Berth charter. If a vessel was chartered for loading “on the berth”, the contract of carriage was called a “berth charter”. The exact nature of the cargo to be loaded is not known in advance; it being entirely up to the charterers to book the required quantity of cargo. If unsuccessful in booking a cargo, they are responsible for payment of any dead freight. Now a berth charter is a voyage charter where the vessel is chartered to the cargo to a particular berth as the destination.
Berth charter. The vessel will be “arrived” when it reaches the agreed destination and this depends on the nature of the charter, whether it is a “berth charter” or a “port charter”. In The Kyzikos, 1989, decided in the English House of Lords, the characteristics of these two types of charters were stated as follows:
“The characteristics of a port charter-parry are these. First, the contractual destination of the chartered ship is a named port. Secondly, the ship, in order to qualify as having arrived at the port, and therefore entitled to give notice of readiness to discharge, must satisfy two conditions. The first condition is that, if she cannot immediately proceed to a berth, she has reached a position within the port where waiting ships usually lie. The second condition is that she is at the immediate and effective disposition of the charterers. By contrast, the characteristics of a berth charterparty are these. First, the contractual destination of the chartered ship is a berth designated by the charterers within a named port. Secondly the ship in order to qualify as an arrived ship, and therefore entitled to give notice of readiness to discharge, must (unless the charter-party otherwise provides) have reached the berth and be ready to begin discharging.”