Along the transportation chain, agents and shipbrokers each have three main functions:
- Provide information (of current, developing and projected markets);
- Be an effective and efficient intermediary (between two principals);
- Co-ordinate the negotiations to conclude a fixture.
Shipbrokers can either act for one or for both principals, often working to bring them together to their mutual agreement, whereas AGENTS usually only act for one principal. Shipbrokers tend to have no formal contract with their Principals but can rely on a contract which is implied by their conduct. Agents, especially when they are shipbrokers who work ‘exclusively’ for charterers or owners, do usually have a formal contract with their Principal.