The popular NYPE 93 dry cargo charter party is getting a facelift, a voyage charter party is in the works for the burgeoning liquefied natural gas spot trade and a clause covering the increasing use of electronic is ready for adoption – all in a quarter’s work for BIMCO’s documentary team.
The revised edition of the widely used New York Produce Time Charter Party is now at an advanced stage of drafting with only a very points remaining outstanding. In Dubai on April 30, BIMCO’s Documentary Committee will be requested to approve the current draft for publication as a ‘consultation’ copy. This will enable BIMCO, ASBA and the Singapore Maritime Foundation – who have together jointly produced the new edition – to circulate copies for review by the industry.
Then, in May, there will be a series of consultation seminars in the US, Europe and Asia to explain the new edition to the industry and provide an opportunity for comment. Based on feedback from this activity, the draft revised NYPE will fine-tuned before it is presented for adoption in November 2014.
The revised NYPE 93 is significantly more comprehensive and detailed than its predecessor. It incorporates many of the common riders frequently added by users while retaining the core elements, language and structure which users are familiar with. The contract takes very much more of a global approach to meeting the time chartering needs of users in different regions of the world.
Work is well underway on the development of a standard bunker contract which will be based on BIMCO’s current but little used agreement. The modernised contract is under review by a team of shipowners working together with a leading bunker supplier. Their efforts are being supplemented in Singapore by a group of bunker interests.
The objective is to produce a new global standard for the purchase of marine fuels. The level of interest in this project is high, so it remains a matter of finding suitably worded terms and conditions that will make the contract acceptable to the majority of the main bunker suppliers and traders worldwide. A consultation draft of the bunker contract is due for release in October. Meanwhile, work has begun on the development of a voyage charter party – LNGVOY Liquified Natural Gas Voyage Charter Party – for the nascent LNG spot market. The work is being done in co-operation with GIIGNL (the International Group of Liquefied Natural Gas Importers) which is a trade association representing the world’s major LNG importers.
Until recently, LNG has been shipped under long term time charter parties – often fixed for the life of the carrying vessel. As new gas markets have emerged the trade has moved towards trip charters and is now contemplating using a voyage charter party for spot market trading.
The LNG trade presents a number of challenges to developing a voyage charter party, not least because LNG ships commonly use the daily boil-off from the cargo as fuel by agreement with the charterers. This has a consequence on the basic principles of a voyage charter party where bunkers are solely the owners’ responsibility. There are also issues concerning the condition of the vessel’s tanks at the loading port and what should happen if gas cooling is required prior to loading because of a delay, but there are no cooling facilities at the loading terminal.The LNGVOY drafting team has a broad array of commercial, technical and legal expertise at its disposal and will address all these issues in the months to come.
The LNG trade presents a number of challenges to developing a voyage charter party, not least because LNG ships commonly use the daily boil-off from the cargo as fuel by agreement with the charterers
Reflecting the increasing use of electronic bills of lading, particularly in the dry cargo sector, BIMCO has developed an Electronic Bills of Lading Clause for Charter Parties. The work was done by a team of shipowner representatives working together with three major dry cargo charterers: Cargill, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto. The work was also supported by representatives from the two main solution providers, essDOCS and Bolero and by the UK P&I Club.
The Clause permits charterers to use electronic bills of lading provided the chosen system platform is one which has been approved by the International Group of P&I Clubs. Both systems are free to owners and operate within a web browser in a similar fashion to online banking. The International Group provides electronic bills of lading produced using either essDOCS or Bolero with the same level of cover as their paper equivalent.The new Clause will be put forward for adoption in Dubai on April 30 and will be included in the revised NYPE time charter party as well as being freely available to the industry for incorporation into other charter parties.
In view of the pending coming-into-force of the Ballast Water Convention and the existing ballast water regulations promulgated by the United States, BIMCO has developed a time charter Clause to address the allocation of cost and responsibility for ballast water compliance testing. Although there are still a number of unknown factors, such as how non-compliance will be dealt with by Port State Control given that it may take several days to analyse samples, the Ballast Water Management Sampling Clause still provides a useful allocation of costs. The Clause will be put forward for adoption in Dubai on 30 April.
Meanwhile, in an attempt to create a more secure position for owners against the risk of their vessel being arrested by bunker suppliers due to non-payment for bunkers by time charterers, a new clause has been developed. The Bunker Non-Lien Clause builds upon non-lien provisions commonly found in standard time charters such as NYPE by making a specific requirement for charterers to put their bunker suppliers on notice that the owners are not a party to the bunker contract. The notice is to be given to suppliers prior to ordering bunkers.
At the present time it is common for masters to stamp bunker delivery notes with a “non-lien” wording, but this is considered to be an ineffective means of placing the suppliers on notice to guard against this risk.
Grant Hunter is chief documentary affairs officer at BIMCO, responsible for the development, revision and promotion of BIMCO’s wide range of standard contracts and clauses. He has worked for BIMCO since 1997. Previous careers include five years at sea with Ben Line and eight years working ashore in the commercial and operations department of P&O Bulk Shipping in London. Grant has a Masters degree in maritime policy and law from the London School of Economics.