top of page


AA - Always Accessible or Always Afloat - Term in Charter-Party which stipulates that the charterer must not order the ship to a port or berth where she would touch the bottom or perhaps be unavailable at any time due to tidal variations.

AAAA- Always accessible always afloat.

A/C - Account This term is used when referring to a bank account and when allocating costs, such as in the phrase "for the a/c of charterers".

ABSAmerican Bureau of Shipping.

ABT - About - A conditional term used in qualifying cargo, time, bunkers or speed: when discussing cargo. "about" usually covers a margin of 5 % either way (i.e. 25,000 LT 5% more or less, at owner's option), when referring to a period of time: usually 15 days, although each case is considered on its own merit. In connection with bunkers, "about" has been interpreted to mean 5% latitude; regarding speed, the tolerance is generally one half knot.

Accomplished Bill of Lading- Original Bill of Lading which has been surrendered to the carrying ship at the discharge port in exchange for the goods.

A/E or ACC/EXC - Accept/Except - Term used by either the shipowner's broker or the prospective charterer's broker during the negotiations for the charter of a ship to signify that an offer or counter-offer is accepted apart from certain clauses or details. These are then listed together with the amendments sought.

AD VAL FRT - Ad Valorem Freight - Freight calculated on the value of the goods, expressed as a percentage thereof.

ADDCOM - Address Commission - Commission payable by the shipowner to the charterer. The reason for this system is sometimes said to be that the charterer's shipping department for bookkeeping purposes must show some kind of income from their activities. State trading countries regularly include a 5% address commission in their orders.

Additional Demurrage - Amount of money paid to the shipowner by the voyage charterer, shipper or receiver, as the case may be, for failing to complete loading or discharging before the agreed period of free time has expired. The daily rate of additional demurrage is agreed in the Charter-Party.

Additional Freight - Extra charge imposed in accordance with the contract of carriage by a shipping line on the shipper, receiver or Bill of Lading holder, as the case may be, for additional expenses incurred in discharging the cargo. This charge generally applies when the port stipulated in the contract is inaccessible or when the discharge there would result in unreasonable delay to the ship: under these circumstances, the shipping line may have an option under the contract of carriage to proceed to another port of discharge the cargo where extra costs may be incurred.

"Adopted" Charter -If a charter "agreed" in that way following negotiations between, for instance, BIMCO and one or more groups representing charterers is officially supported by another association of shipowners, for instance, the Chamber of Shipping of the United Kingdom, it is stated that the Chamber of Shipping of the United Kingdom has " adopted" the charter; or on the other hand, if BIMCO wants to support one or the other charter negotiated and "agreed" between the Chamber of Shipping of the United Kingdom and one or more groups of charterers, then it is stated that the charter has been adopted by BIMCO. Moreover, a document issued by an organization of shipowners, for instance INTERTANKO, for use in a special trade without having actually been "agreed" with any particular group of charterers, may be adopted by BIMCO. An adopted document is compulsory for the members of the organization who have adopted it if it is an "agreed" document.

Advance Freight - Freight payable at a time agreed by the shipowner and the shipper, before the goods are delivered at the place of destination in the contract of carriage.

Advance on Freight - Money advances by the shipper to the master of a ship to pay for his disbursements while in port. It is often repaid by deduction from freight.

Affreightment - The hiring of a ship, the term may also sometimes be used to describe a contract for a series of voyages.

AG - Arabian Gulf (used when vessels are proceeding to Arabian ports).

Agency Clause - Clause in Charter-Party, which stipulates whether the ship's agent at the loading and / or discharging ports are to be nominated by the shipowner or the charterer.

Agency Fee - Fee payable by the shipowner or ship operator to a port agent, whose duties may include arranging a berth with the port authority, ordering pilots, tugs and labor, entering the ship in at Customs and collecting freight.

