Only six months after its official launch in Beijing, BIMCO’s Internet Document Editing Application
(idea) has garnered a list of clients worldwide. The number of companies using idea now exceeds 100 and includes not only shipowners and shipbrokers, but also ship management companies, port agents and law firms. The broad appeal of idea stems from its ease of use and the wide range of standard shipping documents available, plus the ability to share the same edited document between offices. In addition to numerous conventional voyage and time charter parties, idea offers electronic versions of ship and crew management agreements, towage contracts, bills of lading and statements of fact. According to Jan Henrik Monsen, Managing Director of BIMCO Informatique
, “We are continually adding new documents to the system and anticipate having a catalogue of around 40 different forms by the end of May 2002”.
Among the many companies using BIMCO’s idea are Columbia Shipmanagement in Cyprus, A. P. Møller’s Maersk Broker in Copenhagen, Wijsmuller in the Netherlands and the law firm Norton Rose in the UK. All these companies use idea to edit and exchange by e-mail very different types of contracts, agreements and charter parties, but all benefit from a single, easy to access and easy to use online editing system.
BIMCO’s Deputy Secretary General, Søren Larsen, who heads the organization’s Documentary and Legal Division says that “BIMCO views idea as a natural extension of its documentary activities. We believe that with the increasing use of technology in the workplace, BIMCO should be able to provide not only a standard set of contract terms and conditions to suit a particular trade, but also a standard method of editing, amending and exchanging such documents electronically”. Larsen goes on “People want electronic copies of our documents to edit on their screens and then send to their counterparts or other offices or even their ships via e-mail. This is what idea does and I am very pleased that the industry has responded so well to the new system”.