shipping and social networks

After a rather long break on this blog, with nothing published in the last month*, I’m back with something which inspired me today and happy to share.

(*not that nothing happened in the daily chartering side but somehow, it’s always the same mechanics which are occuring in the chartering. And commenting on daily basis the market, when it’s not what you’re paid for, is yes, bit time consuming and yes sometimes bit difficult to get inspiration. Let’s say, I was officially on strike. I’m french, it shall not surprise you too much anyway).

So inspiration of the day is about “Shipping and social networks”. I read this article on @splash247, which you can find here   and yes, you should read this.

Worth to notice, the author, Charlie Whyman (or so called, the man who always asked questions, maybe ) is presenting himself as a « linkedIn trainer ». Hence his point of view is about LinkedIn only and to me, his analysis is bit short when it comes to social media /networks and shipping. A pitty Mister Whyman is not a “social network trainer”. Let me do then some of the work for him. Or at least try to do it.

The same bad -or better to say underusage- of all social networks in shipping industry is a general trend. Let’s have a look at Twitter, claiming to have something like 336Millions users (active in the last month). People like Mr Trump is using this social network to make announcements about key strategic decisions he is making, he is followed by 53.7Millions people. Justin Bieber, is having 104Millions followers, Katy Perry (who’s that girl ?) is having close to 110Millions followers… This to list some big twitters accounts.  Still How many of these followers are working in the shipping Industry? to start having an answer

Mr Trump, according to my twitter network, 53 accounts (I’m following or following me are following mr Trump).

Justin Bieber, according to my twitter network, 3 accounts (I’m following or following me are following Justin (I have the names but I won’t disclose)).

Katy Perry, according to my twitter network, 3 accounts (I’m following or following me are following Katy (I have the names but I won’t disclose)).

Let’s do a basic work on Twitter. Fact checkings.

Twitter about shipping (in the global meaning) to check how active they are  :


  • Louis Dreyfus Com : joined twitter in Nov 2016, have dropped 1,045 tweets so far, are enjoying 6,500 followers and LDC is following 323 twitter accounts
  • Bunge : 1,691 followers and 0 tweet. Subscription done in 2009 !! Guys do you remember your login and password ?
  • Cargill : Starts to be serious player on Twitter.  Joined twitter in January 2009, have produced 6,791 tweets, have 45,300 followers and following only 259 accounts
  • ERAMET : joined the community in  February 2018, have sent 160 tweets, enjoying 169 followers and following 200 accounts


  • Pacific Basin :joined twitter in  december 2011. Have tweeted 454 times. Enjoying 551 followers and we don’t know how many account they follow.
  • Thenamaris: joined twitter in  July 2013. Have tweeted 164 times. Enjoying 461 followers and following 71 accounts
  • Oldendorff : joined twitter in  May 2016. Have tweeted 269 times. Enjoying 694 followers and following 38 accounts
  • CMA CGM : joined twitter in  April 2012. Have tweeted 2851 times. Enjoying about 22,000 followers and following 718 accounts
  • DS norden : joined twitter in  december 2014. Have tweeted 33 times. Enjoying 184 followers and following 4 accounts
  • Eagle Bulk: joined twitter in  April 2017. Have tweeted 30 times. Enjoying 142 followers and following 51 accounts


  • SSY: joined twitter in  June 2011. Have tweeted 4,385 times. Enjoying 2,095 followers and following 4 accounts
  • BRS : no account (or could not find it)
  • Ifchor: joined twitter in  july 2017. Have never tweeted and still enjoying 6 followers Guys, you should team up with Bunge, if not done yet.
  • Gibson: joined twitter in  July 2012. Have tweeted 706 times (including the tweets about soccer). Enjoying 1,813 followers and following 222 accounts
  • Pelagos: see in “market info provider”

Market info providers / Or world wide organisations linked to shipping and or chartering

