The Baltic Wood Charter Party was developed for the wood trade from the Baltic and the North Sea (with the exception of Russian ports) to the U.K. and Ireland. The latest edition of this contract is NUBALTWOOD, issued in 1997.


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Explanatory notes

Special observations  

Part I

Part II

Bill of Lading 



Special observations

In accordance with standard BIMCO practice the Charter Party is laid out in two parts.  Part I is in a box-layout and contains all the variable information, whilst Part II contains the standard terms and conditions.  Part I forms the actual Contract of Carriage and in the event of any conflict in conditions between the two parts the conditions of Part I will prevail.  The main idea behind this division is that it is made convenient for the users to do all the filling in, amendments and special provisions in Part I, leaving the printed text of Part II unaltered.  In this context it should be emphasised that a standard contract constitutes an integrated whole and that any changes to one or more of the clauses may upset the intended balance of the contract as a whole.  This fact should never be lost sight of when attempting to introduce changes or amendments to the standard clauses in Part II which have been carefully drafted to take care of the contractual and legal aspects.

Part I

It is to be noted that the geographical area covered by this Charter Party has been extended to cover not only the Baltic (with the exception of Russian ports) but also the whole North Sea.

All variable details pertaining to the particular voyage are to be entered in the boxes provided.  Each box contains a short description of the intended contents and a cross-reference to the relevant clause or clauses in the printed body of Part II.  Although some of the boxes in Part I may call for special comments in these Notes, it has been considered more practical to make such comments when dealing with the relevant clauses in Part II.

In a notice at the foot of the front page Owners’ attention is drawn to the necessity of reporting the fixture by sending a copy of Part I to the UKTTSMA.  Addresses are provided on the reverse which also contains a box used by the UKTTSMA for administrative purposes.

Part II

Clause 1 – Preamble

This is a new clause setting out the parties to the Agreement, giving the Vessel’s description by reference to a number of boxes in Part I as well as its present position and stating the earliest layday and cancellation date, again by reference to boxes in Part I.

Clause 2 – Loading Port(s)

Clause 1 of the old NUBALTWOOD has been split up into three separate clauses the first one of which deals with the positioning voyage to the loading port or ports which are to be stated in Box 15.  The wording is almost unchanged save for the introduction of the safe port and safe berth stipulation and the fact that the reference to the area of loading has been omitted as this is stated in the heading of Part I (see above).

Clause 3 – Cargo and Deckload

The cargo description in this clause reflects the different types of cargo nowadays being carried as well as the fact that these are exclusively offered in packaged, bundled or palletised form.  For stowage and freight payment purposes a clear description of the cargo mix is to be entered in Box 18.  There is a new option to carry a part cargo in which case the Owners will have the liberty to load other part cargoes but only under NUBALTWOOD terms.  This restriction is necessary in order not to run into complications with the UKTTSMA Rules.

Cargo margins have been narrowed from the previous 10% to 2.5% upwards and 6% downwards.  There is a provision to limit the amount of deck cargo in which case the maximum percentage of deck cargo should be entered in Box 18 if required.  Owners are to provide and erect uprights to provide tarpaulins and cover deck cargo therewith and to provide and secure lashings.  If slings are required Owners may agree to provide them.

Clause 4 – Discharging Port(s)

This clause contains that part of the former Clause 1 dealing with the loaded voyage and delivery of cargo at the stipulated discharging ports.  Again safe ports and berths are stipulated and whilst the “always afloat” principle is maintained, NAABSA may be specifically agreed for certain ports as stated in Box 17.  The last paragraph of the old Clause 1 has been deleted.

Clause 5 – Payment

Freight can now be paid at a rate per cubic metre or metric ton or as a lump sum.  When the lump sum option is chosen sub-clause 5.1(b) states the method of calculation if, for the reasons stipulated, only part of the cargo is loaded.  The provision of a box to state the Owners’ bank account is also new.  The figure of 90% of the freight payable on commencement of discharge is now negotiable and to be stated in Box 21.  The balance of the freight is to be paid when final outturn is established. In order to avoid disputes it is now clearly stated that this final outturn is to be provided at the completion of discharge by the party responsible for undertaking the discharge.

Sub-clause 5.2, dealing with advance freight, replaces the old Clause 7 in a slightly reworded form and the limit is now based on the freight applicable to individual Bills of Lading rather than total freight.

