To reduce Charter Party Disputes

Laytime Definitions of Charter PartiesA group of laytime experts from BIMCO, FONASBA, the CMI and the Baltic Exchange have together produced a contemporary set of laytime definitions for charter parties.

The aim of the new Laytime Definitions of Charter Parties 2013 is to assist the industry in reducing the large number of laytime and demurrage related disputes by setting out statements of meaning of words and phrases commonly used in the context of laytime which reflect contemporary market understanding based on the current state of English law.

Separate meanings have been given to the different formulations of phrases such as "Weather Working" day, new definitions included covering "Always Accessible" and "Whether in Port or Not" while a number of other provisions have been updated or clarified.

The definitions were last updated as the Voyage Charter Party Laytime Interpretation Rules (Voylayrules) in 1993, but significant developments in case law and changes in commercial practices have taken place since then.

Chairman of the Working Group, Jean-Pierre Laffaye (BIMCO), speaking on behalf of the group said:

"These provisions bring much needed clarity to the definitions of commonly used charter party terms used in the shipping industry. In a tough market, the amount of time a vessel spends unloading or loading cargo is under great scrutiny and it is therefore vital that the parties share a clear and common interpretation of laytime terms to avoid expensive legal disputes when an interpretation is tested in the courts or by arbitrators."

The 2013 Definitions are now available for incorporation into charter parties or as an agreed reference during dispute resolution. They can also be used as an educational resource in the training of new entrants into the industry. Copies of the Laytime Definitions of Charter Parties 2013 together with explanatory notes are freely available from the Chartering/Special Circulars section of The Baltic Exchange plans to incorporate the new definitions into the next edition of its code of conduct, the Baltic Code.

For further information, read the BIMCO Special Circular No. 08