Understanding Laytime

The concept of laytime in international freight shipping deals with a serious legal aspect of logistics. All shippers of ocean freight containers should be well aware of the terms of laytime before shipping. Laytime is the time devoted for loading and unloading cargo from the ship. The exact time devoted for Laytime varies based on each carrier or ocean vessel owner. Usually it is at least 12-36 hours, depending on all of the circumstances involved.

The reason Laytime is so important is because of the penalty fees involved known as demurrage. For example, if the loading or unloading time surpasses the time devoted for Laytime, then the charterer would have to pay the ship owner a fee because of the demurrage. This is a fee that you will pay as a shipper if you go over the Laytime, so you must try to avoid it. Planning ahead can make a major difference. With all of the fees associated with the transportation of freight, you certainly do not need another fee. The good news is that if the owner of the ship completes the loading or unloading before Laytime is up, then they pay the charterer a dispatch, which is like a refund.

When the vessel arrives at the dock and the Laytime is about to begin so you can move the cargo, a Notice of Readiness is usually delivered to the charterer to inform them. The Notice of Readiness is usually typed and certified as an official document.