What does ‘going digital’ mean for brokers?

31 July 2020

Part of our Tales of Transformation series, we look at what digitalisation means for brokers.

In parallel to global population growth demand increases, the world gets smaller and the need for speed grows ever greater. The shipping industry is under increasing pressure to meet those requirements and it’s now widely accepted that digitalisation of our industry is what will get us there.

Shipping brokers are enablers, connecting charterers, traders, owners and operators together to ensure market demand is met. It’s this position and influence across the industry that makes their role in the digitisation of shipping a central one who can advocate change for the industry.

At Sea/ we recognise that there are a few brokers who are sceptical of emerging technologies and (rightly so) question how technology can ever replace the expertise, knowledge and relationships that they have acquired throughout their career. We happen to agree with that scepticism. Wholeheartedly. We regard the abilities of brokers and technology as compatible companions, not adversaries.

Here’s why.


You can’t teach a computer a gut feeling or basic instinct. And, in the same way, a digital platform such as Sea/ cannot replace the value add of brokers whether that’s relationship-building skills, industry know-how or depth of client knowledge. That’s not to say technology can’t enhance the already valuable role brokers play, or take away some of the painful, manual work, or regulatory risk.

Sea/ modules have been built by shipping professionals for shipping professionals; designed from the outset to make work more efficient. That means less copying and pasting, fewer hours of manual inputs, no more urgently flicking between multiple systems or logins. In turn, it means more time for brokers to…well…broker.

Modules such as Sea/net will provide visibility of all vessels on the water, allowing brokers to quickly search and find vessels of opportunity, assessing their suitability for the fixture against a range of specific criteria. Distance calculations and voyage estimations can be made in a few clicks in Sea/calc, and comparisons can easily be drawn against different routing options and vessels to provide optionality for clients, whilst you’re on the phone to them. You can look up a vessels voyage history and KPI reports in Sea/gateway to assess performance and rationalise decision making in real time – or any time for that matter. Sea/chat is the only compliant, instant messaging app, developed specifically for the shipping industry, meaning you can join up with colleagues and clients safely either in the office or on mobile.

The best bit about all of this? You only need one login and an internet connection or your mobile data to do the work. Our modules’ mobile apps mean brokers can be more flexible than ever around how, where and when they work – which is more important now than it’s ever been. We also have alert and notification options to make sure you get the urgent stuff when you need it, cutting through the noise of your inbox.


Advancements like Sea/ are a game-changer for brokers that want to stay ahead of the competition.

Make no bones about it, our industry’s technological metamorphosis is already happening. Access to digital tools and data is no longer a nice-to-have, it’s a fundamental requirement of doing business. The question is, when a client or prospect next asks you about how you’re using digital to your advantage – how will you answer?

To find out more about how Sea/ can put you ahead of your competitors, request a demo below.