Contact us


For the trade,
By the trade,
With the trade

I have a question…

A list of frequently asked questions is below. Please contact us if you have a question that is not listed.

Select subject area:


Your membership is renewed when funds are received and cleared into FOSFA’s bank account. This means your membership is not renewed on the day the instruction is sent to your bank, as there may be a further three working days or more before funds reach us. This also means your membership is not renewed when you receive a transfer request form from your bank, as this document is an advice that the transfer is in progress.

If you miss the discount deadline you will be invoiced the full, undiscounted fee for membership in February of the following year.

For example, a 30% discounted Superintendent membership fee of £472.50 issued in February, but paid after 31 March would lead to the issuing of an invoice for the full undiscounted fee of £675.00 in February of the following year.

No. You will need to request a membership certificate from our Membership Secretary at a cost of £10.00 per certificate. Alternatively, you can download a membership certificate when you login. This service will then be included when your membership invoice is raised.

Yes. Click Make a Payment and enter all details requested, taking care to enter your invoice number, company name and payment details correctly. Please note, if your payment is more than £750.00, a £10.00 administrative charge will be added.


As per the FOSFA rules, an arbitrator must be a named active representative of a company that is a member of the Federation in one of the following categories:

● Trading
● Full Broker
● Full Non-Trading

An individual who would like to become a FOSFA arbitrator would generally seek membership in the Non-Trading category in their own name.
Becoming proactive in arbitration cases is then down to the person to advertise and promote themselves, although we do add the member’s name to the listings for official appointments. The individual can let their contacts in the trade know they are taking cases on.

We follow a well-established process in issuing awards, whether they are for arbitration or appeal, and the process is recognised by international accountancy practices. Awards will declare who is due to pay costs in the dispute. The costs cover FOSFA fees for the service, the arbitrator’s or board’s fees, and any expenses.

We issue invoices in relation to those fees, costs and expenses after the award has been paid for and the awards will reflect the judgement made as to allocation of costs.

With regard to international accounting standards, there should be no more than one invoice for a set amount of funds. Our invoicing mechanism addresses this by stating the name of the party who will be paying the fees, as they will have the invoice. However, the other party may pay to take up the award and expect to receive the invoice. If appropriate, they will then pass on the invoice to the other party when they receive any fees awarded by the tribunal.

It is a complicated process, but is a well-established practice and one that is recognised by auditing bodies. Deposits will be taken into account. We are happy to chat about the process if you have additional questions.

All correspondence within the first tier arbitration process and at appeal must be transparent. Correspondence should be directed to the other party in the dispute and the tribunal (whether that is a sole arbitrator, two arbitrators, or an umpire), with FOSFA copied in.

At appeal, correspondence must be directed to the other party, with FOSFA copied in. We will forward any relevant correspondence to the board.

Periodically the Council has considered whether mediation should be provided to the users of FOSFA contracts. The continuing view is that mediation would be an additional step in a dispute resolution process, as opposed to a complimentary service. Therefore, we only offer arbitration services, not mediation.


Yes. They cost £15.00 per contract and can be purchased via the Contracts section of the website.

The FOSFA Annual Dinner is a members only event. However, discretion can be exercised for non-members to attend. To book you must complete the online booking form that will be available from the event information. We cannot accept verbal bookings or emails as a formal registration process.

Many contract-issuing bodies declare non-business days, particularly around the Christian celebrations of Christmas and Easter. FOSFA has maintained a policy not to declare non-business days as there are many other religious events declared nationally or locally as holidays or non-working days.

Non-business days are national and/or public holidays declared on a country by country basis. FOSFA’s offices are open on all working days and otherwise governed by UK published public holidays.


To apply for membership, simply complete the relevant application form. You will need the support/endorsement of two current FOSFA members; however, the Federation can assist in this area. Please contact us if you have questions. You can learn more about the different categories of membership here

This depends on the category of membership being applied for.

It takes about 4-6 weeks to apply for Superintendent membership. Analyst membership applications take longer as they have to be approved by the Technical Committee before they can be passed to the Council. Analysts also have to demonstrate analytical competence by taking part in one of the Federation’s proficiency tests (of which there are two per year – one for oilseeds and one for oils/fats).

For all other categories of membership, the process can take up to one month once the application form has been completed and the necessary documentation obtained from two supporting companies (one of which should be a trading member).

Besides the difference in the subscription fee (see Membership Subscriptions page), the other main variances between the two categories are:
View the Membership Features Table

Membership certificates can be provided to companies that have paid their membership fee and require them. This is a subscription service and is renewable on a yearly basis at a cost of £10.00.

