It is imperative that the description for the ship is both detailed and accurate in order to enable the charterer to assess whether the volume of the specific cargo available can be loaded, stowed, carried, and dis- charged on the named ship on the agreed voyage.
Freight clauses specify the agreed rate of freight, the unit of measurement of cargo to which it applies, and the time and place of payment. Part of the freight may be required to be paid in advance and the balance on delivery of the cargo. Additional clauses provide for the cur- rency in which the payment is to be made.
The charterers have an absolute duty to furnish the cargo as agreed in the charter party. Irrespective of the detailed description of the cargo, the charterers must comply to the terms of the charter party as to the volume, nature, type, and characteristics of the cargo to be made avail- able at the port of loading. If the cargo requires special cleaning and preparation of the holds or tanks, special stowage, separation or lash- ing, or subsequent hold or tank cleaning, it is important that the char- ter party clearly provides which of the parties is to incur the costs for this work. Because quite often it is impossible to know beforehand the exact quantity of cargo that may be loaded, it is normal to quote the quantity as “x metric tons plus or minus 5 percent on owner’s option” (5% MOLOO). The owner then has the right to load the quantity of cargo within the range agreed.
The Preliminary Voyage
There is an absolute obligation by the owner to indicate the whereabouts of the ship at the time of fixing and the date at which the ship is expected to be ready to load. Both obligations are conditions in voyage charter parties. The shipowner undertakes that the ship shall proceed on her voyage to the loading port with reasonable dispatch to arrive by a certain date-where this date cannot be met, the charterers are usually given the option of canceling the charter party by virtue of the so-called canceling clause (laycan).
The canceling clause usually provides that if, during the preliminary voyage, it appears that the ship will be unable to meet the canceling date, the charterers shall have the option of canceling the charter, as long as they exercise such option within a given stated period of time (e.g., within forty-eight hours).