Laytime

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In commercial shipping, laytime is the amount of time allowed (in hours or days) in a voyage charter for the loading and unloading of cargo.[1] If the laytime is exceeded, demurrage is incurred. If the whole period of laytime is not needed, despatch may be payable by the shipowner to the charterer, depending on the terms of the charter party (despatch does not apply to tanker charters).

Laytime and laydays are often confused as referring to the same idea. Laydays refers to the time when a ship must present itself to the charterer. If the ship arrives before the laydays specified, the charterer does not have to take control or start loading (depending on the type of charter). If the ship arrives after the laydays, then the contract can be cancelled – hence laydays are often presented as the term Laydays and Cancelling and can be shortened to Laycan.[2]

The point when laytime commences is determined by a Notice of Readiness (NOR), which the master or agent of the ship must give to the charterer when the ship has arrived at the port of loading or discharge. The NOR informs the charterer that the ship has arrived at the port and is ready in all respects to load or discharge.[3]

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Further reading[edit]

  • Todd, Paul (1988) Contracts for the carriage of Goods by Sea, page 88, BSP Professional Books, Oxford, U.K ISBN