Should capesize brokers be mulling a new career? Up to a third of them could be replaced by online platforms, suggests analysts at Alphabulk in their most recent weekly report.
The future of shipbroking in the digital era has been the source of much conjecture and many articles on this site this year, much of it stemming from news that miner BHP Billiton has from this January been booking iron ore freight via its own new platform, eschewing the need for brokers.
Alphabulk reports BHP Billiton is close to sealing its 100th iron ore cargo, and has just concluded its first coal cargo deal
“Many other initiatives are underway, so suddenly there is a sombre mood percolating through the rank and file in ship brokerage. Is a massive cull on its way?” Alphabulk analysts mused.
Alphabulk reckons a third of capesize charter deals will end up being done online in the coming three to five years, theoretically making a third of the world’s capesize brokers potentially redundant.
Alphabulk said the damage would be most felt in the six cities where together 35% of all shipbrokers live and work: London, Singapore, Oslo, Geneva, Copenhagen and Paris.