  • The Baltic exchange : joined twitter in  November 2011. Have tweeted 1,362 times. Enjoying 8,007 followers and following 774 accounts Isn’t Baltic Exchange supposed to be the Market leader when it comes to provide market information ?
  • Clarksons Research : joined twitter in  Mars 2013. Have tweeted 492 times. Enjoying 2,687 followers and following 2,726 accounts
  • Bimco: joined twitter in  October 2011. Have tweeted 2041 times. Enjoying 15,300 followers and following 186 accounts
  • Splash24/7: joined twitter in  October 2012. Have tweeted 90,000 times. Enjoying 15,300 followers and following 2,376 accounts
  • Jerome Sorrel (myself): joined twitter in  October 2012 (started to be really active back beg 2016). Have tweeted 1,693 times. Enjoying 654 followers and following 266 accounts
  • BMTI (which for the ones following this blog, you know is a great source of market information for me through their daily reports) joined twitter in  February 2010. Have tweeted 2,156 times. Enjoying 3667 followers and following 233 accounts
  • Global grain Trade – Claiming to be “The International Grain Trade Coalition covers 8000 businesses, 27 associations and 85 countries. We advocate for better trade policies and global food security”, joined Twitter in January 2016, have 605 followers, following 619 accounts and tweeted 214 times. Still bit of work on Twitter at least guys!
  • Posidonia Events : Still mentionning their event dtd 2016 in their account presentation ! 1,673 followers

Shipping new tech players

  • axsmarine: joined twitter in  March 2011. Have tweeted 344 times. Enjoying 728 followers and following 956 accounts
  • MarineTraffic: joined twitter in  September 2011. Have tweeted 5,130 times. Enjoying 30,000 followers and following 747 accounts
  • Kpler – tracking commodity everywhere: joined twitter in  December 2015. Have tweeted 131 times. Enjoying 584 followers and following 85 accounts
  • Damenshipyard (3d printed ships) joined twitter in  February 2011. Have tweeted 865 times. Enjoying 8,420 followers and following 74accounts

And so on and so on… when it comes to Twitter.

Please note I took these accounts randomly, believing these names are somehow big players in the Shipping Industry (except maybe Jerome Sorrel account and CMA CGM) in the drybulk industry. And the result is quite scary I have to admit. Scary in the sense of the Industry does not seem to have understood interest businesswise about Twitter and the growing importance of social networks.

Then another level for evaluating Twitter activity, would be to check the tweets of these accounts. What do they say

  • about their brand ?
  • about their Company ?
  • about the market in which they play ?
  • about their employees ?
  • Are they engaging ? inspiring ?

This shall be another work for sure checking figures is fairly easy and already giving a picture on how Shipping is considering Twitter. For sure also it’s surly better not to be active on twitter if you don’t really set up an editorial content. In the meantime, to name couple of brokers ie BRS and Ifchor, they’re unexisting on twitter meantime they produce very well made shipping market reports. Their absence off Twitter is not because they have nothing to say but just because they are still leaving in the 20th Century.

Being myself a fan off twitter for business, when you have found the right accounts to follow, you have the whole news popping up on your screen. When you’re active, you can have very useful connections and contacts and for sure this is having a positive impact. When you know most of the journalists are on twitter, being here to track information and of course publish/promote their work, Twitter is a massive source of information and network.

Not even mentionning, individuals I know in the industry, having an account on twitter and 90% of the accounts they follow are about their personal passion (soccer, tennis, F1, cats, Katy Perry, Justin Bieber) and the remaining 10% are about the industry in which they are. Taking Twitter has a provider of information but being very passive when it comes to feeding the network. When the aim of a social network is to feed and being fed. Bit like business, which is a give and take we’ll all agree on that.

What about Instagram ?

800Millions users in the world ! 500millions active on daily basis ? Justin Bieber 102Million followers, Katy Perry 71Millions, Donal Trump 9,6Million.