Sub-clause 5.3 is new and provides for interest on base rate plus 3% payable on any outstanding freight and charges.

Clause 6 – The UK Timber Trade Shipowners’ Mutual Association Ltd.

This clause amalgamates the provisions of the old clauses 17 and 20 and describes the relationship with the UK Timber Trade Shipowners’ Mutual Association.  It defines membership criteria, Owners’ payments due, the need to comply with Association Rules and incorporates by reference the Association’s Schedules covering such items as laytime calculations, demurrage rates, incentive money and rates of contribution.

Clause 7 – Loading

All the various stipulations concerning loading formerly contained in the old clauses 2, 6 and 18 have been re-arranged in a more logical sequence and collected in this new clause.

Sub-clause 7.1 is a reworded version of the old Clause 2 where the previous reference to specifically named public holidays has been deleted and the notice period increased to 10 clear working days.  The reference to demurrage for lighters and trucks is replaced by “proven extra costs”.  Sub-clause (c) has been more clearly worded.

Sub-clause 7.2 deals separately with notice of readiness in a form which is self-explanatory.

Sub-clause 7.3 replaces the latter part of the old Clause 11, the wording corresponds to similar provisions in RUSWOOD.  There are now clear instructions for the marking of packages.

Sub-clause 7.4: Two alternatives for loading expenses are given, i.e. “Free in and stowed” and a “Liner Terms” alternative which will be particularly useful for part cargoes.  In both alternatives it is clearly stipulated who appoints and pays for the stevedores and in both cases the cargo is brought alongside at the Charterers’ expense, risk and liability.

Sub-clause 7.5 is partly drawn from corresponding provisions in the current Clause 6 and tied in with the UKTTSMA Rules.

Sub-clause 7.6 is essentially a slightly amended version of the old Clause 18.

Sub-clause 7.7 is a simplified version of the last paragraph of the old Clause 6.

Clause 8 – Bills of Lading

The following important changes have been incorporated: Owners will normally only be responsible for the number of full, half and quarter size packages and not for loose pieces nor for any specific size of package.  Packages must not be broken for the Vessel’s benefit.  However, the Owners will be responsible for the number of loose pieces and for any re-packing expenses if packages are broken because of their failure to take due care during loading/discharging or if caused by the Vessel or after signing the Bills of Lading.

The reservations on cargo details have been expanded to include “weight, value and description of the contents of the packages”.  In addition, in line with English law judgements, the provisions incorporating the terms and conditions of the charter party into the Bill of Lading now include an express reference to the Arbitration Clause.

There is an obligation on the Charterers to provide information necessary to prepare the Bills of Lading in sufficient time so that the Vessel can sail without delay.

Clause 9 – Discharging

This is also a new clause where, reflecting the loading port provisions, all the stipulations regarding discharge have been arranged and where possible aligned with the corresponding sub-clauses in Clause 7.

Sub-clause 9.1 on notice of readiness for discharge to a large degree mirrors the corresponding sub-clause 7.2 on loading.

Sub-clause 9.2 is a very much simplified version of the stipulations formerly contained in Clause 15 of the old Charter.

It offers three options: “Free Discharge” either with or without incentive money or “Shared Costs”.  In the latter case discharging up to release from ship’s tackle is for the Owners’ account whilst expenses beyond that point are for the Charterers’ account.

Unless otherwise agreed and stated in Box 23 alternative (a) is the preferred one.

Sub-clause 9.3 mirrors the corresponding sub-clause 7.5 for loading.

Sub-clause 9.4 replaces the old Clause 19 and is virtually unchanged.

Sub-clause 9.5 is new and stipulates that tally shall take place alongside the Vessel and that all accounts and claims relating to the discharging port are to be settled between Owners and Consignees.

Clause 10 - Overtime, Vessel’s Cranes and Lights

This new clause covers costs which are common to both loading and discharging.  The wording is self-explanatory and has been drawn from the RUSWOOD Charter Party.

Clause 11 – Agency

Although reworded, this clause is unchanged in substance.

Clause 12 – Substitution

The wording of this clause is practically unchanged but the notice period has been reduced from 14 days to 2 clear working days.  A second paragraph has been added concerning extra insurance which reflects the demands nowadays made by the marine insurance industry.

Clause 13 – Cancelling

The so-called interpellation provision has been reworded along the same lines as in RUSWOOD, Charterers now having 2 working days to indicate whether they will cancel or not should Owners inform them that the Vessel cannot make the original cancellation date.  If they do not exercise their option to cancel then a new cancellation date is automatically established 4 days after the new date of readiness indicated by the Owners.

