New Standards for Asia

Today, Asian shipowners control about 50 per cent of the world’s fleet. With the centre of gravity of global shipping shifting rapidly towards Asia, the vigorous growth of the market has resulted in the need for new standard forms that are up-to-date, comprehensive, and tailored specifically to the needs of shipowners within Asia.

As the representative voice for the maritime industry in Singapore, the Singapore Maritime Foundation (SMF) is committed to developing new and improved standard documents that would cater specifically to the needs of the Asian maritime community. SMF’s documentary efforts began with the launch of the Singapore Ship Sale Form (SSF) in 2011, and continued with the introduction of the New York Produce Exchange Time Charter (NYPE) in 2015.

A Strong Foundation for Maritime Excellence

In 2004, SMF was established to strengthen Singapore’s maritime ecosystem, and support Singapore’s efforts to become an International Maritime Centre. One of SMF’s critical roles is building a strong tripartite relationship between the government, industry associations and private maritime players in Singapore. At the same time, SMF also maintains close ties to the international maritime community. These strengths allow SMF to effectively harness the insights of its maritime stakeholders, and drive initiatives that serve and address their needs.

Crafting the SSF 2011

In 2008, SMF commissioned the Centre of Maritime Studies at the National University of Singapore (CMS NUS) to research and draft a new ship sale form that would improve upon prevailing sale and purchase practices at the time. Industry professionals, trade associations and international maritime organisations across Asia were all consulted in order to ensure that the finished document would be balanced, comprehensive and robust. After receiving its endorsement from the Federation of ASEAN Shipowners’ Associations (FASA), the SSF was officially launched on 6 January 2011. Since then, it has been accepted as a new industry standard for the sale and purchase of vessels in Asia.

Developing the NYPE 2015

In 2012, SMF collaborated with BIMCO and the Association of Shipbrokers and Agents (ASBA) to introduce the first revision of the NYPE since 1993. The objective of the revision exercise was to develop a version of NYPE that reflects current commercial practices, and has global appeal. The three organisations jointly co-authored the new NYPE 2015, with SMF playing a critical role in ensuring that the views of Asian maritime industry were considered and incorporated into the updated form. As part of these efforts, SMF organised a consultation session for Asian stakeholders on 8 July 2014, where members of the drafting team introduced the proposed updates to the form and received feedback from the industry. The result was a modern and comprehensive dry cargo charter party form that serves as a new global standard.

Milestones

This timeline captures key events that shaped the SSF as well as documentary work SMF has been committed to since 2011.

Key Milestones for 2008
  • In 2008, the Singapore Maritime Foundation (SMF) commissioned the Centre for Maritime Studies of the National University of Singapore (NUS) to embark on the research and drafting of a new ship sale form that would enhance the current ship sale and purchase (S&P) practices and procedures in view of regulatory developments. Through this partnership, SMF hopes to formulate a form that would minimise ambiguities through its clearly written clauses and reduce the number of changes to be made to the standard form. The Singapore Shipping Association (SSA) was instrumental in helping to engage the shipping community by facilitating meetings with their members.

Key Milestones for 2010
  • April – An industry consultation session to introduce and explain the drafting process of the SSF was attended by 120 ship sale and purchase professionals at Capital Tower, Singapore during the Singapore Maritime Week (SMW). The guest of honour was Tan Sri Frank Tsao, Founder and Senior Chairman of IMC Group.

Key Milestones for 2010
  • October – Representatives of the SSF drafting committee embarked on a four-city roadshow to four major Asian maritime centres (Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo and Taiwan) to present the SSF to industry professionals.

Key Milestones for 2010
  • December – A month prior to the official launch, the SSF was endorsed during the 36th Annual General meeting of the Federation of ASEAN Shipowners' (FASA) in Jakarta. All country members were encouraged to use the form for ship sale and purchase.

Key Milestones for 2011
  • January – The SSF and its official website, www.singforms.com were launched by Mr. Michael Chia, Chairman of SMF as part of the annual SMF New Year Cocktail Reception. The signing ceremony of the first-ever S&P transaction using the SSF also took place then, with the form inked between Marco Polo Offshore II (Pte.) Ltd., a member of the SSA, represented by Mr. Sean Lee, CEO, and Abbeypure Pte. Ltd., represented by Mr. Darmawan Layanto, Director for the vessel, SMS Spectrum.

