Jens Olsen said now was the time for owners to be more upfront with their suppliers if they are experiencing problems as late payment can have disastrous effects on suppliersâ€™ own cash flow and their ability to supply ships in the worldâ€™s major ports.
â€œLate payment, and in some cases the non-payment of ship supply invoices, is a growing concern for ship chandlers in the worldâ€™s ports and causes us further concern now we are in the midst of the global downturn and the slump in shipping movements,â€ he told delegates attending a shipmanagement conference in Limassol, Cyprus.
â€œWe are working as an association to help our members by showing owners the impact their slow paying has on the ability of companies to continue to supply them. Other innovative ideas are under active consideration to get around this problem but it remains our principal cause of concern on behalf of our members.
â€œI believe the time has come for ship owners and managers to look upon their ship suppliers as partners without whom their vessels simply could not operate. You have to question whether you regard your supplier as an ally or as a foe: a partner or a necessary evil. I would hope the former in both cases,â€ he told delegates.
â€œWe have touched on this issue of the impact of poor freight rates and tight cash flow on the ship supply sector. We sympathise with our manager colleagues who complain about the pressure they face from owners keen to pass on late payment issues down the line. We want to help but that does not mean ship suppliers should end up being the bankers to the managers and the owners.
He said that as an industry, ship suppliers couldnâ€™t continue to operate like this. â€œIf the owner and the manager fail in their obligations soon you will have no suppliers left.
â€œShip arrest is still an option but a trusting relationship can mean ships are supplied correctly and efficiently and the supplier gets paid. Ship suppliers are starting to consider more seriously, the legal route, but we are always open to negotiation and enhancement of the benefits of a
relationship,â€ he concluded.