Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Maria O'Neill from STEPS to give some advice for people considering this job:


Maria O'Neill

Civil Engineer


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  Maria O'Neill

If you like working with others, and like problem solving then its definitely worth considering. Do you ever look at a bridge/skyscraper etc. and wonder how they did that? Or better still, are you looking at the way the road at home is laid out and thinking if they had of done something differently it would have been better.

Engineering is not a career people think about and say its helping people, but in many ways it is rewarding and just as much about helping people. Engineers design things used everyday that help people get to work, provide clean water, provide sewerage systems, care for the environment....


Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
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€18k >  
Salary Range
(thousands per year)*
€18 -  
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Last Updated: March, 2013

* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
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At a Glance... header image

Shipbrokers arrange the ocean transport of goods and commodities by sea for a client.

The Work header image

How do you find a ship to carry the cargo you have just sold to buyer or how do you buy a vessel if you want to be a shipowner? The answer is to talk to your shipbroker.

The role of a shipbroker is to act as an intermediary between the two parties to a contract, whether they are Shipowners and Charterers in the chartering market, or buyers and sellers in the Sale and Purchase market. The broker may be acting particularly for one principal or perhaps is the sole broker between the two contracting parties. He or she will be involved in many stages of the deal: presenting the business to potential clients, negotiating the main terms of the fixture or sale, finalising the details of the contract and following the deal through to its conclusion.

The size and type of vessel involved ranges from coasters carrying a few hundred tons to tankers able to lift several hundred thousand tons, and includes containerships, gas carriers, cruise ships, oil-rigs or ferries. Cargoes carried range from raw bulk commodities such as coal, iron ore and crude oil through to finished products carried in containers.

Different Types of Ship Brokers

Today the career of Shipbroking covers the following sectors of the industry:

  • dry cargo chartering,
  • tanker chartering,
  • sale and purchase of ships,
  • liner agency,
  • port agency and
  • ship management.


The work in chartering and sale and purchase is not restricted to just port or coastal areas. There are significant markets in such places as Oslo, London, Hamburg, Paris, New York, Houston Vancouver, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo, Dubai New Delhi.

You can appreciate that the broker will establish himself where the principals are based, either ship owners or charterers. The introduction of cheap efficient communications has caused the market centres to be more widespread geographically.

Types of employers

Broking houses, either competitive or in house, within the ship owning companies, or charterers (e.g. oil companies, grain houses, commodity traders...)

Labour profile

A Ship Broker can come from any walk of life, straight out of school or university or an ex-seafarers. Experience at sea is not a necessity.

Employment Prospects

Traditional ship broking centers such as London are now competing with emerging centres as technology allows us to move away from the traditional market locations. New areas such as South Africa, India and China are seeing more brokers being set up to service the increasing business quoted by local principals.

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Personal Qualitiesheader image

You'll need good organisational skills and the ability to work to deadlines and under pressure.  
Good communication skills are vital. As so much business is conducted over the telephone, you must have a clear speaking voice. You must be able to explain complex issues to clients in a clear and simple way. You also need to have high self confidence and good persuasive and negotiating skills.  
Fluency in another language will be an asset.  
Good IT skills are essential.

Related Occupationsheader image

Contactsheader image


Organisation: IMDO Irish Maritime Development Office
  Address: Wilton Park House, Wilton Place D02 NT99, Dublin 2, Ireland
  Tel: (01) 7753900
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here


Organisation: National Maritime College of Ireland
  Address: Ringaskiddy, Co. Cork
  Tel: (021) 497 0600
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here


Organisation: Baltic Air Charter Association
  Address: The Baltic Exchange, 38 St Mary's Axe, London EC3R 8BH, UK
  Tel: + 44 20 7623 5501
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here


Organisation: Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers Ireland
  Address: 19 Aylesbury, Clonmacken, Ennis Road, Limerick
  Tel: (087) 6566610
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here


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Career Guidance

This occupation is popular with people who have the following Career Interests...

...and for people who like working in the following Career Sectors:

Transport & Logistics

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Further Ed & PLC Course Suggestions
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