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Objectives and Services

The ZVDS (Zentralverband Deutscher Schiffsmakler e.V. = German Shipbrokers’ Association) is the confederation at national level of all nine local shipbrokers’ associations in Germany. Thus the ZVDS has a total membership of some 320 companies.


The main purpose of the ZVDS is to promote the joint professional interests of German ship brokers and agents, without imposing any restrictions or supervision on the economic freedom of the individual companies. The ZVDS handles all concerns of the shipbroking business that are of a general nature, representing the interests of all its member companies. This work includes relations with the authorities, and with other national associations and institutions. The main focal points of its work are as follows:

1. At national level

The ZVDS provides advisory services and represents the interests of ship brokers and agents vis-à-vis the Federal German authorities, institutions and professional associations, e.g.

  • Ministry of Transport
  • Ministry of Finance
  • Ministry of Justice
  • Federal Cartel Office
  • Waterways and Shipping Directorate
  • Federal Pilotage Organisation
  • Federal Association of Maritime and Port Pilots
  • German Shipowners’ Association
  • German Seaport Operators’ Association
  • German Forwarding Agents’ Association


It also provides advice and support to the local ship brokers’ organisations. It holds discussions aimed at coordination of viewpoints on certain problem areas. It provides information to its member companies through circular letters, press publications and annual reports. The major forum for this process of opinion forming is the Meetings of Members, held twice a year. It has a working group on matters of clearing, which meets once or twice a year to deal with general port issues.

The ZVDS publishes the General Business Conditions for ship brokers and agents in Germany.