Freight Vs Hire in Ship Chartering

Freight Vs Hire in Ship Chartering


  • Freight” is the payment for the carriage of goods and is usually associated with Voyage Charters.
  • Hire” is the payment for the use of the ship itself over a given period and is typically linked to Time Charters.

In ship chartering, understanding these terms is crucial as they form the basis for contractual agreements between Shipowners and Charterers.

When a ship is hired for a specific period of time (for example, one year), the Charterer pays a daily Hire to the owner of the ship. The same arrangement for the payment of Hire is made for Trip Chartering (Time Charter Trip TCT).

Hire is an agreement in which a payment is made for the temporary use of service or property owned by another. Hire is the income derived from a Time Charter, and it is usually paid every fifteen days in advance.

Hire rate is expressed as dollars per day. Charterers are entitled to make deductions from Hire to cover various fees, for example, commissions due to the Charterer’s agents or sums advanced by the Charterer to cover Shipowners’ expenses at the various ports of call.

Freight is the price paid for the transportation of a certain cargo from one port to another. Freight is the income derived from a voyage charter or from liner operations. The freight rate is expressed in dollars per ton of actual cargo carried.

Freight vs Hire – What’s the difference?

The terms “freight” and “hire” are related to transportation and services, but they refer to different things.

  1. Freight:
    • Definition: Freight generally refers to goods that are transported from one place to another, especially by truck, ship, airplane, or train.
    • Usage: It can be used as a noun or a verb. As a noun, it represents the cargo being shipped. As a verb, it means the action of transporting goods.
    • Example:
      • Noun: “The freight from China will arrive next week.”
      • Verb: “The company will freight the goods to the warehouse.”
    • Related Terms: Freight charges or freight rates refer to the fees charged for transporting goods.
  2. Hire:
    • Definition: To hire primarily means to give someone a job or to employ them. However, in the context of transportation, it can also mean to rent a vehicle or service.
    • Usage:
      • When used as a verb, it can mean employing someone or renting something.
      • When used as a noun, particularly in British English, it can refer to the act of renting a vehicle or other equipment.
    • Example:
      • Verb (Employing): “The company is looking to hire new drivers.”
      • Verb (Renting): “I’d like to hire a car for the weekend.”
      • Noun: “The bike is available for hire at the shop down the street.”
    • Related Terms: Hiring process, car hire (British English for car rental).

In summary, “freight” predominantly refers to goods being transported, while “hire” can mean either employing someone or renting something.


What is Hire in Ship Chartering?

In the context of ship chartering, “hire” refers to the amount of money paid to the shipowner by the charterer for the use of a ship or its equipment, typically under a Time Charter arrangement.

Ship chartering is the practice of renting an entire ship for a specified period or journey. There are several types of chartering, but the two most common are:

  1. Time Charter:
    • In a time charter, the ship is chartered for a specific period. The shipowner provides the crew, maintenance, and other operational aspects of the ship. The Charterer only takes responsibility for the cargo and voyage costs (like port fees and fuel).
    • The payment made by the Charterer to the Shipowner under the Time Charter arrangement is called Hire. Hire payment can be made daily, monthly, or as agreed between the two parties.
    • During the period of the time charter, the charterer has considerable control over where the ship goes and what cargo it carries, but the ship remains under the overall operation and management of the shipowner.
  2. Voyage Charter:
    • In a voyage charter, the ship is chartered for a single voyage or a set number of voyages between specified ports.
    • The charterer pays the shipowner a Freight Rate, usually per ton of cargo or a lump sum for the entire cargo.
    • The shipowner handles all operational aspects, including voyage expenses.

In the realm of ship chartering, “hire” is specifically associated with time charter arrangements, representing the periodic payment made for the use of the ship. The terms and conditions, including the hire rate, would typically be specified in a charter party agreement, a legal document outlining the obligations of both the charterer and the shipowner.


What is Freight in Ship Chartering?

