Shipping is a very important and remarkably complicated business. An enormous number of companies and consumers depend on the shipping industry in order to carry and deliver goods and maintain trade relations with other companies and governments around the world. The high cost of shipping combined with the numerous difficulties of maritime trading create the need for logistics consultants who specialise in shipping, more commonly just called shipping consultants.
What does a shipping consultant do?
A shipping consultant’s role involves working with clients – either individuals, groups, companies or multi-national conglomerates – to help them ship their items to where they need to go. While this may sound simple, these specialist logistics consultants have to be very knowledgeable on international laws and regulations when it comes to transporting goods to foreign shores. Many of these laws get more complicated if certain types of goods are being shipped, and even more so if they are being shipped to particular territories which operate with specific restrictions or local regulations.
Working with experts
A typical shipping consultant will work with a team of experts to ensure that the applicable aspects of maritime law are correctly conveyed to their clients. Like other logistics consultants, a shipping specialist will also be very skilled in areas such as budget planning and analysis of costs, savings and profitability.
Who are shipping logistics consultants hired by?
Unlike most conventional logistics or supply chain consultants, shipping consultants are often hired not just by private businesses but by individuals, lawyers and even government departments to help ensure that regulations are being met. When it comes to very complicated shipping an expert might call in the services of a conventional logistics consultant to help with things like warehouse design, warehousing and stock management or operations planning. Financiers and insurance companies are also clients of shipping consultants, since they have a significant interest in most high value shipping deals.
Maritime consultants often have to be very culturally aware and most will speak several languages since they will regularly deal with clients and suppliers from all around the world. Most also have a background in law, politics or international relations to help them keep abreast of world events and associated legal ramifications which might affect their clients, as most international shipping has very rigid requirements with no room for negotiation or any kind of flexibility.
A career as a shipping consultant gives an opportunity to travel and meet a wide variety of people from different cultural backgrounds. It can also be done remotely using technological tools to facilitate meetings that cannot practically take place in person, and experience as a shipping consultant also opens doors into other areas of the supply chain, including conventional supply chain and logistics consultancy with firms such as Gideon Hillman.