The Soft Commodity Trading

Life Cycle from A to Z

Where the goods move, why they move, who controls the process and how they operate

Soft Commodity Trader & Economics Speaker

Discover the Trade Life Cycle and learn how Trading Firms operate

1. Intro: What is commodity trading?
2. Pre-trade: What needs to be done before signing a contract?
3. Trade is signed: Who steps in now?
4. Trade execution: Who executes the trade?
5. Trade settlement: What are the remaining steps?


Discover the key steps involved in a commodity trading firm’s operations.

  Speak confidently about how the commodity market is changing and the challenges commodity traders face in the current market.
  Learn how commodity traders make profits and where potential opportunities lie.
  Gain a basic grounding in what space, time and transformation arbitrages are currently taking place in soft commodities.
  Even if you already work for a trading firm, this course explains each piece of the puzzle to give you a better understanding of the roles of others involved in the process and how you fit in.


Table of Contents

PART 1 (3h00)

What is commodity trading?

  Soft Commodity Trading Jargon Buster
  Geneva as a Commodity Trading Hub
  Basics of Commodity Pricing – Commodity Pricing Mechanism
  Supply and Demand – Demand and Supply Driven
  Basis Risk and Pricing Forwards, Futures and Swaps
  ICE Nymex and the Exchange, Price Discovery, Forward Curves
  OTC Products versus Exchange Traded vrs Clearport
  Options and their Structures
  Commodity Assets – Upstream
  Commodity Assets – Midstream
  Commodity Assets – Downstream
  Commodity Trading Company Structures
  The Future for Commodity Trading Companies

PART 2 (3h00)

Pre-trade and contract negotiation (including risks)

  Role of Trader – Arbitrage in Space
  Role of Trader – Arbitrage in Time – Contango Markets
  Role of Trader – Arbitrage in Time – Backwardation Markets
  Role of Trader – Transformation Arbitrage
  Role of Trader – Physical Trading
  Role of Trader – Paper Trading
  Role of Trader – Option Trading strategies
  Role of Trader – Liquidity Risk facing Commodity Traders
  Bush to Fob Margin – Asset plays
  CIF to Shelf Margin – Marketing and Asset Plays
  Price Risk – Management of Risk
  Counterparty Risk
  Political and Legal Risk

PART 3 (1h30)

Contract is signed, trade confirmation (PnL, credits, liquidity management, operations)

  Traders Role – Common Problems
  Contractual Agreements – Different Trading Terms
  Shipping Documents – Bills of Lading and LOIs
  Operational Risk Quality and Quantity Risk
  Payment Terms – Letters of Credit, CAD and CIA
  Accounting – Liquidity Management on Paper and Physical Trades
  Managing Credit Exposure

PART 4 (1h30)

Trade Execution (logistics, payment, etc.)

  Operators role – Common Problems
  Land Transport
  Chartering and Ocean Freight
  Terminal Port Issues and Agents
  Insurance Risk

PART 5 (1h00)

Post Trade (accounting, tax, finance, etc.)

  Basel III and effects on Commodity Trading Companies
  Customer Financing Agreements
  Disputes and Arbitrations – RSA and Gafta
  Financing in a Commodity Trading Company
  Position Limits and VARs


Joshua Hawkins, Economics Speaker & Soft Commodity Trader

Trading is in Joshua Hawkins’s DNA, he comes from 5 generations of commodity traders. His family left England in the early 1800s and established Wise & Co a commodity trader in the Philippines where he grew up. He went on to attend Oxford University achieving a first class degree in Geography. From there he went on to join Louis Dreyfus Trading in London as a trainee graduating to trade Coffee, Sugar and Rice. He has also worked in shipping and oil with SwissMarine and Valhalla Marine respectively. He is now Soft commodity trader at Tereos (a large sugar industry player) Joshua Hawkins has another passion, education, being a qualified teacher he has also worked as a High School Geography and Economics teacher for extended periods. He is uniquely qualified to guide you through the world of commodity trading.
“A friend of mine used to say: ” You can’t talk about trading without visiting the Vatican of commodities (AW Academy).”
Adama A.

Rice Trader

“The AW Academy course is a very practical and proactive e-learning tool. I highly recommend it”
Aminata N.


“I learned  the background and logistics behind commodity trading. It helped me connect the pieces together!”

Ranjit K.

Director | Finance Operations

Certified Courses

At the end of the course, attendees who achieve a score of 75% or higher will receive an AW Academy certificate from Ampersand World. This internationally recognised certification is aimed at those wanting to enter the world of trading and professionals seeking to boost their knowledge in this field. Pre-requisites: None.


You will pass this test at the end of your curriculum. The latter will be composed of questions, and will group the different notions approached in the course of your experience.


This program consists of about 8 hours of training courses and complementary quizzes. This time is our recommendation to get successfully certified.

Welcome to the Academy

AW ACADEMY® is an e-learning platform focused on physical commodity trading, shipping, trade finance
and all related domains and animated by Ampersand World.


Our online courses that teach general and/or specific commodity trading skills in a “learning by doing” format. We believe that learning about commodities is more efficient through simulations and practical case in which each attendant has opportunities to practice trading fundamental directly.


Our online courses offers are targeted to people working in the world of trading or willing to learn more about this industry. This includes professional without trading experience, young graduate or HR specialists in the trading sector who would like to develop or up-date their trading skills.



A unique feature of the AW ACADEMY® is that it is taught by a team of practicing speakers and other professionals who are selected not only for their professional reputation and accomplishment, but also to reflect the diversity of the trading profession.