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Charterers and freight traders enjoy hefty compensation packages as another good year for dry bulk unfolds

The inevitable “rebound” of Chinese industrial activity, followed by growing consumer demand and relaxation of Covid limitations positively impacted the dry bulk sector1 – and therefore, dry bulk charterers and freight traders compensation packages.

A Short Introduction

In 2023, Spinnaker’s Maritime HR Association received salary data from 1,340 charterers and freight traders from 32 countries. The largest proportion of these incumbents are based in Singapore, the USA, Denmark, the UAE and the UK.

The majority of the sample are charterers, with 20% reported as freight traders.

The industry remains male-dominated, however, we have seen a 2% increase in female charterers or freight traders reported overall compared to 2022. There has been a 3% increase in females at Manager / Senior Manager level. This could be due to the increase of females at Senior Professional / Team Leader level that we saw in 2022 and at Professional level in 2021 with people moving into higher positions over the years.

Who Earns More?

Similar to previous years, median base salaries are higher for freight traders than for charterers with the biggest gap at Head of / Director level. The USA has retained a leading position in paying the highest median salaries to charterers at Professional, Senior Professional and Manager / Senior Manager levels.

At Head of / Director level the UK takes over, reporting the highest median salary for charterers.

Dry Bulk Boom

Bonus distribution has seen an exceptional year with 98% of chartering and freight trading employees receiving a bonus. This is the highest number of eligible employees receiving a bonus since 2018 when we started year-on-year analysis.

This can be due to exceptional dry bulk performance again in 2023. The Baltic Dry Index increased by 110.69% since the beginning of 2023, indicating growing demand for raw materials and consequently, further economic growth. It therefore comes as no surprise that dry bulk bonuses are higher than other vessel types, especially the ones paid to freight traders.

Total Compensation High Again

Total compensation is respectively higher for freight traders in the dry bulk industry. In 2023, freight trading total compensation packages outperformed those paid to charterers by an average of 122%.

As for charterers, they enjoy the highest total compensation packages in the UK, Denmark and the UAE, predominantly in Oil Major / Commodity / Mining Groups.

Members of Spinnaker’s Maritime HR Association are entitled to receive detailed analysis of salary and bonus trends in all major shore-based job families globally. Find out more about joining the association on the website.

1 Birkett, H. (2023, January 26). Dry bulk “the best trade of 2023”, says Clarksons Securities. TradeWinds | Latest Shipping and Maritime News.

Article written by Daryna Rozum, Reward Consultant, Spinnaker

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