In the context of ship chartering, Freight refers to the remuneration paid by a Charterer to the Shipowner for the transportation of goods by sea. Freight is essentially the price or charge for moving cargo from one place to another using the chartered ship.

There are various ways to charter ships, and freight can be applied differently depending on the type of charter:

  1. Voyage Charter:
    • In a voyage charter, a Shipowner agrees to transport a specific quantity of cargo from one port to another for an agreed sum of money called Freight.
    • The freight amount can be determined based on the weight or volume of the cargo (e.g., per ton) or as a lump sum for the entire consignment.
    • Once the voyage is completed and cargo is delivered, the Charterer pays the agreed freight to the shipowner.
  2. Time Charter:
    • While a time charter focuses more on Hire for the use of the ship over a specific period, the term “freight” might still come into play if the agreement stipulates payments based on the amount of cargo carried during the time charter period. However, this is less common.
  3. Bareboat Charter (or Demise Charter):
    • This type of charter mainly involves the rental of the ship itself, with the charterer taking on many responsibilities of the shipowner. As such, “freight” is less directly relevant in this context because the charterer often earns the freight by transporting goods, acting effectively as the shipowner.
  4. Contract of Affreightment (COA):
    • This is a contract between a Shipowner and a Charterer where the Shipowner agrees to carry a specific quantity of goods over a period, but not tied to a particular ship or particular voyages. The charterer pays freight based on the quantity of cargo transported.

Freight is usually payable upon the successful delivery of cargo, though the exact terms can vary based on the charter party agreement. Additionally, the amount and terms of freight can be influenced by various factors, including the type of cargo, the distance of the voyage, market demand and supply, and other negotiated terms.


Freight Vs Hire

In the context of shipping and ship chartering, “freight” and “hire” are two fundamental terms that refer to different kinds of payments. Here’s a breakdown of the differences between the two:

  1. Freight:
    • Definition: Freight is the charge paid for the transportation of goods by sea. It’s essentially the price or cost of moving cargo from one place to another using a ship.
    • Applicability: Predominantly associated with “voyage charters.” In a voyage charter, a shipowner agrees to transport a specific quantity of cargo from one port to another for an agreed sum, which is called “freight.”
    • Basis of Charge: The amount can be determined based on the weight or volume of the cargo (e.g., per ton) or as a lump sum for the entire consignment.
    • When Payable: Usually payable upon successful delivery of the cargo, although terms can vary based on the charter party agreement.
  2. Hire:
    • Definition: Hire is the amount of money paid by a charterer to the shipowner for the use or rental of a ship.
    • Applicability: Primarily associated with “time charters.” In a time charter, a ship is rented out for a specific period, during which the charterer pays periodic amounts known as “hire” for the use of the ship.
    • Basis of Charge: The payment is typically based on a daily rate, although it can also be weekly, monthly, or another agreed-upon duration.
    • When Payable: Usually payable periodically (e.g., daily, monthly) during the term of the charter, as stipulated in the charter party agreement.

In essence, while both freight and hire are forms of payment in ship chartering, freight pertains to the transportation of goods and is closely tied to the cargo itself, whereas hire relates to the rental of the ship and is tied to the duration for which the ship is chartered.


What is the difference between Freight and Hire?

In the context of ship chartering, “freight” and “hire” have specific meanings related to the commercial arrangements of using a ship. Here’s a distinction between the two terms:

  1. Freight:
    • Definition: The amount payable for the transportation of goods from one place to another. This term is often used in voyage charters where the owner of the ship is paid based on the quantity of cargo or on the agreed voyage. Once the voyage is completed and cargo is delivered, the freight is earned.
    • Usage:
      • The shipowner and charterer agree upon a specific freight rate, say $100 per ton, to carry coal from Port A to Port B.
      • The total freight would be the product of the agreed freight rate and the quantity of coal loaded.
  2. Hire:
    • Definition: The amount payable for the use of the ship itself over a specific period, typically per day. This term is commonly used in time charters where the charterer takes on the ship for a specified period and pays for its use on a day-rate basis, irrespective of the cargo carried. The shipowner provides the ship and crew, while the charterer determines the voyages and provides for the cargo.
    • Usage:
      • The shipowner and charterer agree on a daily hire rate for the charter period.


