Voyage Charters

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Chapter 15


6. Laytime 79
*(a) Separate laytime for loading and discharging 80
The cargo shall be loaded within the number of running hours as 81
indicated in Box 16, weather permitting, Sundays and holidays 82
excepted, unless used, in which event time actually used shall count. 83
The cargo shall be discharged within the number of running hours 84
as indicated in Box 16, weather permitting, Sundays and holidays 85
excepted, unless used, in which event time actually used shall count. 86
*(b) Total laytime for loading and discharging 87
The cargo shall be loaded and discharged within the number of total 88
running hours as indicated in Box 16, weather permitting, Sundays and 89
holidays excepted, unless used, in which event time actually used 90
shall count. 91
(c) Commencement of laytime (loading and discharging) 92
Laytime for loading and discharging shall commence at 1 p.m. if 93
notice of readiness is given before noon and at 6 a.m. next working 94
day if notice given during office hours after noon. Notice at loading 95
port to be given to the Shippers named in Box 17. 96
Time actually used before commencement of laytime shall count. 97
Time lost in waiting for berth to count as loading or discharging 98
time as the case may be. 99
* Indicate alternative (a) or (b) as agreed, in Box 16.  
15.1 The topic of laytime and demurrage is so large that it merits a separate book on its own, and the Lloyd’s Shipping Law Library contains a specialist work on the subject.1 In the light of that work, and because the obligation of the charterer to provide cargo is fully dealt with in , it is not the intention of the present chapter to deal extensively with the numerous decisions on the wide variety of terms used in charterparties in connection with laytime and demurrage, but to simply deal with the general issues of law on the topic and with the specific provisions of the Gencon form. 15.2 Many of the terms used have been the subject of consideration by committees comprising representatives of BIMCO, CMI, FONSARBA, GCBS and INTERCARGO, and this has resulted in the production of various interpretative and definitional documents, including the Charterparty Laytime Definitions 1980, as amended; Voyage Charterparty Laytime Interpretation Rules 1993, intended to replace the earlier document; the Laytime Definitions for

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Charter Parties 2013; and the Baltic Code 2020. The definitions, of course, may have considerable persuasive force, although no statutory force and, unless incorporated into the charter by agreement, no contractual force.2


15.3 Sub-clauses (a) and (b) are alternatives and, as noted at the foot of the clause, the parties are to indicate in Box 16 of the standard form whether the agreed laytime is to be calculated separately for loading and discharging (alternative (a)) or is agreed to cover both loading and discharging together (alternative (b)). Similar considerations of construction, however, apply to both sub-clauses. 15.4 The general principles of the operation of laytime and demurrage have been summarised as follows by Hobhouse J. in The Forum Craftsman:3

A liability for demurrage is a liability for liquidated damages for breach of contract. The breach of contract is the failure to discharge (or load) within the permitted laytime. The obligation has two different aspects: the first is the obligation to discharge and the second is to do so within the limited time. There is no breach before that limited time has expired. Once the limited time has been exceeded there is a continuing breach for which the liability in liquidated damages (that is to say demurrage) continues to accrue minute by minute as the failure to complete discharge continues …

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