GENCON Clause Reachable Berth

Clauses requiring charterer to nominate a ‘reachable berth’ : Many charterparties include a clause requiring the charterer to nominate ‘a reachable berth’ on the vessel’s arrival at her destination. As a matter of construction it was held in The Angelos Lusis that such a clause transferred the risk of delay to the charterer if he could not nominate a vacant berth because of congestion in the port. Decisions at first instance have suggested, however, that the application of the clause is not restricted to cases of physical obstruction
but will also cover situations where a berth is available but is not ‘reachable’ because of bad weather or fog. In either case the vessel does not need to be an ‘arrived ship’ in the technical sense – all that is required is that it should have reached a point either inside or outside
the port, where it would be held up in the absence of the nomination of a berth. From that point the charterer will have to bear the risk of any delay in that he will be liable for damages for breach of contract in failing to nominate a reachable berth. If, however, the vessel should also be an arrived ship at that point, with the result that laytime commenced to run, then the charterer cannot be required to pay twice for the same time. So in The Delian Spirit it was held that once laytime began to run the charterer could trade off time saved in loading against the initial time lost while he was prevented from nominating ‘a reachable berth’. On the other hand, if the vessel is not an arrived ship at that point, then the two periods of time run independently. Consequently, time saved on discharge  cannot be credited against time lost while waiting for a reachable berth to be nominated.