Responsibilities in Voyage Charter and Time Charter

Crew Hire and Payment Owner Owner
Bunkers (Fuel) Owner Charterer
Cargo Operations Port DAs Owner Charterer
Ship Maintenance Costs Owner Owner


Selecting the Ideal Charter Modality

The dichotomy between voyage and time charters lies in their purpose and operative circumstances. Discerning the right moment to employ each charter mode is instrumental in fulfilling both the charterer’s and shipowner’s anticipations.

Opting for a voyage charter typically transpires when the charterer necessitates a ship for distinct, sporadic journeys stemming from varied circumstances. For instance, when an intermittent cargo needs conveyance.

Such sporadic cargoes often materialize in light of unanticipated surges in demand, particularly when supply mechanisms falter. Consequently, enterprises traditionally outside the cargo domain might momentarily delve into it to capitalize on these fleeting opportunities.

On occasion, a charterer’s existing fleet might be fully operational, compelling them to lease an external ship for a singular journey.

Yet, voyage chartering might pose challenges for neophyte charterers, given the complexities of crew and equipment management.

While most shipowners facilitate these requisites, it’s generally contingent on their magnanimity. Engaging a shipbroker to mediate the conditions proves invaluable, ensuring that sporadic charterers aren’t encumbered with an unmanned ship.

Conversely, time charters tend to be the preserve of veteran chartering enterprises with protracted ship needs. Instead of delineating specific ports and pathways in the charter pact, the charterer essentially leases the ship for a predetermined tenure, thereby asserting almost unbridled authority over it.

This unfettered freedom to navigate any port with any crew proves advantageous for established shipping conglomerates. For instance, during a ship’s decommission or repair, the firm requires an interim ship.

Rather than repetitively securing a ship for each journey, they resort to time charters. For the charter’s duration, they retain the ship’s custody and can employ it, within legal confines. This is particularly expedient as such charterers frequently possess a standby crew to commandeer the leased ship.

The shipping industry’s fiscal landscape plays a pivotal role in gravitating towards either a voyage or time charter. The voyage charter market, being singular in nature, inherently has elevated volatility due to the absence of a guarantee for successive leasing post-contract.

Yet, the allure of voyage charters for charterers lies in the potential of procuring more favorable rates from diverse shipowners. This dynamic places shipowners in a somewhat subservient position vis-à-vis the chartering domain.

Many shipowners harbor a predilection for time charters, as they promise stable revenue over an agreed period and at a consistent rate, providing a buffer against abrupt rate oscillations. However, charterers might eschew such contracts, finding them restrictive due to the protracted rate lock-in.

An episodic charterer invariably gravitates towards a voyage charter, whereas a habitual one leans towards time charters. Shipowners are often directly courted by charterers, bypassing marine brokers. Hence, a comprehensive assessment of multifarious elements shaping the shipping realm is paramount when oscillating between a voyage and time charter.


What is a Ship Charter?

A charter represents a formalized covenant among multiple entities, frequently referred to as charter parties, delineating the conditions for leasing a maritime ship. The provisions delineated within this charter are unequivocally binding upon all involved entities and encompass a plethora of clauses to anticipate various potential circumstances. Regarded as an authoritative legal instrument, Admiralty Law necessitates its formulation whenever ships are procured for lease.

The shipowner constitutes the primary entity in this charter covenant. The charterer, be it an individual or an institution, seeks a ship either for cargo transportation or potentially to sublease it to tertiary entities.

Functioning as an intermediary, the shipbroker facilitates the convergence of shipowners and charterers, ensuring the terms of the pact are meticulously articulated. Such stipulations encompass lease duration, remuneration structures, periodic payments, operational guidelines, and comprehensive ship condition assessments.

The financial compensation extended to the shipowner is referred to as the freight rate, rendered at predetermined junctures as agreed upon.

