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Consortium Maritime Trading: How to make money from freight derivatives trading

Consortium Maritime Trading is in the process of raising $50m to create a fully integrated freight and commodity derivatives trading house, Philippe van den Abeele, founder and head of investments, tells Maritime CEO.

The privately owned trading company incorporated in the UK has this year alone doubled the size of the business due to a combination of great trading results and fresh funding and expects to reach $30m under management across all of its products lines.

“We focus on liquid and cleared products only and we do not hold positions more than 12 months forward,” van den Abeele says.

He sees the company as a smooth conduit into the freight derivatives market. “We do know all the tricks of the trade, and steer all our customers/shareholders in the right direction in a discreet and efficient manner,” says the man who spearheaded Clarkson’s rise into derivatives at the turn of the century. 

Capital that has never or seldom been in shipping is now jumping on the bandwagon

Predicting the dry bulk markets for this year and the next, van den Abeele reckons it takes a brave person to go long at these elevated levels. He deems that as the container market unravels itself from Covid, resulting in greater availability of tonnage, the effects will cascade down through each part of the dry cargo market.

Crude oil, however, is a different environment, he asserts. In the last six months, the tanker fleet has seen more scrapping than the dry sector due to considerably lower freight rates and lower levels of fresh investment. Nevertheless, as crude oil prices seem on the move again and the curve backwardation has flattened, it gives traders potential incentive for floating storage deals coupled with a potential increase in ton/mile changes – “the overall outlook for next year is positive,” he reckons.

For van den Abeele, whose career started with Galbraith’s 41 years ago, the appetite for shipping has changed because it’s making money, and not in a small way, and because supply chain logistics issues are believed to be a longer-term game changer – “Hence, capital that has never or seldom been in shipping is now jumping on the bandwagon,” says the broking veteran. 

Before founding the company with Patrick Burke in March 2014, van den Abeele was the chairman of Freight Market Users Group and the managing partner of Castalia Fund Management. In the future, he says the company will stick to what it does best, but it is looking closely into carbon offset trading and tools within the AI/big data sphere.

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