Ship owners and operators need to find cargoes to carry to make money and stay in business, but matching a ship with a cargo can be a difficult and time consuming process. There may be a shipment ready for loading at the start of the week, but no ship available until the end of the week, or there may be a number of ships available to pick up that one cargo, so who should get the business? A Shipbroker sorts the pieces of this jigsaw and then, acting as an intermediary between the ship owner or operator and the charterer, he/she will pair a cargo with a ship, assist in negotiating and finalising the terms and conditions of the deal, and finish off by sending out a recapitulation, often accompanied by a charter party. 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. While there are many shipbroking centres around the world – Hong Kong, Shanghai, Oslo, New York and Hamburg, to name a few – many shipbrokers are based in and around London, UK. It is estimated that London’s 700 shipbroking companies account for around half of all tanker and 30%-40% of dry bulk chartering business. A second type of shipbroking sees the broker acting as the intermediary 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 vessels, calculate freight earnings, advise on finance and try to find ships for specific employment opportunities.