The prices are linked to quotes from a particular supplier or a particular price quoting entity on the day of delivery and redelivery.
A not infrequently occurring dispute relates to bunker prices on delivery and redelivery when the prices are linked to quotes from a particular supplier or a particular price quoting entity on the day of delivery and redelivery. The problem is two-fold; the date and the place. It is surprisingly often that delivery or redelivery takes place on a date on which there are no prices quoted, for example a Sunday. The clauses agreed do not contain a ?plan B? and the parties are thus heading for a dispute as to whether the correct price to be applied will be the price that may have been quoted on the last day prior to delivery or redelivery when there was in fact a price quote, or whether it will be on the day following delivery or redelivery when there is a fresh price quote.
With regard to place, the most common problem is that the particular bunker supplier or price quoting entity does not quote prices at the place of delivery/redelivery, or that it may not quote the particular bunker quality required for the particular ship. There is, unfortunately, no ready-made solution to these problems other than to negotiate and hope that parties will be able to reach a commercially acceptable solution.
As a matter of principle, BIMCO invariably holds the view that bunker provisions should not be used as a means of obtaining an extra profit, i.e. bunker provisions ought to be ?cost-neutral? to the extent possible although it is realised that the bunker market has been somewhat volatile for quite some time.
Two solutions that appear to be more attractive in terms of certainty can be found in clause 6(a) and (c) of GENTIME reading in part:
?Quantity at Delivery/Redelivery - The Vessel shall be delivered with about the quantity of fuels stated in Box 19 and, unless otherwise indicated to the contrary in Box 20, the Vessel shall be redelivered with about the same quantity, provided the quantity of fuels at redelivery is at least sufficient to allow the Vessel to safely reach the nearest port at which fuels of the required type or better are available. Purchase Price - The Charterers shall purchase the fuels on board at delivery at the price stated in Box 21 and the Owners shall purchase the fuels on board at redelivery at the price stated in Box 22?.?
This solution does away with the date problem because the parties have, from the outset, agreed to fixed prices. Similarly, the problem regarding place does not arise because the only qualification is that the redelivery place must be one from which the vessel will be able to reach a port where the required quality or better is available, which probably widens the field considerably.