VIEWPOINT: We Have Too Many Junior Bunker Traders

by Can Ertem
Thursday April 11, 2024

Bunkering is a sector pumping billions of dollars of liquidity into the shipping industry.

Bunker trading houses literally work like banks, and provide huge amount of short-term liquidity to owners and operators on an unsecured credit basis (of course risk mitigation tools such as credit insurance and maritime lien are employed).

But they're operating like call centres, because of the industry practice of hiring and firing and so-called graduate programmes which literally mean throwing young people to trading desks and asking them to keep calling and calling prospective customers.

Most of these young people don't perform and get pushed out at the end, but most still stay in the industry and move to other trading houses. This vicious circle continues with new hires and an over-accumulation of junior traders.

Everybody is complaining about over-saturation leading to slim margins, but I still see so many bunker companies advertising junior bunker trader positions, every day.

A trading house having a good year or two would like to reinvest their profits, and they go and employ new traders. Alternatively, when the market is slow and cash is not utilized, the remedy here is also employing new traders.

It's the same practice for two different circumstances; this definitely doesn't sound right to me!

As a result we shoot ourselves in the foot, and massively de-value the service we provide.