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Lightship Academy: Pioneering the Future of Shipbrokers with Exceptional Trainee Program

Updated: Dec 18, 2023

Lightship Chartering, leading freight consultancy and dry-bulk brokerage house, have

successfully launched an unparalleled trainee program for shipbrokers. The program,

Lightship Academy, is designed with a balanced mix of academic lecturing, group work

assignments and practical “on the job” training over a concentrated period of 9 months.

The key objective is to offer an efficient training and induction process for young talent who

want to join the naval freight business as brokers.

This year’s academy was kicked off with a 10-days induction session – “the bootcamp” - at

Glyfada outside of Athens on the 15th September. Here, the 10 trainees, selected from

different corners of the world, met for the first time to get intensive training on the maritime

transport markets in general and the brokerage role in particular. As summarised by

Lightship COO Kjell Johan Nordgard:

With reference to recent headlines around broker houses’ plans to increase their

focus on trainees, Lightship are pleased to announce that we have already launched

our Lightship Academy trainee program. For our academy program, we have

selected talent we believe have the potential to develop into good ship brokers. The

selection criteria have been focused on talent as the first priority and relevant

experience as second priority. The trainees therefore come with different

backgrounds, and with different levels of experience from the shipping industry –

from none whatsoever to a few years of academic and/or practical working

experience. The objective with the bootcamp is therefore twofold; to give the

trainees a common foundation and basic understanding of our business, and then –

just as importantly – to ensure the trainees establish a solid network between

themselves. They will need both the foundation and the network to complete the

rest of the academy program successfully.

After the bootcamp, the trainees were allocated to different Lightship offices where they

currently receive training through lectures, videos, self-study literature and group work

assignments. The training is organised across three dedicated modules; Brokerage

Processes and Tools, Trading Types, Analytics and Trading Strategies. Through these 3

modules, the trainees will build up good insight and practical exercise in key broker

activities like calculating total costs of voyages, comparing freight rates with Time Charter

Equivalents, identifying and qualifying vessels for different cargoes and freight routes,

reading and understanding contractual documents (Recaps, Charterparties, Bills of Lading,2

Notice of Readiness, Vessel Nominations,…) and a sound understanding the market forces

driving strategies for hedging and active position-taking for charterers, owners and


The 3 academic modules will continue until 15th December this year. Come January next

year, the trainees will be allocated as assistants to selected senior Lightship brokers and

participate actively in supporting activities like market data collection and analysis, PDA

screening, vessel identification and qualification (against cargoes). The Lightship Academy

class of 24 will then graduate 31st May next year, ready to join the maritime community

as shipbrokers. Sune Fladberg, Lightship CEO and partner, expects the Lightship Academy

to put a significant footprint on the recruitment and expertise building for the broker

community going forward.

The Lightship Academy is, with its training structure based on direct knowledge

transfer from experience brokers in a global setup, a quite unique concept for

targeted trainee education. There are other training systems and offerings

available in the market for young people who want to start a career in the shipping

sector, but few (if any) are as directly focused on fasttracking the broker education

as the Lightship Academy. The training in the academy is done by Lightship’s own

brokers and chartering operators, and the syllabus and methods are designed from

the outset to pass on the knowledge and methods gained and developed by our

own colleagues through years of experience over to the trainees in an effective and

efficient way. The material we have developed for this contains information and

methods you cannot read in teaching books or learn through university programs.

The only way to learn it, and to become good at it, is the hard way through

learning by doing. However, Lightship Academy takes the brunt of this learning

process, giving the graduates a flying start and a vantage point for quickly gaining

the experience and insight needed to offer excellent broker services to our clients.

In this vein, I also want to emphasize that we encourage women to apply to the

program. In Lightship, we believe in building strength through diversity, and our

industry could benefit largely from a better balance of genders.

The application process for next year’s intake to the Lightship Academy (starting

September 2024) will start in December 2023.

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