A large shipbroking firm will at any time have a large number of ships on its books and it is possible that the needs of the seller can be satisfied relatively easily. As always the market will dictate and can of course be either sluggish or fast moving, depending on the demand for ships. Once a potential deal is in sight, the world of the S&P broker quickens. The price must be negotiated, and the contract prepared. The employment of the ship may have issues with the ship being sold with an existing charter, or in some distant part of the world, requiring a long delivery. The buyer must be given access to the ship for an inspection by his technical surveyors. There may be a requirement for dry-docking, to view the underwater parts. The S&P broker may also help the client to arrange finance and mortgages, and the ultimate transfer. Great professionalism and expertise is needed in this important business.
Thousands of ships change hands each year, their prices invariably governed by the laws of supply and demand. The S&P broker will always have a good idea of the current position in the trade cycle, and whether prices are likely to harden or fall in the short term. But it is notoriously difficult to predict the demand for ships and the best shipbrokers will have skills as an analyst, researcher, and valuer. Ship values can slump, or climb, virtually overnight and the timing of a purchase or ship sale is vital. Despite the volatility of the industry long terms prospects for world trade are steadily growing, which means more ships will be required. As more ships are needed the number of transactions for S&P brokers will rise.