Who are they?
An analyst is someone who deals with a lot of information, statistics and data, whether it is past or present and uses it to help a company make important business decisions. The information that the analyst gathers can either convince or dissuade a company from investing in one area over another for example.
What do they do?
An Analyst makes it his/her job to make sense of all this information, manipulating and working with raw data to create databases, reports, graphs, determine trends and understand the economics of the shipping market. They may need to sift through past charters, shipbrokers reports, economic reports, newspaper items and a number of other sources to help gather data.
In addition, analysts can be involved in delivering client presentations to the client's key decision makers. These presentations will highlight their findings, explaining their reasoning and their final verdict on a important decision. These important decisions could have a big impact on the business, it's performance an revenue.
Their overall role is to have good in-depth knowledge of all areas of the shipping industry; keeping up to date with current affairs and news.
Some shipping companies maintain an in-house research department, although this is unlikely to be cost effective for small business. Thankfully, a number of those in-house research departments also sell on their reports and statistics to outside companies, or publish some of it free of charge on websites in the interest of knowledge sharing.