“Our Word Our Bond” is at the heart of what the Baltic Exchange and its global membership stands for. It provides the basis for ethical conduct and integrity for Member companies and their employees. Adherence to the Baltic Code is one way that many shipping companies differentiate themselves from those who are not Baltic Exchange Members and it is referenced widely in arbitration cases and provides a basis for how many organisations govern themselves.

The Baltic Code 2020 provides guidance to shipbrokers and principals on ethical conduct in the physical freight and freight derivatives markets. The physical shipping markets are not regulated by central government authorities, but since the 19th century, the Baltic Exchange has set out a Code of Conduct which sets out market standards. Today the Baltic Code plays an important role by providing guidance and acting as a reference point. It is used by those working the markets on trading desks and referenced at legal hearings. It underpins the ethical approach taken by Baltic members globally in dry cargo, tanker, gas, container, sale & purchase, demolition and freight derivative markets. 

Baltic Code objectives

  1. Preserve confidence in and the integrity of physical freight and freight derivative markets
  2. Establish and execute ethical business practices and eliminate unacceptable practices in these markets
  3. Ensure the role of the Baltic Exchange remains at the centre of these markets

Baltic Code key principles

  1. Integrity of Markets
    Market Participants shall act to uphold the integrity of the physical freight and freight derivatives markets and avoid any action or omission that may adversely affect these markets or bring the Baltic Exchange and its membership into disrepute.
  2. Fairness and Competition
    Market Participants shall treat their customers fairly, compete fairly and avoid anti-competitive agreements and practices.
  3. Ethical Business
    Market Participants shall do business in an ethical manner, eschew corrupt practices and comply at all times with any and all applicable laws including those related (but not limited) to money laundering, sanctions and tax evasion.
  4. Good Market Conduct
    Market Participants shall comply with applicable laws in respect of their activities in the freight and freight derivatives markets, maintain authorisations and permissions to undertake regulated activities and devote due skill, oversight and resources to these activities.
  5. Robust and Credible Benchmarks
    Members contributing data to the Baltic Exchange benchmarks shall comply at all times with applicable law and the Baltic Exchange Guide to Market Benchmarks. Market Participants using these products shall comply with applicable laws and terms and conditions under which the Baltic Exchange provides these products and at all times recognise the rights of the Baltic Exchange in respect of these products. 

Within the Code, each of the five principles listed has detailed examples of good and bad practice designed to help market participants understand what is acceptable and unacceptable.