Ship agents and brokers come in many shapes and sizes. From the large global marine service providers with representatives in all the world’s major ports to small family run concerns, the role of a ship agent is to represent the interests of the shipowner or charterer while the ship is in port by providing assistance or advice required. Ship broking activity may also be handled by ship agents, but the role of the ship broker is to act as an intermediary between the shipowner/charterer or the buyers and sellers of ships. The broker is involved in many stages of a deal: presenting the business to potential clients, negotiating the main terms of a contract or sale, finalising the details of the contract and following the deal through to its conclusion. Increasingly shipbrokers also provide their clients with a wide range of market intelligence and advice.

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Ship brokers will usually work in one of the following specialist areas, although some brokers may be active in more than one.

  • Owners brokers are appointed by shipowners to secure vessel or cargo charters for their vessels. Their main interest is to favor and protect the owner by negotiating the best terms and revenue.
  • Charterers brokers work under instruction from the charterer and are expected to circulate and negotiate his order for tonnage to secure the most favorable fixture for the cargo interests.
  • Independent brokers provide their services to both owners and charterers on a no win, no fee basis.
  • Sale & Purchase brokers represent one party in a deal to buy or sell new or secondhand tonnage.



Keep calm and sail away.