Does a voyage charter commence on the day the agreement (i. e. fixture) was made?

Not usually. The fixture will probably have been made and the charter party drawn up some weeks or days before the ship must load the cargo. The date of the fixture is normally at the top of the first page of the charter party.

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In voyage chartering, what is the preliminary voyage?

A master has just joined a ship and learns that she is on a voyage charter. What information in the charter party would he probably want to read?