Around 50 people from the LNG sector gathered at the Japan Shipping Exchange on Friday 21 October to attend a seminar on the recently published LNGVOY voyage charter party.
The seminar was jointly presented by BIMCO and law firm Stephenson Harwood. The key message delivered to the audience was that LNGVOY is a balanced and clearly written contract that provides the LNG sector with a commercially flexible alternative to trip time charter arrangements.
LNG shipping is unusual in that, until now, voyage charter parties were not a feature of their business. It has been the relatively recent and now growing spot LNG market that has created the potential for a voyage charter party to be used as an alternative to a trip time charter party.
LNGVOY is not designed to replace the use of trip charter parties but to sit alongside them and offer an alternative contractual solution for shorter voyages. The new contract represents a shift in the allocation of responsibilities between the owners and charterers. It gives the charterers a greater control of their costs and reduces the resources they require for LNG operations. The new contract will also appeal to owners who are new entrants to the LNG spot market who may be more familiar with using voyage charter parties.
Photo: Stuart Beadnall of Stephenson Harwood comparing LNGVOY with SHELLLNGTIME1
LNGVOY is a joint effort between BIMCO and GIIGNL (the International Group of Liquefied Natural Gas Importers). Numerous stakeholders were involved in it's development including Total, Vital, Mistui OSK Lines, and Exmar. Other sources of expertise included Stephenson Harwood, Nordisk, the UK P&I Club and shipbrokers Affinity. The seminar in Tokyo was presented by Grant Hunter (BIMCO) and Stuart Beadnall (Stephenson Harwood).
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