The option of being chartered for “first open water” has been deleted.

Clause 14 – Fire

Apart from some editorial amendments this clause (formerly Clause 4) is virtually unchanged except that the last paragraph which had nothing to do with fire, has been moved to a separate clause (Force Majeure).

Clause 15 – Force Majeure

See under Clause 14.  The provision has been made more general by including any other circumstances beyond the control of the Shipper.

Clause 16 – Clause Paramount

One of the more important changes is that at the request of Scandinavian Exporters’ Organisations the old Exceptions Clause (Clause 12) has been replaced by a Clause Paramount which makes the Hague/Hague-Visby Rules applicable to the Charter Party.  This will not affect Owners’ liability as far as the actual voyage is concerned but may in certain jurisdictions extend liability beyond that.  Introduction of the Hague-Visby Rules automatically introduces package limitations but these are well above the cargo value for the vast majority of timber shipments.

Clause 17 – Deviation

The old Clause 13 – Contractual Voyage has been somewhat reworded but the changes are not substantive.

Clause 18 – Re-chartering

This new clause is self-explanatory.

Clause 19 – War Clause

Changes in the nature and the scope of war – particularly the involvement of supranational bodies such as the UN – have prompted BIMCO in 1993 to adopt new standard war clauses for inclusion in time charters and voyage charters.  Consequently the old War Clause has been replaced by VOYWAR 93 with a slight amendment in sub-clause 19.5(d) where the second sentence has been added to the standard wording.

Clause 20 – Ice Clause

This clause is unchanged except that the provision concerning spring has been deleted as no longer being appropriate.

Clause 21 – Strike Clause

The strike clause in the current NUBALTWOOD was considered unsatisfactory and it was decided to replace it with the clause negotiated for RUSWOOD.  The various conditions agreed during these negotiations have made the clause unusually long, but the basic concept is fairly straightforward.

After a sub-clause 21.2, with definitions and general rules, the next 3 sub-clauses set out the procedure in case of strikes breaking out at the following points in time:

21.2 – at the loading port before the Vessel’s arrival
21.3 – at the loading port on or after the Vessel’s arrival
21.4 – at the discharging port before or after the Vessel’s arrival

If in any of these cases the Charterers decide to keep the Vessel waiting for the strike to end, they must agree to the provisions of sub-clause 21.5 which stipulate:

(i) no demurrage for the first 6 running days
(ii) half demurrage thereafter for the next 7 running days
(iii) full demurrage thereafter

A number of exceptions to the above basic principles are enumerated in the following sub-clauses 21.6 to 21.9 which are self-explanatory.

Clause 22 – Lien

The first paragraph is essentially unchanged.  A second paragraph setting out the requirements for providing security in case of disputed items has been taken from RUSWOOD.

Clause 23 - Both to Blame Collision Clause


Clause 24 - General Average and New Jason Clause

Apart from reference to the York-Antwerp Rules 1994 this clause is unchanged.

Clause 25 – Brokerage


Clause 26 – Claims

It should be noted that not only notification but also details of claims must be submitted within 18 months of the date of final discharge.

Clause 27 – Taxes and Dues

This new clause is drawn from GENCON 1994.

Clause 28 – Law and Arbitration

This clause reflects the Standard BIMCO Law and Arbitration Clause for London arbitration.  In principle English law shall apply to the Charter Party and Bills of Lading issued thereunder and arbitration shall take place in London in accordance with the Arbitration Act of 1996 or any modification thereof which might be in force at the time.

A provision is included to settle claims not exceeding 20,000 ECUs by means of the Small Claims procedure of the London Maritime Arbitrators Association.

However, if parties so wish an alternative jurisdiction and place of arbitration may be chosen for settlement of disputes arising under the Charter Party, in which case this should be indicated in Box 28.

Clause 29 – Telex

This clause is self-explanatory.

Bill of Lading 

The Bill of Lading has been given the same layout as other BIMCO standard Bill of Lading forms but the contents have not been materially changed other than to bring them in line with the revised Charter Party.  The conditions of carriage which were printed on the face of the Bill of Lading have now been moved to the reverse.


Copyright to the NUBALTWOOD Charter Party and NUBALTWOODBILL Bill of Lading form is held by BIMCO.

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