A voyage charter is a contract for the carriage of goods on a specific ship for a voyage from one port to another. The shipowner’s reimburse- ment for the use of his ship is by freight money that is usually paid in relation to the quantity of cargo carried. Many standard-form voyage charter parties are in current use. The standard forms cover a wide spectrum of cargoes, with the majority of them being designed with particular terms to cover the characteristics of specific trades and com- modities (e.g., iron ore, coal, grain, oil). The standard forms are subject to amendments in accordance with the specific requirements of the contracting parties, but the basic framework of every voyage charter party is quite similar.
Clauses in a Voyage Charter Party:
A voyage charter party contains the following standard clauses:
1. Preamble. Place, date, name and domiciles of contracting parties
2. Name and brief description of the vessel. Cargo capacity is usually expressed in terms of deadweight tonnage.
3. Condition of the vessel
4. Cargo description. Commodity and nature of goods to be carried. Stowage factor. Stipulations for the charterer’s liability for deadfreight. (Charge payable on space booked on a ship but not utilized by the charterer. It is imposed at full freight rates, less loading and handling charges.) Minimum or maximum quantity of cargo or cargo size mar- gins, and in whose option.
4. Loading place. Name ofloading place and/or range; whether the ves- sel is to remain “always afloat” or “safely aground”.
5. Loading port orders/rotation. Rotation is important in voyage calculations.
6/7. Discharging places and port orders/rotation.
8. Laydays and canceling. The spread of dates during which a vessel is to present herself at the first loading port; conditions under which the contract can be canceled in the event that the vessel is unable to meet those days.
10. Cost of loading/discharging. Which party to appoint and pay for cargo handling at each port.
11. Notice of readiness/time counting. Important clause in the calcula- tion of laytime.
12. Loading/discharging rates. The speed at which cargo handling ac-
tivities are to be performed.
13. Excepted periods. Periods when cargo handling normally does not take place and will not count in the computation oflay time.
14. Demurrage/dispatch. This is the daily amount payable by charterer
in the event a vessel is detained in port beyond the maximum permit- ted laytime; dispatch is the reverse of demurrage paid by owner when a ship is loaded or unloaded in less time than allowed in the charter party; it is usually calculated as half the rate of demurrage.
15. Notices. The shipowner and/or the master is required to give no- tices of the vessel’s expected arrival at first loading port.
16. Ship’s gear.
17. Grab discharge/stevedore damage. Owner confirms that the vessel is suitable for grab discharge; formalities need to be set out in the event that the vessel suffers damage during cargo-handling processes.
18. Overtime. The agreement specifies which party will pay for overtime.
19. Shifting/seaworthy trim. Who is paying shifting costs between berths? Vessel is to be left in safe, seaworthy condition between ports. as per the master’s decision.
20. Cargo separations and tallying. Who is paying for the supply of cargo separators? Who is paying for the tally clerk (checking loading discharging cargo frequency)?
21. Dues and taxes. Who is responsible for the taxes against the vessel
22. Port agents. The shipowner is responsible for paying the port cost and agency fee. The charterer negotiates for the right to nominate the agent that will be appointed by the owner.
23. Bills of lading
24. Lightening, where cargo lightening is necessary
25. General average. Related laws as per York/Antwerp Rules 1890 199-1:2004
27. Exceptions. The rights of contracting parties to cancel the charter party in case events make its performance virtually impossible
28. Commissions. Address commission and brokerage commission
29. Protecting Clauses. New Jason clause, P&I bunkering clause, clause paramount, both to blame collision clause
30. Lien and cesser
32. War Risks. Voywar 2004
33. Signatures. No charter party is complete without the signatures of or on behalf of the parties concerned.