• The European Coffee Federation contracts


    There are four ECF contracts in all, of which the ECC (European Contract for Coffee) and the E.FCA.CC (European Free Carrier Contract for Coffee) are relevant for exporters as they cover coffee to be dispatched from origin. The E.FCA.CC was launched in July 2005 and will become effective from January 1st 2006. The other two contracts mostly deal with the trade in coffee within import markets: the ECSC (European Contract for Spot Coffee) and the EDCC (European Delivery Contract for Coffee). While important for importers and traders they are of little direct interest to exporters. Go to www.ecf-coffee.org for the full contracts.

    ECC and E.FCA.CC cover both coffee shipped in bags and coffee shipped in bulk using lined containers. Note that although hardly any bagged coffee is still shipped without the use of containers, ECC does not stipulate that containers must be used. It allows it, provided the bill of lading states that the shipping company is responsible for the number of bags. Parties wishing to conclude individual transactions on a different basis must therefore ensure that the sales contract stipulates on what basis containerization shall be permitted. E.FCA.CC on the other hand stipulates that delivery of coffee in bags shall be made in containers, under LCL/FCL conditions, whereby the carrier is responsible for the number of bags and the condition and suitability of the containers. (In the green coffee trade a container is always a twenty footer.)

    Incoterms. Both ECF and GCA contracts make no reference to these, not because of any disqualification or disagreement, but because Incoterms are a general (i.e. not coffee specific) set of international trade definitions. The exclusion is purely to safeguard the stand-alone status and clarity of the ECF and GCA contracts that have been written by and for the trade in coffee. See Exclusions - 04.05.11 and go to www.iccwbo.org/incoterms/understanding.asp for more on Incoterms themselves.

    The main implication of this exclusion is that, as for CFR or CIF contracts, under an FOB contract the seller is acquitted of responsibility only once the goods pass the ships rail. This is the same for GCA contracts. Under ECC the stipulation means that any buyer wishing to impose the use of a particular shipping line or vessel must make this known at the time of concluding the contract. But under GCA this has already been formalized in that the standard GCA conditions state that for FCA and FOB sales the buyer reserves the right to nominate the carrier. E.FCA.CC also stipulates that buyers shall nominate the carrier.

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