BIMCO’s Documentary Committee approved a new set of standard bunker terms, developed by a cross-industry group, in New York on 2 May. The BIMCO Bunker Terms 2018 improve on the previous edition with a maximum limit of the parties’ liabilities – a key change that will lead to wider adoption of the contract.
“I think it is a positive step for the industry that representatives for the bunker traders and shipowners have agreed on a standard set of terms, which both parties consider fair and balanced,” said Francis Sarre, chair of the BIMCO Documentary Committee.
The trader representatives who helped draft the contract together account for 25% of the total bunker volume sold globally, which BIMCO sees as a very strong sign of support for the final result. The BIMCO Bunker Terms 2018 also have the support of IBIA – the International Bunker Industry Association.
It is hoped that the changes to the terms and the broad support will lead to a wide adoption of the standard terms across the industry, which will improve and speed up bunker transactions and reduce disputes.
“We all need to improve efficiency and cut costs. With a widely used standard contract all parties involved should save time on drafting contracts and get greater clarity on the contractual obligations and liabilities in the contract. This will hopefully bring more transparency to the bunker industry,” Mr Sarre said.
The BIMCO Bunker Terms 2018 include a default limit of the invoice value or US$500,000, whichever is higher. The US$500,000 is a default minimum figure that the parties can increase if appropriate.
The BIMCO Documentary Committee consists of over 60 people from across the shipping industry, including: shipowners, ship operators, representatives from P&I clubs and national shipowner and shipbroker associations. The committee also has several observers including the International Group of P&I Clubs, the International Chamber of Shipping, INTERTANKO, FONASBA and the Maritime Law Association of the US.