Indications

Nevertheless, with certain trades – for example, with Indian Government cargoes on certain occasions – working ‘subject open’ is not unusual and where, say four vessels offer for what is quoted as one cargo (but may, in fact, turn out to be several cargoes on the same position from the same port), the most attractive offer may be countered to ‘clean’, the next on the basis of ‘subject open’, the third ‘subject unfixed two’ and the fourth ‘subject unfixed three’. There may not be four separate cargoes and as, perhaps, ships 1 and 2 drop out during negotiations, it may be that successful negotiations are concluded only with ships 3 and 4, in such a way justifying what at first sight appears to be a rather tiresome procedure. It is, however, professionally unethical to misleadingly counter to another party on the basis of being ‘subject open’ when not, in fact, under offer to anyone else. Having found a potential ship to carry his Principal’s cargo the Broker involved will normally gather additional data in an effort to ensure that the opportunity is really of interest and workable with a reasonable chance of success. Indications of fixing levels may be exchanged, and these may be made in the form of offers by including dates when a ship or a cargo may be available, the freight rate a principal is prepared to pay or to accept, the cargo quantity, etc. There may even be a ‘counter indication’ or an indication said to be ‘firm’. However an indication is not an offer. It is not binding on the party making it, and several indications may be made for various cargoes or ships at one and the same time. An indication is merely an advice of the ‘approximate’ terms and conditions upon which a Principal is prepared to undertake business, or from which level that Principal is prepared to negotiate.