Ship assessments or surveyor reports hold paramount importance in chartering. They vouch for the ship’s navigational integrity before its chartering. Likewise, upon culmination of the charter agreement and preceding the final fiscal settlements, a subsequent assessment ascertains the ship’s preservation during its leased tenure.

The charter delineates the obligations of each party and mandates the upkeep standards for the ship.

Charting the landscape of maritime leasing, three predominant charters emerge – voyage charter, time charter, and the demise charter. The latter, colloquially known as the bareboat charter, provisionally transfers ship ownership or stewardship to the charterer, contingent upon specific temporal conditions.


Features of Voyage Charter

A voyage charter epitomizes a specific arrangement where a ship is commissioned for a predetermined journey. This contract delineates the scheduled ports, ultimate destination, and any stipulations pertaining to the cargo.

Predominantly, voyage charters are sought after by charterers possessing cargo awaiting transit. To facilitate this, they liaise with Shipowners via Shipbrokers, orchestrating a ship for the stipulated journey.

Remuneration for voyage charters can be bifurcated into two methodologies – either predicated on a per-ton rationale or a consolidated lump-sum.

  1. Per-Ton Basis
  2. Lump-Sum Basis

The per-ton strategy entails compensating the Shipowner for each ton of freight conveyed aboard. This mode is favored when the cargo’s weight is discernibly less than the ship’s utmost cargo capacity.

Conversely, when transporting a more substantial cargo, it’s prudent to remunerate via a lump-sum. It falls upon the shipowner to ascertain that the weight aboard aligns with the ship’s permissible limits, encompassing the on-deck cargo and observing the ship’s multiple load parameters.

Within the contract, several pivotal terminologies establish the chronological protocols for the contract’s tenure.

“Laytime” delineates the window granted to a charterer to finalize both loading and unloading at a designated port. Given the port expenses borne by the owner, there’s an anticipation for the charterer to expedite proceedings.

Should the charterer surpass the designated laytime, they’re mandated to compensate via a surcharge termed “demurrage,” offsetting the supplementary expenses the shipowner incurs due to such delays.

Alternatively, if operations conclude prior to the allotted period, the charterer is entitled to a “despatch” reimbursement from the owner. This serves as a catalyst, incentivizing swift port operations.

Within the realm of voyage chartering, the shipowner shoulders the onus of fuel, operational, and personnel expenditures. They are entrusted with the task of enlisting the requisite officers and crew, either from their internal reservoir or through Shipbrokers to enlist mariners and seafarers.

Furthermore, the owner is also liable for expenses like berthing and loading. Equipment requisitioned is similarly an owner’s fiscal responsibility.

To offset these expenditures, a premium is levied upon the charterer. Typically, charterers with singular shipments favor voyage charters notwithstanding the elevated cost, primarily due to the absence of protracted contractual obligations.

In essence, a voyage charter represents an arrangement where a charterer procures a ship for a singular, preordained journey. While the shipowner manages all fiscal and operational duties, the cargo remains the charterer’s exclusive domain.


Features of Time Charter

A time charter epitomizes a temporally-bound covenant, distinct from its counterpart, the voyage charter. Within this arrangement, the shipowner graciously leases a ship to a charterer for a predetermined duration, granting them the liberty to navigate any harbor and ferry any consignment, always within the confines of legal stipulations.

While the charterer steers the ship’s destiny, its preservation remains inexorably within the dominion of the owner. It is incumbent upon them to ensure the ship’s alignment with globally recognized nautical benchmarks throughout the charter’s duration. They routinely commission maritime examiners to draft assessments on the ship’s seaworthiness, undertaking reparations as necessity dictates. Any grave discrepancy encountered can culminate in legal repercussions for the Shipowner.

The duration of such a charter can oscillate between a mere handful of days to several solar cycles. This enduring pact operates on a singular remuneration metric, referred to as the freight rate.

Payments, poised with a quarterly rhythm, remain steadfast barring exceptional circumstances.

