Bimco launches SmartCon electronic contract editing tool based on Microsoft Word

Bimco has launched its new electronic editing solution for contracts - SmartCon – at an event in Singapore.

Designed to replace Bimco's IDEA solution, which is some 18 years, old SmartCon is built around software that executives use everyday in the office - namely Microsoft Word and Outlook.

“What we've attempted to do with SmartCon is work very simply and look at what people use when they do business,” Grant Hunter, head of contracts and clauses for Bimco, explained at the launch event. “We're focused on the content not the software. All the techy stuff is inside the contract and you don't see it, you just work on a Word document.”

The new system is built on Microsoft's Azure platform allowing Bimco to protect and authenticate documents. When working on a SmartCon document that is downloaded a user does not need to be connected to the internet.

SmartCon documents can be shared via email and protected by a security system that Hunter says applies Digital Rights Management (DRM) used in the music industry that means if the document is sent to the wrong person they will not be able to open it.

The system will cover standard Bimco contracts, with 35 documents already on the system, as well widely forms from third parties such as the NYPE charter party form, Norwegian Sale Form andthe Bill of Lading.

SmartCon is designed to replace Bimco's widely used IDEA system launched in 2000 with over 3,000 user companies in 109 countries. Bimco has developed a tool for users to migrate existing contracts over to SmartCon.

While SmartCon is designed to replace IDEA Hunter stressed that the would not be switching the old system off, although they hoped most users would migrate over within two years.

Hunter said that they would be keeping SmartCon costs low in a similar range to IDEA. An annual subscription for three users is EUR300, while for 10 users it is EUR600, with every additional user after that costing EUR24 per year. Under a three user contract the price per final document is EUR20 while for 10 users and above it is EUR12. There is also a pay-as-you-go option of EUR120 per final document.

Bimco members will receive a 40% discount on the quoted rates.

Minimum systems requirements for users computers are Windows 7 and Word 2013.

Posted 18 January 2018

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Marcus Hand

Editor, Seatrade Maritime News

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