Reversible Laytime

Lay time is reversible when the charterers are permitted to aggregate the time allowed for loading and discharging. This means that any time saved or exceeded at the load port can be carried forward to the discharge operation. Depending on the drafting of the relevant clause, the charterers may only have a limited period of time for deciding whether to reverse. When lay time is interrupted due to bad weather, a difficulty arises in establishing how the excepted days and time should be dealt with in the process of crediting unused time in one operation to excess time used in another. When reversing lay time, excepted days must not be added to, or subtracted from, the lay time. This is perhaps best illustrated by way of the following example. Example: Laytime for loading is five weather working days of 24 consecutive hours. Sundays are excepted. Lay time commences on a Thursday and the ship completes loading on Saturday. In the normal course of events, laytime at the load port would have expired on the Tuesday and so, in theory, the ship, by being able to depart on the Saturday, has saved three calendar days. However, three days may not be transferred to the time available to be used at the discharge port. The days which have been saved at the load port are the Monday and the Tuesday only. If, on this example, Monday was not a weather working day then lay time would have expired one day later, on the Wednesday. That would mean that four calendar days had been saved but, again, only two days (Tuesday and Wednesday) can be added to the time available at the discharge port. The process works in the same way in the opposite case, where time has been exceeded at the load port. Assuming, again, that time allowed at the load port is five days, if lay time were to commence on Monday, it would expire on Friday. If loading was not completed until the following Monday, the excess time of three calendar days would have been used and the vessel would have been on demurrage for three days. However, if lay time were to be reversed in this case, only two days would have to be
‘borrowed’ from the time allowed for discharging. Although averaging and reversing, broadly, have the same objective, the outcome will be different according to whether the charterparty allows the charterers to average or to reverse.