Key Milestones for 2011
  • January – SMF gave well-received presentations on the SSF to the shipping communities in Seoul and Mumbai. These presentations were co-organised by the Korea Shipowners’ Association (KSA) and the India National Shipowners’ Association (INSA).

  • January – SMF worked with SSA to co-organise a well-attended special explanatory session on the SSF at Marina Mandarin Singapore.

Key Milestones for 2011
  • March – NOL adopted the newly launched SSF for the sale of one of its ships, a 300-teu feeder ship, Tiger River.

  • March – The SSF was presented at the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers (ICS) Conference.

  • May – The ASF agreed to distribute the SSF at its 20th AGM held in Bali, Indonesia.

Key Milestones for 2011
  • November – SMF gave the exclusive rights to distribute the editable version of the SSF to ASF for two years, and in its first bold attempt to market the SSF, ASF partnered and licensed leading maritime software and tools development and consultancy company, SDSD to distribute a digital editable version of the form through the Charter Party Editor programme.

Key Milestones for 2011
  • December – SMF and SSA co-organised a well-attended seminar on the SSF involving ship sale and purchase stakeholders at Capital Tower, Singapore.

Key Milestones for 2012
  • January – At the SMF New Year Cocktail Reception, Mr. Michael Chia highlighted the wide industry acceptance of the SSF where 76 known S&P transactions had used the form since its launch a year prior. He also announced that two renowned lecturers from the Institute of Maritime Law of the University of Southampton, Mr. Filippo Lorenzon and Mr. Charles Debattista, will co-author a publication on the SSF to provide practical annotation which carefully examines the use of the form.

Key Milestones for 2012
  • In 2012, SMF launched "A Guide to the Singapore Ship Sale Form (SSF)", a compilation of published articles by maritime lawyers and academic institutions on the use of the SSF.

Key Milestones for 2012
  • November – The SSF was presented at the Ship Sale and Purchase Training Seminar organised by IBC.

  • November – Singapore was included as an arbitration seat in the BIMCO Standard Dispute Resolution Clause.

Key Milestones for 2013
  • April – SMF launched the SSF book "Sale of Ships Under the Singapore Form", a publication that provides a comprehensive clause by clause commentary of the SSF as well as details the differences between the SSF and the 1993 and 2012 editions of the Norwegian Sale Form.

Key Milestones for 2013
  • June – SMF held discussions with the Association of Ship Brokers and Agents (ASBA) and BIMCO to collaborate on the redraft of the New York Produce Exchange Form (NYPE).

  • September – The NYPE drafting committee, comprising ASBA, BIMCO and SMF, met in New York for key discussions.

Key Milestones for 2014
  • May – Delegates attending the Asian Shipowners' Forum in Japan were briefed on the NYPE draft.

  • June – SMF collaborated with ASBA and BIMCO to organise NYPE Roadshow in London and New York.

  • July – SMF organised the NYPE Industry Consultation with ASBA and BIMCO at M Hotel, Singapore.

Key Milestones for 2015
  • January – The SSF was made available on the widely used BIMCO IDEA2 standard form editor.

  • October – The NYPE 2015, a joint effort by ASBA, BIMCO and SMF on the industry's most widely used standard form of dry cargo time charter party, was officially launched.

Key Milestones for 2016
  • March – SMF organised a networking seminar on understanding and using the SSF at The Bank Bar + Bistro, Singapore.

  • April – SMF conducted a seminar on the NYPE 2015 at Maxwell Chambers, Singapore.

  • November – A roadshow was held to present the NYPE 2015 to ship owners and shipbrokers in USA and Canada with ASBA and BIMCO.

  • November – SMF organised a seminar to provide an update on the use of the SSF at Maxwell Chambers, Singapore.

Key Milestones for 2017
  • July – SMF partnered with Chinsay to license and distribute the SSF on their industry-leading recap manager.

Key Milestones for 2018
  • January – The SSF was made available on BIMCO's new contract editor, SmartCon.

  • 2018 also marks the formation of the Singapore Shipowners' Focus Group, in support of BIMCO's Documentary Committee (DC) Meetings. The committee comprises of shipowners, legal, Singapore representatives to BIMCO DC and SMF, and aims to provide meaningful feedback and contribute to the discussions at DC.