FONASBA quality standard now covers 35 countries, 500 companies
FONASBA’s Quality Standard (FQS), the only quality mark designed by, and specifically for, ship agents and ship brokers, reached another milestone this month when the number of companies approved to the Standard exceeded 500. In recent months, its coverage amongst FONASBA member countries has expanded steadily, with 35 now covered following the recent accreditation of the National Association of Maritime Agencies, FONASBA’s member association in Russia, and Lion Shipping of Romania, an Associate member.
Coverage is expected to expand further in the coming months as a number of other associations are finalising their criteria ahead of inviting their member companies to apply for approval. The Quality Standard has been backed since its launch in 2008 by the major ship owning organisations, BIMCO, INTERCARGO and INTERTANKO, all of whom have recently reaffirmed their support for the initiative, leading to increased awareness amongst owners and operators. Members also recognise the important role of charterers in requiring a high standard of service provision in ship agency and ship broking. The Standard provides charterers with the option to identify and nominate ship agents who adhere to those higher standards by gaining approval under the FQS. A number of principals have already gone further in supporting “quality” and actively seek FQS approved ship agents to handle their port calls.
Speaking on the occasion of the FQS extending to more than 500 companies, FONASBA President Aziz Mantrach said “Ensuring the provision of high-quality ship agency and ship broking services is of vital importance to the international maritime sector and is one of the core aims of FONASBA. Reaching this milestone is a major achievement and we are very proud of all the member associations that have committed to introducing the FQS. We are actively encouraging all our remaining members to introduce it so that we can offer seamless coverage by FQS approved companies across the breadth of the 62 countries covered by FONASBA. Our actions to further increase awareness and recognition of the value of the Standard amongst the wider shipping industry are also continuing.”
The Quality Standard requires ship agents and ship brokers, who first and foremost must be members of FONASBA national associations, to be able to prove that they are adequately resourced, sufficiently well-founded and committed to the provision of appropriate education and training to staff in order to be able to provide a full range of high quality services to their principals.