The Hamburg and Bremen Shipbrokers' Association (VHBS) is a voluntary organisation promoting the interests of the shipbrokers and agents located in Hamburg. In particular, it promotes the exchange of information and experience between members in both commercial and technical matters. The procedures are as follows:
1. Internal activities
Provision of advice and information to the members in all matters relevant to the industry, e.g. Commercial, competition and civil law General labour and wage bargaining law Tax law Port usage Freight Clearance Liner agencies Buying and selling of ships Alongside powers of individual advice to member companies, the Association publishes general information in the form of circulars, press publications and annual reports.
2. External activities
The main activities in the remit of the Association are: Representation of interests of ship brokers vis-à-vis the authorities of the City of Bremen and Hamburg, e.g. the Department of Trade and Industry, Construction Department, Department of the Environment, Finance Department, Department of Labour, Department of Health and Social Services Representation of members' interests vis-à-vis the Trade Union (ver.di) in collective wage bargaining, and issuing of a framework agreement and salary agreement for employees in the transport industry in Hamburg Cooperation with other organisations in the transport industry (e.g. with shipowners, forwarding agFents, port operators, long- and short-haul truck operators, German Rail (Deutsche Bahn AG), Dihla-Dakosy Interest Group of Hamburg Liner Agencies,DAKOSY Data Communications System AG , the Chambers of Commerce, and the Maritime Employers' Liability Insurance Organisation (See-Berufsgenossenschaft) Cooperation with the German Shipbrokers' Association (ZVDS) The decision-making procedure within the VHBS operates via the Member's Meeting the Board the Working Committees.
3. Social Events
The social events organised by the VHBS are intended to promote communication among member companies. They also help to achieve recognition of the ship broker business in political circles and in society as a whole as an important element in the maritime economy. The most important annual event in the calendar is the Eisbeinessen; this has become the largest social event in the shipping world, bringing together all the major players for the traditional Eisbeinessen (dinner featuring knuckle of pork). The dialogue among member companies is also promoted in the framework of the Annual General Meeting.
4. Freight Committee
The Freight Committee is a grouping of 30 liner agencies, which send 2-weekly reports of all outstanding amounts where payment is overdue. The reports are evaluated at the office, and the matter is discussed in a working committee, which decides on appropriate action against late payers. Members are informed of the results by circular letter.