BIMCO has published a Contract Authenticity Clause to encourage parties issuing contracts based on a BIMCO form to agree to use one obtained from an authorised source such as SmartCon.
BIMCO contracts are relied on throughout the shipping industry. The reliability and certainty that our standard forms provide can be undermined by fake copies that contain errors or even deliberate hidden changes to the wording.
The objective of the new clause is to decrease the frequency of the industry’s - often unknowing - use of counterfeit copies of BIMCO forms by including the Contract Authenticity Clause. The clause can also be incorporated into any BIMCO contract now as a means of reducing the risk and to save time and effort in proof checking agreements.
The clause is short and needs little explanation.
According to Nina Stuhrmann, manager at BIMCO Contracts and Clauses Department: “The parties simply agree to use a template from an authorised source. BIMCO has created an easy to use tool on its website where you can upload a copy of your contract to check its authenticity before you start your negotiations. The clause also requires that any amendments to the contract are clearly shown so that it will be clear to the other party what is the original text and what is amended text. This is a standard feature in SmartCon where “track changes” cannot be switched off.”
“We believe that if your counterparty provides the contract template for negotiation and is reluctant to include this clause, then this should serve as a warning that the offered contract is not a genuine BIMCO standard agreement,” she says.
A copy of the clause is available on the BIMCO website.
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