Instagram isn’t it a network worth to be considered for shipping people ? At first sight Instagram is much about sharing with friends or BtoC. Looking deeper it’s a lot about communities. Shipping, don’t we always talk about the « shipping Community » when talking about our Industry ? Owners having ships and crew all over the world, carrying our goods, don’t they have here a fantastic opportunity to be engaging, inspiring ? Check @thenamaris instagram’s account or @louisDreyfusarmateurs. These are good examples on how to use such applications.

This is Same for Chartering and trading worlds players ? When Louis Dreyfus Commodities Motto is « from the farm to the fork », isn’t there, here, a nice story to share on Instagram ? I’m pretty sure they can do a hit with this. They just need to hire (and put bit of money) on a good community manager and team.

Instagram still, out of the 800millions users, most probably quite a few are working in the shipping Industry. Said differently, probably 75% of the below 50yrs old people working in the industry have a private instagram account and would be ok to follow inspiring companies in the industry.

Let’s have a quick look again on companies chosen randomly :

#Cargill = 28,3k publications when @cargill does not exist

#Bunge = 13.2k publications when @bunge does not exist

#cmaCgm = 16,2k publications when @cmacgm has 3 different account

#Oldendorf(f) = 4different #, something like 2,000 publications @oldendorff1921 account exists with 36 publications with 1209 followers… Then Oldendorff just need to make sure the # is linked to the Company.

This to list a few

Not even mentionning, Snapchat (where brands are fairly active) or other social networks like pinterest.

Without willing to be the one giving lessons, while Splash247 is giving the some space for expression to Charlie Whyman, being a linkedin specialist, the analysis proposed is -to me- bit short. Linkedin claiming to have more than 500millions users, and being as you can see, one out of many social networks it would have been more complete to focus on the whole picture and the whole tools available!

Yes Shipping Industry is an old style Industry. Still with millenials coming in, the Industry have to consider becoming bit more modern. In the way they operate the ships (and burn bunkers for example), some initiatives are made in the blockchain, for example, with 100% digital Bills off ladding process. Meantime, when even the Shipping starts-up -supposed to be the ones involved in these modern tools – are not really active on these Twitter or Instagram, it’s with no surprise that traditionnal players are generally speaking showing an even lower usage of these networks.

We can’t hide ourselves behind the excuse which is still very famous in our Industry, the P&C policy. Following most of the accounts I listed above (at least on twitter) the communication is still very Corporate. Also, the nature of these social networks is to grow by themselves. The more users, the more content proposed and the more new followers coming in. With the figures shown and listed above, we can see few Companies have started to understand the pros (and the cons) of these networks and we can bet, the virtuous circle is not that far.

Finally to me, implementing a social network strategy, is nowdays a must for most of players involved in Shipping, but this shall be part of a more global « digital disruption » approach (eventhough having an active twitter account is not what I would call in August 2018 being DISRUPTIVE.

In 2000, it was a must to have a website, being active on social media is the next step which has not been made by our industry. I then come to Whyman same conclusion: “it really blows my mind that Social networks are not used more in the shipping industry” as also well said by Mister Whyman: “If you want to build your brand and become visible you need to communicate through your people, because it’s your people that others will want to do business with and your people that others will want to work with“. Charlie, I’m fully with you and I have to admit, I’m a linkedin user but not really comfortable on it to interact and expand my network… I might need a coach!

Also, traditional people, I can hear them from my desk, will claim

  • “Twitter will not help me fixing my ship/cargo at a better rate”.
  • “Instagram will not bring me additional commission”.

And this is true.

But Twitter, or Instagram or LinkedIn … will help you to secure nicer discussions with your investors, will bring your brand at another level in terms of marketing KPI’s, will help you to hire the best staff, will help you to build up a HR strategy, will help you when you’ll have to face a big internal crisis…

These social networks are existing tools and they are now part of the game in many other Industries. There is no Reason why Shipping will not join sooner or later. Staying away of these is simply not an option anymore. In my opinion.

Finally, if you were like me, while reading this text, and are still wondering who the hell is Katy Perry, here you have an answer.

Now, you know #instavideooftheday





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