The market place
The bulk shipping market is as we all know an OTC market of none standardised quotes.
Cargoes are different, as they are usually a product of the earth with a range of specifications even if they are more or less the same and the ships are also different even if sometimes similar. Even two identical ships can have very different performance depending on the captain's capabilities (routing and port operations to mention a few) and the smoothness of the hull. Shipping is also weather permitted over and below the surface, and seamanship means a lot.
Because of its size, there have been many attempts to make it into an exchange product. They have failed, and the brokers remain the none standardised market place.
Extra hands when you need it, and for what you need
Some charterers prefer to make trades directly and some via their brokers. Others prefer a mix.
At the beginning of the 90s, I was employed by Euromin (Vitol Metals) to do chartering / operations, port deals etc.
In 1992 I chartered 197 ships to take concentrates, bauxite and alumina to CIS and the resulting metals out. My dependence on using the brokers not only chartering vessels but also CPs, Laytime calcs etc. was apparent. We could only do voyage chartering as there were too many uncertainties in the CIS ports at the time. Without those brokers there would have been no chance for me to do all of that on my own. Later we employed more people to the chartering department, and I moved on to do physical operations and trading. However, it showed how essential and flexible the system was and still is. I'm always fascinated by the different broker characters and the various niches they take to have a role in the shipping market.
What do we offer you?
Our platform covers cargo and CoA planning, chartering and post fixture with Laytime calculations. We can easily set it up from the shipper using several brokers and ship owners to get quotes and post fixtures, into a system where the broker is virtually the in-house chartering team servicing the cargo owner exclusively in a very tight bond. As a broker, you can choose to be uncertain of this development, OR you can see all the benefits of digitally servicing your clients better and more automated than ever before. This would improve the service levels and make sure to remove unnecessary friction that potentially can come in-between you and your most valued client.