Standard Voyage Charterparty forms will include an introductory clause identifying the contracting parties, the vessel, and the agreed voyage. The only aspect of the vessel’s description which is of any serious concern to the charterer is its cargo capacity, since otherwise any deficiency in the vessel’s performance is at the risk of the shipowner. Cargo capacity will normally be
expressed in terms of deadweight tonnage which, when translated, means the weight of cargo the vessel is capable of carrying when loaded down at its maximum permitted draught. Such statements refer to the maximum weight of cargo that a vessel can carry and do not amount to a guarantee that it will be able to carry that amount of any cargo, since much will depend on the stowage factor of the particular cargo selected. Thus, while the ship may be able to cope with the stated weight of a compact cargo, such as coal, it may not have the necessary stowage capacity to carry an equivalent weight of a bulky cargo, such as cotton or wool. In the latter case it will normally be of more assistance to the charterer if the cubic capacity of the cargo space is specified. Generally the stated deadweight tonnage in a voyage charter is not intended to include fuel, stores, etc. required for the voyage, but many of the standard forms,
such as Gencon, are silent on the point. So far as details of the voyage are concerned, the charter may identify the ports of loading
and discharge, or the charterer may be given the right to nominate such ports, either from a specified list or from a designated geographical area. In the latter case an additional clause usually requires the charterer to nominate a safe port.