BIMCO

Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO) was founded in 1905 by a group of shipowners engaged principally in the Baltic and White Sea trades. At that time it was known as the Baltic and White Sea Conference and concerned itself mainly with regulating and improving the financial rewards of the timber trades. Later it adopted a far wider outlook (albeit still predominantly dry cargo bulk trades) and changed its name to the Baltic and International Maritime Conference with the last word being changed to Council relatively recently. Its membership is now international and consists of shipowners and operators (representing 60% of the world’s merchant fleet), shipbrokers and agents, maritime lawyers and P & I Clubs. BIMCO’s stated objectives are inter alia to pursue all issues affecting its members, seeking cooperation rather than confrontation, and providing input of a practical nature to ensure that the economic impact of new regulations on shipowners is fully appraised in the process. For many years it has issued approved documents including charter parties and bills of lading, sometimes in collaboration with other bodies such as the Chamber of Shipping and FONASBA, and sometimes after agreement with organisations of charterers or shippers. This documentary role is the activity for which BIMCO is most well known although its many other activities are equally important. An innovation during recent years has been the staging of one-day (sometimes two-day) courses in very many different maritime centres throughout the world. These have attracted considerable support from local shipping audiences to hear papers delivered by eminent practitioners in the industry. BIMCO was quick to realise the benefits of computer-based communication and information systems for its membership, and began pioneering work in this field during the late 1980s. Now its members can access much of its vast store of information on line. Though much of this information is restricted to its subscribers, a great deal of useful material can be found at www.bimco.dk including drafts of many of BIMCO’s approved charter parties and other documents. Throughout its life BIMCO has had its headquarters in Bagsvaerd, Copenhagen.