Regulation - BIMCO Bulletin


CONTRACTS AND CLAUSES Two allies, one new tanker charter party. By Christian Hoppe, General Counsel at BIMCO. BIMCO and the Association of Ship Brokers & Agents (USA) Inc. (ASBA) have a longstanding relationship and the upcoming revision of ASBATANKVOY will further strengthen these ties – but why join forces? The ASBATANKVOY voyage charter party has not been revised since 1977, and the aim of the collaboration is to give the industry a contemporary and comprehensive version of one of the most- used tanker voyage charter parties in the world. As well as maintaining the familiarity of the current version of ASBATANKVOY, the revision will ensure that the form is fit for modern tanker trade and meets the expectations of users in the business. Revision of ASBATANKVOY will also be an important new chapter in a long history of cooperation between BIMCO and ASBA. The revision will ensure that the form is fit for modern tanker trade The two organisations began their collaboration at the end of the 1980s when BIMCO became involved in the development of ASBA’s North American Grain Charter Party – NORGRAIN 89 – which was officially “recommended” by BIMCO’s Documentary Committee. “Little did we know that we were in fact laying the foundation for a strong relationship between our two associations,” says Søren Larsen, BIMCO Deputy Secretary General, who is responsible for BIMCO’s contractual work. A much-needed charter party Today, the tanker trade is more important than ever, despite current low demand because of the pandemic and an uncertain longer-term outlook. Looking at the decade leading up to 2019, total cargo quantity carried in the segment rose by 10 per cent. Sailing distances in the same period also increased, with tanker-tonne miles demand up by 20 per cent. Even if the predictions for the future are less certain, tanker trade is set to grow, and this highlights the importance of having an up-to-date charter party for use in the sector. BIMCO members represent more than 51% of the world’s tanker tonnage, and it is critical for BIMCO to cater for the contractual needs of this sector.The charter party, now known as ASBATANKVOY, was first drafted in 1963 as ESSOVOY (subsequently EXXONVOY, MOBILVOY and WARSHIPOILVOY), but was renamed when ASBA took it over in 1977. “At that time, ESSO operated a large fleet of owned and time-chartered vessels and had large spot- market activities. It needed a document it could use both as owners and charterers. It got that with this document and that is why it has stood the test of time,” says Søren Wolmar, ASBA’s co-chair on the drafting committee revising ASBATANKVOY. Wolmar is a long-time shipbroker at Quincannon Associates and chairman of ASBA’s Documentary Committee, and has been closely involved in several of the joint projects with BIMCO. He will be joined in the upcoming revision by: Stephen Harper, Head of Legal – Shipping at BW Group, who will be BIMCO’s co-chair; Richard J Reisert, ASBA); Li Xuhua, COSCO Shipping Energy Transportation Co; Heather Johnson, Chevron; Claire Garza, UNIPEC; Patrick Brennan, Poten & Partners; Molly McCafferty, American Club; Magne Andersen, Nordisk Defence Club; Chris Young, Dietze & Associates; and Michele White, INTERTANKO. The drafting committee will soon begin its work to revise ASBATANKVOY. To guide it, a preliminary sounding is currently taking place to identify changes users would like to see to the form. More cooperation in the future The most recent collaboration between the two organisations was ASBAGASVOY – a new voyage charter party for the gas tanker industry – published in 2020. Based on ASBATANKVOY, it is accompanied by optional additional clauses and has already been taken up by the market. Currently, ASBA is involved in the revision of GENCON 94, BIMCO’s general voyage charter party, which is expected to be finalised for publication later in 2021. Jeanne Cardona, ASBA’s Executive Director & Secretary, highlights ASBA’s role in setting the standard of professional conduct and practice, as well as defining customs of the trade among its membership. “We are a trade organisation with members in the US and Canada, but our forms are used worldwide. Joining forces with BIMCO is an excellent way for us to further boost the use and content of our contracts,” she says. The cooperation between BIMCO and ASBA is set to continue with the revision of other ASBA standard documents, notably NORGRAIN 89 and AMWELSH 93. Cardona sees the cooperation as a win-win situation. “ASBA has several standard forms that are much used in the industry and we are happy to work with BIMCO, given its high standards in documentary work for the shipping industry,” she says. ASBA ASBA is the recognised professional trade association for shipbrokers and ship agents, known as Company Members, and owner/ operators, and other companies involved in maritime trade, known as Affiliate Members. ASBA’s membership includes 169 companies of which 85 are shipbrokers operating in the United States and Canada. ASBA sets the standard of professional conduct and practice, and defines customs of the trade for member companies. Connect with BIMCO Facebook Linkedin YouTube