Reversible laytime. “Reversible” means an option given to the charterer to add together the time allowed for loading and discharging. Until this total time expires, no demurrage becomes payable. When the option is exercised the effect is the same as if a total time was specified to cover both operations.
An example may assist with appreciating this concept of laytime. Suppose the allowed laytime for loading is 10 hours and that for discharging is also 10 hours. The vessel may actually use 12 hours for loading operations and four hours for discharging. The “Reversible” option allows the total of x 4 hours to be subtracted from the agreed laytime and the charterer becomes entitled to despatch for four hours. If this option was not exercised, Timesheets for each operation would have to be separately completed, the charterer having to pay two hours’ demurrage for the loading port and earning six hours’ despatch for the discharging port, perhaps at a much lower rate. In many situations, the financial effect may be the same whether or not the option was exercised but in some situations the owner can gain under a system where there was no option.
In a charterparty the option to “reverse” the laytime is sometimes used to mean that “days all purposes” (“DAP”) are used. Laytime for loading and discharging is commonly used in charters for grain and in tanker charters. In the latter, under the Worldscale system, the laytime for loading and discharging is usually 72 running hours. In other tanker charterparties it is usual to state the number of hours. For example, in TANKERVOY 87 it is stated: “The laytime specified in Part I (I) shall be allowed to Charterers for loading and discharging of cargo and other Charterers’ purposes.” In Part I (I) it is simply stated “Laytime . . . running hours.”