The Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO) is the world’s largest international shipping association, with more than 2,200 members globally providing a wide range of services to their global membership which includes shipowners, operators, managers, brokers and agents. Their core objective is to facilitate the commercial operations of their members by developing standard contracts and clauses, providing quality information, advice and education. In promoting fair business practices, free trade and open access to markets, BIMCO also strongly advocates for the harmonisation and standardisation of all shipping related activity including the application of globally agreed regulatory instruments. Accredited as a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) with all relevant United Nations agencies and other regulatory entities, BIMCO in its agreement with the Singapore Chamber of Maritime Arbitration in November 2012 included the SCMA arbitration clause in BIMCO’s dispute resolution clause which makes Singapore the third choice seat after London and New York.
The address touched on the history of BIMCO, how it came to be the leading generator of standard form maritime contracts and the origins of the London/LMAA, the New York/SMA and Singapore/SCMA arbitration clauses in BIMCO’s Standard Dispute Resolution Clause. Getting Singapore/SCMA arbitration clause into BIMCO’s Standard Dispute Resolution Clause was a significant milestone for SCMA and the paper discussed the importance of what a presence in such forms represented, given that a substantial volume of maritime commerce is concluded using printed forms. It also explored other areas which remain open to SCMA and what the future held for Singapore and SCMA arbitration, including an insightful look at what Singapore and SCMA could do to assist BIMCO in encouraging parties to use BIMCO forms with Singapore/SCMA clauses.