During charterparty negotiations, even one minute late can result in the substitution of that owner or charterer by another charterer or owner; so it is best to counter well within time, if possible, especially in a volatile market. If you know that it is not going to be possible for you (as principal) or your principal client (if you are a shipbroker) to reply in good time, the best (and the most courteous) safeguard is to advise your counterpart that it looks most unlikely that you will be able to reply in time and could you or your client please be granted an extension for the reply time. It is not always easy to reply in good time: this could be due to the number of parties in a broker chain, for example, or due to poor telephonic connections with certain countries. Thus the number of counters should be kept to a minimum if these circumstances should prevail. Naturally, the negotiations should whittle down the contentious points as much and as soon as possible: therefore it is the shipbroker’s skill and knowledge of his principals and/or of the prevailing market which will facilitate this process. An Owner/Charterer Can Only Be Firm To One Charterer/ Owner At Any One Time.