I don't know anything about Gnuais, but satellite and terrestrial ship tracking? It's all over the place. https://www.ihs.com/products/ais-live-ship-tracker.html (just one example; there are many more)

Port history, live data, ETA's, ship-specific info... The first time I used AIS I was on a boat. It most certainly includes information about the largest, most potentially dangerous boats on the water; the commercial shipping vessels. It's helpful for smaller boats to know so they can steer clear of them. This information includes both a previous destination and a next destination, as well as current location and percentage of course completed. The port history shows where the vessel has been before. If a ship is making stops at small ports around the globe, where there are few industries in competition with each other, it could make it fairly easy to predict who's shipping what where, who's getting it, and who's getting paid. What are the holes in this? What info would safest to rely upon if making an investment, and which would bear the most risk? Are there any sites you know of that provide more information than others? And, most importantly, how could any of this be used to make a profit? Is it possible?

Example: this information has helped me make a 'profitable' ($22) investment when I caught a ship going to and from Cuba, making stops in Tema, Ghana. I did some research and found that Kaiser Aluminum and Alcoa were in that port. Judging by Cuba's history of spending moneys on defense and military, I made a prediction that there was some trade relation here and bought those stocks, only to see them +3%, +7% respectively after the vessel completed its stops. This of course should be dismissed as pure coincidence but it begs of my curiosity.

  • 1
    You are using a tiny sliver of sporadic, publically available information to make decisions impacted by 99 other things. I don't see how this would be different from buying Microsoft when Seattle has a sunny day. I strongly encourage you to read up on the risks of picking stocks before you put any real money into it. Dec 13, 2016 at 18:51
  • Yes, you're totally right. It is completely risky, and the less information you have about the 99 other things, the less effective and more damaging this information could be. But i'm not convinced that this wouldn't provide at least some insight into future production outputs for one of X companies around a given port.
    – user51358
    Dec 13, 2016 at 18:57
  • Shut up! Don't tell anybody! Are you crazy? Do you want to ruin it for everybody? Sheesh, blabbermouth. Dec 14, 2016 at 0:09

2 Answers 2


Since you seem determined to consider this, I'd like to break down for you why I believe it is an incredibly risky proposition:

1) In general, picking individual stocks is risky. Individual stocks are by their nature not diversified assets, and a single company-wide calamity (a la Volkswagen emissions, etc.) can create huge distress to your investments. The way to mitigate this risk is of course to diversify (invest in other types of assets, such as other stocks, index funds, bonds, etc.). However, you must accept that this first step does have risks.

2) Picking stocks on the basis of financial information (called 'fundamental analysis') requires a very large amount of research and time dedication. It is one of the two main schools of thought in equity investing (as opposed to 'technical analysis', which pulls information directly from stock markets, such as price volatility). This is something that professional investors do for a living - and that means that they have an edge you do not have, unless you dedicate similar resources to this task. That information imbalance between you and professional traders creates additional risk where you make determinations 'against the grain'.

3) Any specific piece of public information (and this is public information, regardless of how esoteric it is) may be considered to be already 'factored into' public stock prices. I am a believer in market efficiency first and foremost. That means I believe that anything publically known related to a corporation ['OPEC just lowered their oil production! Exxon will be able to increase their prices!'] has already been considered by the professional traders currently buying and selling in the market. For your 'new' information to be valuable, it would need to have the ability to forecast earnings in a way not already considered by others.

4) I doubt you will be able to find the true nature of the commercial impact of a particular event, simply by knowing ship locations. So what if you know Alcoa is shipping Aluminium to Cuba - is this one of 5 shipments already known to the public? Is this replacement supplies that are covering a loss due to damaged goods previously sent? Is the boat only 1/3 full? Where this information gets valuable, is when it gets to the level of corporate espionage. Yes, if you had ship manifests showing tons of aluminum being sold, and if this was a massive 'secret' shipment about to be announced at the next shareholders' meeting, you could (illegally) profit from that information.

5) The more massive the company, the less important any single transaction is. That means the super freighters you may see transporting raw commodities could have dozens of such ships out at any given time, not to mention news of new mine openings and closures, price changes, volume reports, etc. etc. So the most valuable information would be smaller companies, where a single shipment might cover a month of revenue - but such a small company is (a) less likely to be public [meaning you couldn't buy shares in the company and profit off of the information]; and (b) less likely to be found by you in the giant sea of ship information.

In summary, while you may have found some information that provides insight into a company's operations, you have not shown that this information is significant and also unknown to the market. Not to mention the risks associated with picking individual stocks in the first place. In this case, it is my opinion that you are taking on additional risk not adequately compensated by additional reward.


You can. Speculating on marine traffic is more closely tied to oil trades and ocean shipping container rates, than trades on any particular companies. But companies heavily tied to ocean shipping can be ripe for speculation.

The baltic dry index is created for this analytical purpose, and that information can be used as an indicator to hedge or speculate in container freight swap agreements.

The Guggenheim Shipping Exchange Traded Fund also serves as a proxy for maritime shipping profitability, but it is just a bundle of several publicly traded marine shipping companies shares.

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