Calculation of Lay Time

Laytime can be expressed in terms of a specific number of days or hours, such as four working days (continuous days of twenty-four hours) or as a fixed rate of loading, such as one thousand tons per day. In the not-so-common cases in which the charter party is vague as to the amount of laytime allowed, the courts will imply a duty to load the cargo within a reasonable time as is customary at that port. In calculating laytime, it is important to consider whether laytime is normal (nonreversible) or reversible. Normally the calculation for demurrage and dispatch is drawn up separately for loading and discharging. This is known as normal or nonreversible laytime. But it may be that the charterers are given the option to treat the laytime periods as reversible-where the laydays allowed for loading and discharging may be added together, the time used for loading may then be deducted; with the remaining time being available for discharging. If all the lay- time is used for loading, the ship comes on demurrage on arrival at the discharging port and the time will then count immediately. Where the charterers are given the option to average the laydays, the loading and discharging are drawn up separately. The resultant demurrage and dis- patch are then added or set off (averaged) against each other, with the demurrage or dispatch being calculated on the result. It must be noted, however, that lay time, in the case of tankers, is usually reversible, meaning, as shown above, that time not used by the charterers at the loading port can be used at the discharge port. The opposite usually holds true for bulk cargoes, with lay time being irreversible, meaning that the fixed time available for loading is separate to the fixed time available for discharge and that time saved at the loading port cannot be credited to the charterers or used for discharging port operations. Under the charter party clauses and statement of facts, a time sheet can be prepared that will show how much laytime has been used. A time sheet is a document showing lay time utilized, taking into account all above-mentioned factors. It includes, in detail and on a daily basis, the time that loading or discharging commenced and completed and, if an interruption has occurred, when it occurred, for what reason, and when work resumed. Following this, the balance of dispatch money in favor of the charterers or demurrage money in favor of the owners is calculated. Laytime calculations for tankers are exactly the same as those for dry-cargo vessels. Laytime commences when a vessel is an arrived ship and obviously whether the charter party is a port charter or a berth charter. The burden is upon the owner if the charter indicates a specific berth (e.g., No.3 berth Mina Jebel Ali). Time waiting for a berth is even more important for cargo operations, since the purchase of an oil cargo typically requires a tanker to be present at the port over a very short lay- can period (i.e., 21/23 March, that is March 21-23). Without a clause to the contrary, the lay time would then commence at midnight on March 21 (i.e., 24:00 hours on 3/21, or 00:00 hours on 3/22). If the charterer is given a reasonable notice time that allows preparatory work to be undertaken, then six hours may be allowed. Clause 5 in ASBATANKVOY states that “lay time shall not commence before 06:00 hrs local time on the commencing date … unless with charterer’s sanction.”