Hong Kong has a cluster of shipbrokers from around the world. Both local and foreign experts in the cluster have a thorough understanding of the unique Asian market and possess qualifications recognised by international organisations. Many large-scale shipbroking companies have set up their regional bases in Hong Kong.

Major Duties

The basic work of shipbrokers is to facilitate the sale, purchase and chartering of vessels, and perform the following duties:

  • to liaise with ship owners, ship operators and cargo owners;
  • to provide information about the market, including the demand and supply of vessels, as well as the market prices for sale or chartering of vessels;
  • to provide professional advice, such as advising ship owners and charterers in accordance with the maritime law, the contract law and the laws on marine insurance and agents, so as to help resolve the disputes between the two parties; and advising on the established practices of various ports and cargo trading; and
  • to handle payment and draft contracts and relevant documents.

Entry Requirements

Shipbroking is globalised and operates around the clock. The business turnover is as high as hundreds of million dollars per year. It is a challenging job with substantial returns and practitioners have to be highly knowledgeable about their profession. Basically, a junior shipbroker is required to:

  • possess a bachelor’s degree and shipping experience or the membership of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers (ICS) Note, or have received training in a ship chartering company, or possess experience in handling shipping operation in a shipping company;
  • have an extensive knowledge of the specialised terminologies in maritime geography, chartering and maritime transport, as well as maritime law and contract law; and have a good understanding of the business cultures and philosophies of both eastern and western societies;
  • be proficient in written Chinese and English and have a good command of spoken English and Putonghua; and
  • have good communication skills.

Note: The ICS is an international organisation providing training for practitioners, from new recruits to experienced professionals. It organises professional qualifying examinations to assess the maritime knowledge of candidates. Candidates who have passed the examinations will be granted the ICS membership and will be recognised by the international maritime community. There are 25 branches under the ICS around the world. The one in Hong Kong is named the ICS Hong Kong Branch. For details, please visit the webpage of the ICS ( and the webpage of the ICS Hong Kong Branch(