Who are they?
A Shipbroker sorts the pieces of this jigsaw, acting as an link between the ship owner or operator and the charterer (cargo owner).
What do they do?
They will pair a cargo with a ship, assist in negotiating and finalizing the terms and conditions of the deal, and finish off by sending out a recap, often accompanied by a charter party (contract). The whole process can take time and needs good contacts to find out what is going on where and which ships are open, or available, at any one time.
A second type of ship broking sees the broker acting as the link between the buyers and sellers of ships. The sale & purchase broker, as he/she is known, will discuss opportunities and market trends with shipowners, report on sales, value ships, calculate freight earnings, advise on finance and try to find ships for specific employment opportunities.
There are many ship broking centers around the world – Hong Kong, Shanghai, Oslo, New York, Hamburg and London.
In the UK, ship brokers can be represented by the Federation of National Associations of Ship Brokers & Agents (FONASBA). In the US, ship brokers can be represented by Association of Shipbrokers and Agents (ASBA). These associations keep close watch on all developments of interest or concern to the ship broking role and takes action to ensure that those interests are protected.