A ship broker functions as an agent and deals in the selling and purchasing of ships and cargo. However the role and the scope of a ship broker job is quite detailed and vast, requiring an interested individual to possess knowledge not just in theoretical aspects but also in practical areas.
Individuals wanting to take up the profession of a shipping broker enter the field as trainees. A trainee ship broker forms the lowest rung in the hierarchy of shipping brokers.
The hierarchy in an ascending chronology can be listed down as follows:
- Trainee Marine Broker
- Practicing Marine Broker
- Senior Marine Brokers
- Management Brokerage Professionals
- Job experience is not a major requirement for individuals aspiring to become marine brokers and freshmen can easily gain a job as a trainee marine broker.
- Aspirants to the profession need to have a good command over the English language. They also need to have good people skills which will enable them while trying to negotiate business transactions with clients.
- Individuals are also required to have basic computer knowledge which will enable them to carry out data-processing operations.
- Sound dedication to the profession chosen, ability to work at unorthodox work hours and a capacitance to fulfil the designated responsibility are some of the other requirements aspirants need to possess.
- A high school certificate is the least required educational qualification for individuals aspiring to be ship brokers.
- However there are certain other specific examinations that individual need to appear and clear so as to become eligible for a ship broker’s profession.
The Institute of Chartered Ship Brokers (ICS) is a recognised authority worldwide on the profession. The Institute conducts comprehensive examinations in the subject of shipping brokering. The details of the same can be listed as follows:
Professional Qualifying Exams: Spread over a period of seven years, the professional qualifying exams (PQE) are an important examination offered by the institute. Subject-wise the examination syllabus is divided into
- Four compulsory subjects
- 12 optional subjects
In the very first of an applicant’s registering for the PQE, the aspirant has to submit two papers. Regular submission of the papers will enable an individual to complete the examination sooner than the stipulated seven years’ duration.
Diploma Examinations: An interested candidate to become a shipping broker can also apply for the diploma programs offered by the institute. Diploma courses are of two types: the basic diploma course and the advanced diploma training program. The diploma courses have a total of nine subjects that a candidate needs to clear.
There are three ways through which a candidate can appear for the ICS examinations. Long distance learning programs through established centres of the institute, an e-learning training program and a day-to-day lectures program are the three choices provided. As per the convenience and feasibility of a student, the best option of the three can be chosen.
A trainee ship broker starts with a salary package varying between US$ 2,000 and 3,000. The highest pay-package that a maritime broker can earn is around US$ 38,000. In addition to their salary package, a shipping broker also commands lucrative commission rates.
Job Scenario & Future Prospects
Shipping brokers command a unique position and respect in the marine industry. Trainee brokers are responsible for negotiations and as such they get a vast on-the-job training and exposure. Several high profile shipping conglomerates recruit maritime brokers to carry out the required shipping deals. In the present scenario, when the marine industry is facing a huge economic boost, it is expected that the demand for a person in the ship broker job will increase tremendously. It has also been predicted that the upward scale of demand will continue for yet another five to 10 years.
A shipping broker, in his own way revolutionises the functions of the entire maritime industry. As a trainee ship broker first and then as a senior-most official in the profession, he learns maturity and expertise to deal with various situations. A maritime broker is not only a middleman in the maritime transactions, he is also an individual who understands the needs and requirements of clients and endeavours to fulfil the same in the most satisfactory manner.
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