Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers
London & South East Branch

Callum Beaumont Recruitment Manager at Clarksons Platou outlines the opportunities in Shipbroking

Callum Beaumont Recruitment Manager at Clarksons Platou outlines the opportunities in Shipbroking

Opportunities in commercial shipbroking exist to utilise all skill sets. Interested in a career in the industry? See which path suits you best.

Shipbroking is a highly sought-after employment sector, with applicants coming from a wide variety of professional and educational backgrounds. 

Though many people equate professional shipbroking primarily with originating and closing deals, complex international shipping organisations offer opportunity in many different forms. 

Shipbroking firms are divided into expert teams, each comprised of specialists working in functions which bring out the best in their natural strengths and talents. 

Within Clarkson’s core shipbroking unit, there are three primary career paths: Operations, Broking and Market Analysis. Each one calls for a unique set of skills and abilities.

Which one best matches your profile?

Ship Operators

What do they do?

Operators in shipbroking are responsible for coordinating and overseeing the successful delivery of cargoes negotiated and agreed by the broking team. Working closely with owners and charterers, they provide regular updates to customers at all stages of the voyage, facilitate documentation and ensure that all partners and suppliers adhere to schedules and regulatory requirements to deliver cargoes securely and on time.  

What skills do they need?

Successful operators are great communicators, in constant contact via phone and email with multiple contacts around the world – owners, charterers, brokers and masters. Project managing between business partners can be stressful work, so operators are skilled in mediating and customer service. 

They are highly responsive, working in time-sensitive conditions and keeping on top of large volumes of correspondence. Since operations is a 24/7 function, members of the team adjust to client needs and often remaining contactable during evenings and weekends.

Organization is key, and operators are experts at establishing workflows and working patterns that allow them to keep in control of a constantly-moving workload. 

It could be right for you if:

You are detail-oriented, have great communication and inter-personal abilities, enjoy fast-paced work, have a good memory and prize your organization skills. 

Brokers

What do they do?

Shipbrokers are the link between companies looking to charter or purchase ships with the owners of suitable vessels. 

They build and manage complex contact networks across the international shipping community, working to help those who need to transport cargoes and materials locate the right ships at the right price. 

What skills do they need?

As well as being deeply knowledgeable about ships, shipping routes, rates, pricing and other market knowledge, brokers need to be experts in relationship-building and negotiating. 

Top brokers have highly polished sales skills, have a knack for being in touch with the right potential customer at the right time, and are savvy business professionals able to see how political, legal and trade events translate into needs and opportunities across the shipping community. 

It could be right for you if:

You’re a natural networker, have an outgoing personality, establish rapport quickly with new acquaintances, are fascinated by business and market dynamics and have outstanding sales and negotiating skills. 

Analysts

What do they do?

Analysts collect, analyse and present essential data used by shipbroking companies’ internal teams and external customers. Monitoring shipping and commodities markets, analyst teams manage complex databases of market information, partnering with brokers, commercial teams and clients to provide market analysis and presentations to facilitate decision-making and negotiations. 

What skills do they need?

With data at the heart of their work, top analysts have strong numerical and logic skills, are advanced Microsoft Excel users and are comfortable working with and analysing complex data sets. 

An ability to share and display data compellingly is also vital, with analysts being highly adept with PowerPoint and other tools, often supporting key commercial engagements with data and analysis presentations. 

(It’s not all about IT, either – many analysts at Clarksons do regular filmed interviews in our in-house studio to share their expertise with our team and customers). 

It could be right for you if:

You have strong educational qualifications (typically degree of MSc in Shipping, Economics, History or similar), are highly numerate, have strong logic skills, have exceptional attention to detail and a natural flair for data analysis and visualization. 

(Printed by kind permission of Callum Beaumont Recruitment Manager Clarkson Platou in February 2019)