"Agreed" Charter - The charter has been agreed between BIMCO (or The Chamber of Shipping of the United Kingdom or Cornite Central des Armateurs de France or other associations of shipowners) with one ore more groups of charterers or other institutions (for instance, the Polish Coal Charter Committee, the Timber Trade Federation of the United Kingdom, the Syndicat National du Commerce Exterieur de Cereales, Paris or CMEA, Moscow). The printed conditions of an "agreed' charter must not be altered or deleted without the express approval of the organizations who have agreed the charter, An "agreed" document is compulsory for the trade for which it is intended, e.x. the sugar trade.

AGW - All going well.

All in Rate - Freight rate which is inclusive of all surcharges and extras. This type of freight rate is to be found in the liner trade.

Anniversary Date - This refers to the hour and date the ship is delivered to the charterer and, therefore hire is paid from that date, either semi-monthly, monthly, or per 30 days, through the end of the charter period. This is especially important when negotiating for an extension, or when 'fixing" in direct continuation.

AP - All Purposes - Time allowed in a voyage charter for loading and discharging combined, expressed as a number of days and hours. Also referred to simply as purposes.

"Approved" Charter - this is the expression used for charters - whether "agreed", "adopted” or “recommended”.

APS - Arrival Pilot Station - Location often used as the place of delivery of a ship by the shipowner to the charterer at the commencement of a time charter. The hire charge commences from the time of arrival unless the ship arrives prior to the first of the laydays. In such a case, the hire charge commences at the beginning of the first layday or sooner at the option of the charterer.

Arbitration Clause - Clause in a contract, such as Charter-Party, which stipulates that any dispute between the parties arising from the contract be resolved by arbitration. The clause also specifies the place where the arbitration is to be held, the number of arbitrators and their qualifications, and the procedure should one party fail to nominate an arbitrator.

Arrived Ship - Requirement of all voyage charters that the ship must have arrived before laytime can commence. Where the charterer has nominated a berth or dock, the ship must have arrived at that berth or dock. When a port is nominated, the ship must have arrived at the pod in this context in cases where there is no berth available and the ship is obliged to wait, a vessel is an "arrived ship" as soon as the following conditions have been met:
1. The vessel must have arrived at the loading or discharging berth or port as stipulated in the charter.
2. The vessel must be fully prepared to load or discharge.
3. Notice of readiness in writing, as prescribed, must have been given to shippers or consignees.
4. If berth nominated by charter is not available, then vessel can be considered “arrived" when NOR is tendered.

ASBA - Association of Ship Brokers and Agents (USA), Inc., New York.

As Agent Only - Form of words used with a signature to a Charter-Party or Bill of Lading to indicate that the party signing is doing so merely on behalf of a principal, whether is to be the master, owner or charterer of the ship, and has no rights or liabilities under the contract of carriage.

As is - In the condition in which the subject matter is. This expression is used when goods, or a ship, are offered for sale without repair or rectification.

As is, Where is - In the condition in which the subject-matter is and at the place where it is lying. This expression is used where goods or a ship, are offered for sale without repair or rectification and with delivery to the purchaser being at the place where the goods are lying.

ATS - All Time Saved: term used in a voyage charter party to define one method by which despatch money is calculated, that is, by deducting time used for loading and/or discharging, as the case may be, from a theoretical time up to the expiry of laytime which includes excepted periods, for example a charterer may be allowed 10 days for loading. He calculates the expiry of laytime taking, account of excepted periods such as weekends, and arrives at a theoretical number of calendar days, say 15. Should he only use four laydays to load, he is entitled to II days despatch money.

ATDN - Any Time Day or Night - Term used in a time Charter-Party to signify that the shipowner may deliver the ship or that the charterer may redeliver the ship, as the case may be, at any time of the day or night and not necessarily during normal working hours. This term is very often followed by SHINC (Sundays and holidays included).

Average to Laytime - As a voyage charterer, to offset the time used in loading cargo against that used in discharging for the purpose of calculating demurrage or despatch. If, for example, a charterer earns five days despatch at the loading port but there is a period of three days demurrage at the discharging port, the charterer has a net claim for two days despatch money.

bottom of page