BIMCO's Documentary Committee approved a new set of standard bunker terms, which were developed by a cross-industry group in New York on May 2, 2018.
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.
In an announcement supporting the terms, Francis Sarre, Chair of the BIMCO Documentary Committee, said: “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.”
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 result.
BIMCO’s Bunker Terms 2018 also have the support of the International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA).
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Sarre is supporting a wide adoption of the standard terms across the industry so that bunker transactions improve and speed up to reduce disputes.
“We all need to improve efficiency and cut costs,” said Sarre.
“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.”
BIMCO’s announcement about the terms stated that it would include a default limit of the invoice value or US$ 500,000, “whichever is higher”, as the cost 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.
It 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.
The Documentary Committee met on May 2, in New York, hosted by the Maritime Law Association of the US.