Consecutive Voyages

Consecutive voyages. Sometimes the parties to a voyage charter are content to co-operate on pre-agreed repeat business. They will then sign an agreement which commits the ship to performing a number of voyages – either a predetermined number, or occasionally for as many as can be accommodated within a fixed period of time. All the voyages are covered by the same basic terms and conditions although it may be agreed that the freight rate fluctuates over the period of the contract. Each of the voyages is treated as a separate contract for purposes of demurrage and despatch. Should the ship be lost for any reason, then the contract comes to an end and the owner is relieved of any further commitment to the contract. In this the Consecutive voyage contract differs materially from the apparently similar contract of affreightment. Time Chartering. Where vessels are hired for a specific period – e.g. for 12 months (15 days more or less) the responsibilities of the parties differ substantially from those involved in voyage chartering. A Timecharterer assumes control of the operational (let us call it, the ‘commercial’) destiny of a vessel including, for example, the appointment and payment of port agents, purchase of bunkers, etc. leaving the Shipowner responsible for the management of the ship, with particular regard to maintenance, crewing, insurance, etc. The Shipowner is rewarded by the payment of regular amounts of hire money, normally paid monthly or semi-monthly in advance. However, should the vessel fail to perform properly or suffer such interruptions to the smooth performance as mechanical breakdowns, she may be considered ‘off-hire’, during which period the Owner will not be entitled to remuneration.