Each member is entitled to the listing of persons or representatives from their companies to act as contacts in the FOSFA Members Directory. The general subscription rule is one person in one section free of charge. However, the number of persons allowed (free of charge) under the basic subscription is dependent upon the category of membership. For example:

● Trading (A1) – 3 free representatives
● Trading (A2) – 2 free representatives
● All other categories – 1 free representative

For all additional named persons and sections there is a charge of £40.00 per named representative and section.
Therefore, for categories that allow one free representative under the basic subscription, companies can have one person listed in one section (i.e. oilseeds) for no additional charge. However, if the company would like to have that same person listed in two sections (i.e. oilseeds and oils/fats), an additional charge of £40.00 will apply. Additional charges (if applicable) will be reflected on your annual subscription invoice.

We update the details on a weekly basis, so your details should be updated by the end of the following week.

We are happy for members to use the FOSFA logo, upon request, provided it is used in an appropriate way and only in relation to making a statement about being a member.


FOSFA contracts state that ‘The analyses shall be carried out in accordance with the methods laid down in the FOSFA International Standard Contractual Methods List’. This list is contained in the Technical Manual. If Analyst members are asked to use other methods, they should inform their clients that using such methods would make the results non-contractual. If the client insists, then it is recommended the analyst gets this instruction in writing before carrying out the analyses.

The FOSFA Qualifications and Operational Procedures for Ships Engaged in the Carriage of Oils and Fats in Bulk for Edible and Oleo-Chemical Use (commonly called the Carriage of Oils and Fats) state:

2.2 Tanks

2.2.1 Tanks, other than those of stainless steel, shall be coated, with the exception of mild steel tanks as specified in the FOSFA Operational Procedures. Only coatings suitable for food grade products and for the carriage of the oils or fats shall be used. Zinc silicate coated tanks shall not be used for crude oil unless the acid value is 1 or under.
An acid value of 1 means a maximum Free Fatty Acid value of 0.5% for soft oils, a max of 0.46% for palm oils, and a max value of 0.36% for coconut and palm kernel oils. If the FFA levels are above these values, then they should not be carried in zinc coated tanks.

The FOSFA Banned List and the Acceptable List do not include any trade names. The reason for this is that the product manufacturers can change the components of these products without informing us. The best advice is to obtain a current list of components from the manufacturer or the MSDS and then investigate the status of each component with respect to the lists. FOSFA has agreed that the previous cargo status of a product is determined to be that of the most toxic component, no matter how minor a component it may be.

Oil cargoes being traded on FOSFA contracts must be sampled using ISO 5555. This international standard includes a paragraph ( on ‘Homogenizing’ which describes a method for checking if the tank is uniform. It also states that:

  • If layers of different composition are present, homogeneity can, in most cases, be obtained by heating as described in 5.5.
  • If heating is not permissible because of the nature of the fat, or if it is not necessary, or if heating has to be avoided for any other reason, the fat may be made homogeneous by blowing nitrogen through it.
  • By virtue of the methods described in ISO 5555, all oils may be either homogeneous or inhomogeneous at any particular time.
  • ISO 5555 also includes a paragraph on ‘Inhomogeneous fats’ that describes how to sample oils/fats which cannot be made homogeneous. It is up to the superintendent to decide at the time of sampling if the oil in the tank is homogeneous or inhomogeneous and use the appropriate method.

The FOSFA Technical Committee has discussed paragraph 2.2.4 of the Carriage of Oils and Fats on several occasions. They are quite clear that most FOSFA superintendent members will not have experience concerning passivation procedures, chemicals, equipment, timings etc. Therefore, 2.2.4 just says “a qualified independent surveyor”. It is the responsibility of the shipowner to determine if any particular superintendent or superintending company has the experience to carry out this operation.

There are no rules within FOSFA for the heating of ISO tanks. This may be because if an ISO tank cargo solidifies, it is not such a problem as it is in a ship’s tank. For most oils, they should be transported at about 5 degrees centigrade above their melting point and discharged at about 10 degrees centigrade above the slip melting point. Carriage above these temperatures is discouraged as higher temperatures will reduce quality.

Full Membership
Associate Membership
Attend meetings
Vote in meetings
Serve on committees
Elect Full Broker members or one of their representatives to serve on the Federation’s section committees
Nominate as many representatives as they wish, but only one shall be included in the basic subscription
Receive a discount on services provided by the Federation, should the Council allow
Benefit from free use of the consultancy and advisory service (except where legal or specialised advice is provided and charged to the Federation) where costs shall be passed on, but under notice