What is Laytime? What is Laytime’s Commercial Purpose? Laytime is the amount of time which the owner and charterer agree it will take to load and discharge the cargo carried on board the vessel. When negotiating a charterparty, the owner will calculate how much freight they require to compensate them for performing the voyage. A key factor is how long the voyage will take to perform, that is, the approach voyage, loading, the carrying voyage and discharging. An owner usually has no control over the loading and discharging, and therefore the charterer will accept an obligation to load and discharge the cargo within a fixed time called laytime. The commercial purpose of lay time is, therefore, to compensate the owner for the time spent by the charterer loading and discharging the cargo over which the owner has no control. If, for example, the owner had calculated his freight on the basis that time spent loading and discharging would take three days, but the charterer in fact spent 10 days, the owner would have made no profit (and would have probably made a loss) from the employment of the vessel for that voyage.