Projects for standard contracts and clauses covering almost every sector of the shipping industry will be reviewed by BIMCO’s Documentary Committee (DC) when it meets on 21 and 22 September. The gathering of over 70 documentary experts from around the world will take place online for the first time and two new contracts and two clauses are set to be approved for publication.
BIMCO is developing a standard refund guarantee for shipbuilding contracts, including the SAJ and Chinese forms. The current issue is that English law and jurisprudence on guarantees is contradictory, complex and often very difficult to understand from a commercial perspective, and as a result small changes made by negotiators can have wide reaching commercial consequences.
With an increasing focus on force majeure due to the COVID-19 outbreak, BIMCO has gathered a drafting team to develop a free-standing force majeure clause for use in a variety of contracts.
Over a series of meetings, the drafting committee developing the new BIMCO term sheet for ship sale and leaseback transactions has considered input received from industry experts. The term sheet is now ready to be presented to the Documentary Committee for adoption.
If a contractual dispute escalates and one of the parties want to involve arbitrators, it is essential that notices of commencement of proceedings and the appointment of arbitrators are properly served to the right people. BIMCO’s new Law & Arbitration Clause will address these issues with a provision requiring parties to a contract to clearly identify who are authorised to receive arbitration notices and communication.
BIMCO has produced a COVID-19 Crew Change Clause for Time Charter Parties in response to the extraordinary circumstances faced by many owners whose crew have had to remain on board during the COVID-19 “lockdown” for periods often extending beyond their contracts of employment.
BIMCO has updated its contract editing tool, SmartCon, with a new feature that enables users to add electronic signatures to their finalised contracts using DocuSign™ and thereby save time and money compared to relying on couriers to obtain physical signatures on paper copies.
BIMCO is developing a term sheet for ship sale and leaseback transactions, SHIPLEASE, and is seeking input from industry experts on the new standard.
The subcommittee set up by BIMCO and the Association of Ship Brokers & Agents (U.S.A.), Inc. (ASBA) to develop a new gas tanker voyage charter party (ASBAGASVOY) has agreed on a final draft which will be presented for adoption by the BIMCO Documentary Committee at its next meeting on 22 September.
Under a conventional cargo time charter party, the right to suspend performance for non-payment of hire provides owners with a powerful commercial tool to leverage late hire payments. However, based on industry feedback, applying the same sanction under BARGEHIRE is impractical.