The Federation of National Associations of Shipbrokers and Agents (FONASBA) has taken an initiative towards setting quality standards for ship agents and brokers. The Quality Standard (QS) will serve to assist shipowners and operators in their selection of who is to represent them. This will ensure a specific level of knowledge and experience as well as financial standing of their selected representative.
The QS was initially launched in October 2007 and includes a regular audit controlled by the national associations and overseen by FONASBA to ensure that the required criteria are maintained and that the member displays a demonstrable and tangible commitment to quality. BIMCO fully endorsed this initiative as an important step in raising quality standards, generally, as well as specifically for the agents and brokers sector.
The Quality Standard was discussed in detail at the recent FONASBA General Meeting in South Africa, where BIMCO also participated in its capacity as a Club member of the Federation. At the meeting, it was confirmed that so far ten FONASBA member associations, representing nearly 200 companies in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, Great Britain, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United States now apply the standard. A number of other associations are currently developing the relevant criteria. It is clear, therefore, that this initiative is gaining in stature and is becoming accepted as the global standard for professionalism and quality performance in the ship brokers and agency sector.