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Ship Charterer

What’s it like working as a Ship Charterer?

As the controllers of cargoes, charterers are directly responsible for keeping the world’s shipping fleet in business. While some Charterers own ships themselves, either on a leased or permanent basis, most charterers regularly hire ships, or space on ships, to move their goods, products and even passengers.

Ship Charterers either liaise with intermediaries, known as Ship Brokers, or directly with ship owners to arrange the hire or charter of ships to get those cargoes to their clients by the most cost-effective and timely means. Ship Charterers therefore need to be in touch with the market to find the most suitable and cost effective transport options.

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What kind of work can I do?

Using standard forms, Ship Charterers will plan a voyage, calculate the costs involved, organize clearance and dispatch of ships, and handle ship and cargo-related documents. There is also a requirement to handle damage and insurance cases, should the need arise. Good communication and interpersonal skills are therefore essential for this role, while an analytical and proactive nature can also prove useful.

Where can I work?

Ship Chartering companies are a diverse group – ranging from the world’s largest oil companies, to mining concerns, international commodities traders and grain houses. They deal in almost every commodity – from raw materials such as iron ore, bauxite, grain and crude oil to highly refined products such as aviation fuel and petrochemicals.

At the peak of an economic cycle, the demand for Ship Charterers will be high, in line with increased trade growth and the high demand for ships to transport the cargo. However, the flip side of this is that when the market dips, so too does demand for ships and Ship Charterers.

Ship Charterers play an important role at the deep end of ship operations, helping to pair ships with suitable cargoes.

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How big is this sector?

There are plenty of opportunities for Ship Charterers within international shipping companies, but while ship broking companies often favor on-the-job training, ship chartering companies generally prefer some prior maritime knowledge. Job-seekers interested in becoming a Ship Charter should investigate maritime degrees at universities or professional training options through shipping institutions.