Expected ready to load

Expected ready to load. This term is found in the “preamble”-or introduction-to the charterparty, in the general “description” of the ship to be used. It can be important information for the charterer so that he can plan in advance for loading any cargo he may be shipping and thus it can affect the “laycan” details. For example in cl. 1 of the GENCON voyage charterparty (1922 and revised with a box layout in 1976) it is stated:

“It is agreed . . . steamer or motor vessel named in Box 5, . . . now in position as stated in Box 8 and expected ready to load under this Charter about the date mentioned in Box 9 . . .”

If the ship is described as “being ready to load” that is a “condition” in the charterparty. A breach of condition usually allows the aggrieved party to repudiate the contract and also claim for damages. It is also quite significant that any exception of liability for delay does not apply to any periods before the ship has commenced its charter.

For example, in an early English case (Monroe v. Ryan, 1935) the ship was fixed “expected ready to load” in Germany but before it could arrive at the loading port it was delayed by bad weather. The charterparty did contain a clause excluding liability for delay “beyond charterers’ or owners’ control” but because the charterers had paid demurrage for waiting time for the barges on which the cargo was awaiting the ship’s arrival, they were allowed to recover the demurrage from the shipowner. The reason given by the judge was that the ship was not on the chartered voyage during which the exceptions applied.

More recently, in 1970, another English decision held the “readiness to load” date to be a condition in the Charterparty. The Mihalis Angelos was chartered at the end of May 1965 to load a cargo in Vietnam for Germany. The ship was described as being “expected ready to load” in the loading port on 1 July. After arriving in Hong Kong on 23 June to discharge its previous cargo, the discharging was completed on 23 July. After this date the ship still had to undergo a classification survey, which would take approximately two days, and the passage from Hong Kong to the load port would take another two days. On 17 July the charterer repudiated the charter and was allowed to do so because when the charter was entered into on 25 May 1965 the shipowner could not have reasonably forecast the ship would be actually ready to load at the loading port on the date given to the charterer. Therefore the statement was a misdescription and this was a serious breach of contract.


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