In 1911, a number of shipbrokers and shipowners, all members of The Baltic Exchange and prominent in British society, being very concerned about the low standards amongst shipbrokers decided to set up the Institute, in London. Both shipbrokers and ship agents, from London and all the ports around the UK were invited to become members.
The formal objectives for the new Institute were:
• To protect and promote, by co-operation, the general welfare and interest of shipbrokers
• To discuss, consider and report subjects of interest to shipbrokers and to communicate with the Chambers of Commerce and other public bodies
• To promote or oppose legislative and other measures affecting the business of shipbrokers and to consider, originate and support improvement in maritime and
• To consider all questions affecting the interest of persons engaged in the business of shipbrokers
• To provide better definition and protection to the profession and business of shipbrokers by a system of examination and issue of certificates
In 1920, The Institute had been granted the Royal Charter by His Majesty King George V', and became the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers. The 1920 Charter had stipulated that members of the Institute must be British born. This rule was amended in 1947, allowing to citizens of Commonwealth countries to become members.
A growing demand for membership from countries outside the Commonwealth, led to the Privy Council granting a Supplemental Charter in 1984, permitting membership of the Institute to be offered to citizens of any country in the world.
The headquarters are in London, but branches do exist in all main maritime cities in U.K.. In addition, The Insititute is represented globally by more than 25 international Branches, located in different parts of the world, in all five continents. ICS is nowadays numbering about 4000 individual members worldwide.
ICS represents all aspects of the shipping business and includes in its membership not only shipbrokers but shipowners, charterers, agents, forwarders and other shipping professionals. It is dedicated to the setting and maintenance of the highest standards in international transport and shipping business. The Institute has strong links with the major international shipping organizations and company membership is possible.
Individual professional membership of the Institute is gained by candidates passing the Qualifying Examinations. Promotion to Fellowship permits the person to be described as a Chartered Shipbroker and is granted to those of seniority and influence in the world of shipping and international transport.