Institute of Commercial Management | Qualification Subject

The Business Of Shipping

ICM Professional Diploma Unit

This qualification is being withdrawn, the last available series to sit the assessment for this qualification is December 2024.

The Ship

  • The number and classification of ships
  • Parts of the ship
  • Ship stresses and stability
  • Markings on the ship
  • Tonnage

Types of Ships

  • Passenger ships
  • General cargo ships
  • Container ships
  • Barge-carrying ships and Ro/Ro ships
  • Bulk carriers
  • Specialist ships
  • Types of engines
  • Trends in ship types
  • The economics of ship size
  • The economics of speed

The Crew

  • Typical duties of those on board
  • Reductions in crew size
  • International crews
  • Regulating crew size
  • Crew recruitment and training
  • Pay and conditions
  • Industrial relations


  • Whose responsibility is this?
  • The choice of route
  • The ship’s navigational hardware
  • Communications at sea

Types of Cargo

  • Pre-shipment planning
  • The stowage plan
  • Stowage and discharge
  • The care of cargo during the voyage
  • Stuffing containers
  • Bulk cargo
  • Dangerous cargoes
  • Deck cargo
  • The theory of trade

Costs and Freight Rates

  • Cost classification
  • The daily running cost (DRS)
  • Propulsion, cargo-handling and other port costs
  • Freight rates

World Tonnage

  • What determines the supply of shipping?
  • The growth of national merchant fleets
  • Reasons for encouraging and sustaining national fleets
  • Maritime policy
  • Flags of convenience

Shipping Finance

  • The operating profit
  • Equity
  • Debt


  • Different ways of chartering a ship
  • Standard forms for charters
  • Voyage estimating
  • How shipowners get ‘offers’ for their vessels
  • Arbitration in charter party disputes
  • The tanker market and chartering

The Liner Market

  • Typical company organisation
  • Marketing
  • Consortia, alliances and conferences
  • Logistics and/or intermodal transport


  • Spheres of risk
  • The economics of safety
  • Marine insurance
  • Salvage
  • Safety and environmental issues


  • The bill of lading (B/L)
  • Economic and operational problems of documentation
  • Incoterms
  • Ship’s documents
  • Customs


  • Port development
  • Classification of ports
  • Types of port ownership
  • Time spent in port (cargo-handling)
  • Number of berths needed in ports
  • Comparing the various types of berth
  • Alternatives to formal port systems
  • Port labour
  • Port management and administration
  • Port charges
  • Ship canals

Example Candidate Response Booklet

Example Candidate Response (ECR) Booklets are a source of crucial information for Centres and Candidates as they use real candidate responses. We ask Senior Examiners to comment on five or more responses in terms of why the mark was awarded with commentary about how to improve the answer (if necessary).

Recommended Reading

Main Text:

Reed's Sea Transport: Operations & Economics. P M Alderton, (Thomas Reed Publications)

The Business of Shipping, P. KendallLloyds List

Dictionary of Shipping International Business Trade Terms and Abbreviations, A.Branch ( Witherby )

Indicative Text:

Alternative Text and Further Reading: