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Dry Cargo Shipping Diploma 2023: Enter the dragons…


This year’s Dry Cargo Shipping Diploma, also known as The Jon Marshall Lectures, held at Commodity Quay was attended by 29 participants, a record number. The week long programme is open to early career professionals who work for Clarksons and its clients. Participants for this year's programme included 11 Clarksons employees and 18 client representatives, travelling from Denmark, Greece, Hamburg, Japan, London, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore and the USA.

The highly regarded programme is focused on the global dry cargo shipping industry and covers a variety of areas including commercial, legal, financial, regulatory, operational and technical aspects.

This year, the programme was led by Alex Gray, who spent his early career as a Clarksons dry cargo chartering broker before helping to establish the company’s pioneering presence in the FFA market. The course delivered a series of formally taught sessions by industry leading professionals and various workshops and break-out exercises. These included a laytime and demurrage calculation, voyage estimation, fixture workshop and a session of slicing and dicing data using pivot tables.

Continuing tradition, five working groups competed in simulated chartering game, where they race to fix three cargoes in a competitive environment. It's an integral part of the dry cargo course, which was updated this year to place greater emphasis on the importance of each of the teams working out the competitive landscape at the start of the game, plus the introduction of an additional cargo to the mix during the later stages.

The course culminated in a ‘Dragons Den’ group competition. This gave the five groups of participants the opportunity to pitch a 6-ship deployment strategy based on their understanding of the outlook for the physical and FFA markets. This year’s winners were the team ‘Rhino Bulk Limited’ who delivered a persuasive and well-reasoned business strategy, underpinned by a detailed financial analysis, to our four ‘dragons’ – Panamax Divisional Director, Elliot Cole; Dry Bulk Analyst, Luke Ravenscroft; Secondhand Sale and Purchase Divisional Director; Fred Engelbach, and course lead, Alex Gray.

group photo of students on training course

In addition to the ‘Dragons Den’ prize, the Rob Byrne memorial prize, awarded to the best participant in the FFA exercise was won by Viktor Kosturkov of Cobelfret. The Jon Marshall Trophy, awarded to the best course participant, was won by William Morris of Oldendorff.

Clarksons, Head of Learning and Development commented:

"It’s great to see the course expand over the years, enabling more young adults to attend the course, developing their skills and industry knowledge."

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