In the realm of time chartering, the onus rests on the charterer to handpick a seasoned crew, defray any incidental charges mid-voyage, and orchestrate provisions ensuring seamless operations at every harbor they grace. It’s imperative they divulge their intended trajectory to the Shipowners in a timely manner. Remuneration is predicated on a diurnal calculus, with punitive surcharges levied post facto. The financial burden of fuel, victuals, and the like falls upon the charterer’s shoulders, whilst the owner contends solely with expenses tethered to maintenance.

Contrary to their physical absence on the ship, the charterer delegates directives to the ship’s captain, encompassing permissible consignments, nautical pathways, and harbors, as well as mandated cruising velocities.

In stark contrast to the inflexible financial framework of voyage charters, time charters extend provisions to accommodate the unpredictability of delays.

Given the diurnal nature of the payment structure, any unforeseen hiatus by the charterer finds sanctuary within the agreement’s parameters.

Excluded durations from the final remuneration are christened as off-hire hours. To illustrate, should a ship’s pace be hindered by unforeseeable meteorological adversities, such additional durations remain extraneous to the concluding temporal tally.

In analogous fashion, if the ship suffers damages necessitating restorative endeavors, such time is categorized as off-hire. The agreement can be garnished with specific clauses, permitting a stipulated quantum of off-hire hours. Surpassing this threshold mandates financial accountability on the charterer’s part for resultant delays.

In essence, a time charter signifies the leasing of a ship for a predetermined temporal window, predicated on a daily rate, offering the charterer unbridled utility of the ship, with the Shipowner exclusively overseeing costs germane to maintenance.

Provisions are meticulously woven into the agreement, shielding the charterer from pecuniary obligations for durations squandered on unforeseen exigencies.


What is the difference between Freight and Charter Hire in Ship Chartering?

In the context of ship chartering, “freight” and “charter hire” are terms that refer to payments associated with the use of a ship. However, they relate to different types of agreements and have distinct implications. Here’s a breakdown of their differences:

  1. Freight:
    • Type of Agreement: Typically associated with Voyage Charter.
    • Definition: It is the payment made by a charterer (the party hiring the ship) to the shipowner for the transportation of goods from one place to another.
    • Basis of Payment: The payment is usually based on the quantity of cargo (e.g., per ton) or sometimes on the entire voyage regardless of the cargo quantity.
    • Responsibility: In a voyage charter, the shipowner is usually responsible for ship operating costs (like crew wages, maintenance, and insurance), as well as voyage costs (like fuel and port charges). The charterer generally only pays for the cargo’s loading and discharging costs.
    • Duration: The agreement lasts for a specified voyage or a round trip. Once the voyage is completed and the cargo is delivered, the agreement ends.
  2. Charter Hire:
    • Type of Agreement: Associated with Time Charter and Bareboat (or Demise) Charter.
    • Definition: It is the payment made by the charterer to the shipowner for the use of the ship over a specified period.
      • Time Charter: The charterer hires the ship for a certain period, but the shipowner provides the crew and pays for their wages and other operating expenses. The charterer pays for fuel and other voyage-related costs.
      • Bareboat Charter: The charterer takes full control of the ship, providing both the crew and bearing all expenses. The ship remains under the ownership of the shipowner, but the charterer essentially operates it like their own.
    • Basis of Payment: The payment is typically made on a daily, monthly, or another periodic basis.
    • Responsibility: The charterer’s responsibilities differ based on the type of time charter:
      • In a regular time charter, the charterer pays for voyage costs (like fuel and port charges) while the shipowner covers operating costs.
      • In a bareboat charter, the charterer is responsible for all costs, including operational, maintenance, and voyage-related expenses.
    • Duration: The charter agreement is for a fixed period, which could range from a few months to several years.

In summary, while both “freight” and “charter hire” involve payments for the use of a ship, “freight” pertains to payment for transporting goods on a particular voyage, and “charter hire” refers to payment for hiring the ship itself for a specified period.