BIMCO and ShipNEXT exchange fire over expulsion

Shipowner organisation BIMCO has expelled the recently launched Ukrainian freight platform ShipNEXT from its membership this week. In turn, the platform’s founder has fired back, saying BIMCO’s boss should either quickly reinstate his company and apologise or resign.

BIMCO stated that it has terminated its agreement with ShipNEXT that allowed the use of BIMCO contracts on its trading platform and expelled the company from its membership after it “repeatedly and falsely” claimed that BIMCO supported its trading platform.

The firm action follows repeated warnings, BIMCO claims, which the shipowner organisation says were ignored by ShipNEXT. BIMCO stated that ShipNEXT has on a number of occasions claimed in marketing material that its trading platform is supported by BIMCO, claims which could compromise BIMCO’s market neutral position, according to BIMCO’s secretary general and CEO, Angus Frew.

“The claims are a blatant abuse of the licensing and membership agreement that we have with ShipNEXT and is, in our view, a deliberate policy to mislead ShipNEXT’s customers. It compromises BIMCO’s position as a neutral and commercially independent association and is totally unacceptable behaviour,” Frew said.

“BIMCO has never supported nor endorsed the ShipNEXT system, and no longer has any formal licensing agreement with the company. The use of BIMCO standard contracts on this system is no longer permitted,” the Danish based organisation said in a release.

ShipNEXT was founded by Alexander Varvarenko last year as a global freight platform linking ships with cargoes around the world. Varvarenko also controls Odessa-based shipping company Varamar Group.

In an email sent to BIMCO and seen by Splash, Varvarenko demanded the organisation send him copies of the “numerous warnings” which were sent as well as proof of where and when ShipNEXT repeatedly abused the terms of its agreement.

Varvarenko told Splash that Frew will either have to reinstate ShipNEXT and apologise or resign.

A glance at the ShipNEXT website today shows the BIMCO logo displayed prominently in two places on its homepage.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. The cynic in me wonders if the likes of Sovcomflot et al put the screws to BIMCO at the behest of Moscow.

  2. The original press release issued by Shipnext in October 2017 specifically said that BIMCO endorsed the platform, which led to a subsequent statement from BIMCO that it did not. I don’t think you can point the finger at Moscow for the latest statement by BIMCO.

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