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Shipbroking

The UK’s Shipbroking services continue to dominate the international shipping sector

Responsible for matching ships with cargoes, arranging the sale and purchase of vessels as well as broking freight derivatives, UK shipbrokers continue to dominate the international shipping sector. An estimated 30-40% of dry bulk and 50% of tanker fixtures are transacted by UK-based shipbroking firms (source: the Baltic Exchange).

Above: Baltic Dry Index 2005 – 2015. Figures from the Baltic Exchange show the volatility of dry bulk freight rates

Ranging in size from niche sole traders to large publicly listed companies, independent shipbroking firms employ around 5,000 staff and provide services to the dry bulk, tanker, container, gas and offshore sectors. Many international shipping companies and trading houses choose to base their chartering teams in and around London not only because of the advantages of the UK timezone, but also to be at the heart of the international chartering scene.

Most UK shipbroking firms are members of the Baltic Exchange and operate within its framework of strict business ethics encapsulated in its 260 year old motto “our word our bond.” In an otherwise unregulated market, trust in the shipbroker is crucial.

UK shipbrokers are able to not only match vessels with cargoes, but also provide crucial market analysis and intelligence as well as risk management services. The past few years has seen a boom in the trading of Forward Freight Agreements (FFAs). FFAs are derivative based products, which enable owners, operators, charterers and traders a means of trading freight as a commodity.

The Baltic Exchange provides independent daily shipping indices, fixture lists and forward curve data, which are used internationally to settle freight derivative and physical contracts and benchmark freight market performance.

Shipbroking is not only about matching ships with cargoes. A significant amount of the world’s sale & purchase (S&P) brokerage occurs in London. Covering all types of vessels and for the whole life of the ship, a new ship being built in Asia, a ship trading at the peak or trough of a market or heading for its final voyage to the breakers yard, S&P brokers in the UK are playing a part.

The UK is home to the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers, which provides professional qualifications not only to shipbrokers and ship’s agents, but to all sectors of the shipping community worldwide.

View our member firms  

Braemar ACM Shipbroking
The Baltic Exchange

A leading provider of vessel tracking, monitoring and security systems to shipping, offshore and financial companies, fisheries and governments.

Galbraith’s has been servicing the maritime industry since 1847, providing services on a global basis

CNCo has a long-established reputation for integrity, professionalism and innovation, setting standards for operational excellence in shipping

Championing and Protecting the UK Shipping industry

Clarksons Platou is the lead provider of Chartering, Sale and Purchase, Newbuilding and Demolition across all sectors of shipping and offshore

What is Maritime London?

Maritime London – the promotional body for UK based companies providing professional services to the international shipping industry

Funded by over 100 companies and organisations from a wide range of disciplines, Maritime London ensures that the UK remains a world beating location to base a maritime related business. Maritime London’s mission is to promote the UK as the world’s premier maritime business centre.

Our core Maritime Services

The UK is home to a world beating array of professional maritime service providers. Maritime sectors include:

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