Guaranteed space per ton. In the grain trade from the River Plate charterers have a decided preference for vessels disposing of a good cubic capacity in relation to their deadweight capacity. Sometimes the cubic capacity is guaranteed by the owners, in which case the following clause would be included in the CENTROCON charter:
“Owners guarantee to place at charterers’ disposal, if required, a measurement of not less than . . . cubic feet grain space per ton deadweight cargo capacity for the voyage, failing which freight to be reduced pro rata.”
Fixtures on this basis can be reported as follows:
“Up River Plate (Not above Rosario) Comp. Buenos Aires to Lisbon-Hamburg range, HSS: “Delphinus’ 34,000 dwcc stowing 65 cu.ft. USD24.50 14 days FIO May 1/15”
(The above fixture, similar to one, means that the ship will load in one or more ports in the upper reaches of the River Plate, but not having to proceed higher up-river than Rosario, about 230 nautical miles from Buenos Aires, and where the largest vessel is of 30,000 dwt on a seasonal draught of from 7 to 9 metres. The ship will then proceed down river to Buenos Aires to complete loading to full capacity, the owner guaranteeing the ship has sufficient grain capacity to load a full cargo of 34,000 metric tonnes of grain with a S.F. of 65. The S.F. of HSS from the River Plate is about 47 to 55.)
It may be mentioned that under cl. 6 of the CENTROCON charter, charterers have the right to ship general cargo, which accounts for their preference for good measurement ships. (See Dreading.) Vessels with a poor cubic capacity may have to accept lower rates.
In passing it may be observed that the cubic capacity guaranteed for the Delphinus is quite large. Vessels with a cubic capacity of 6S-70 cu.ft to the tonne are regarded as good measurement ships.
Whether the premium paid for good measurement vessels in the trade from the River Plate is an adequate compensation or not, is a matter of conjecture. The premium itself is subject to fluctuations; depending upon the number of good measurement vessels available for employment from the River Plate at a given moment and the requirements of the trade In times when large quantities of commodities with a high stowage factor are available for export, owners of good measurement ships may be in a position to hold out for an adequate premium, but if high stowing cargo may be comparatively .scarce, so that good measurement vessels are not in good demand, the premium ‘obtainable may be totally insufficient to compensate owners for the loss in time which the loading of commodities with a high stowage factor such as sunflower seed, expellers, bran in bags, etc. inevitably involves, to say nothing of the extra stevedoring expenses, compared with loading in bulk. In this context it may be recalled that under cl. 6 charterers are only bound to pay the difference between the stevedoring costs for heavy grain in bags and light commodities in bags. It is evident that the handling of bulk cargo is less expensive than the handling of bagged cargo. With a low premium for guaranteed cubic capacity per ton it may be more advantageous to load a full cargo of heavy grain in bulk-although at a lower rate-which can be loaded and discharged more quickly and at lower costs.