Welcome to the first edition of our "COA Pack". Surprisingly, notwithstanding their importance, a certain “legal mystery” surrounds Contracts of Affreightment (or "COAs" as they will be referred to in this Pack).
The primary purpose of this pack is therefore to shine a light on these important maritime contracts and bring to your attention some features of real importance.
The last freight crash saw several COA disputes erupt and, in due course, be resolved. We were involved in a number of them. This COA pack, where possible, is informed by these previous experiences.
Any discussion of COAs would be incomplete without looking to the future and in our final section, we address some matters that should be considered when fixing COAs. These are intended to be food for thought. Cyber risk allocation, protection against insolvency, environmental and human considerations are all included and where possible, these should be the subject of express clauses leaving less room to chance or implication.
We hope you find our collective thoughts helpful.
Special thanks to barristers, Philippa Hopkins QC and John Robb from Essex Court Chambers for their contributions.