Laytime, Demurrage & Despatch

A practical course complete with a "hands-on" full-day Workshop

Programme Topics:-

The Law Relating to Laytime and Demurrage

The shipping adventure, namely the voyage performed for the carriage of cargo, involves four separate parts: the loading voyage (ie the passage in ballast to the port of loading); the loading operation; the carrying voyage; and the discharging operation. The two voyage stages require acts of performance by the shipowner alone and do not concern the charterer — it is the shipowner that bears the primary risk. The other two stages in the loading and discharging ports require acts of performance by both the shipowner and the charterer, and it is the interplay of these which has given rise to so many disputes under the general heading of laytime and demurrage.

As the introduction to the topic of the course, this session will consider the four key questions associated with laytime and, by inference, demurrage:

  • How is laytime calculated?
  • When does the (lay)time start to run?
  • What suspends the laytime from running?
  • When does laytime stop running?

Laytime is a very practical subject but it also causes many legal disputes. Thus it is essential to keep up-to-date with the relevant law cases which will be presented during this session and the following ones during the course.

Commencement of Laytime

This session concentrates on the very important subject of the Commencement of Laytime. Along the way, the common law and current practice relating to the delivery of the "Notice of Readiness" will be explained. This clarification of the position of the NOR will lead directly to the three factors which are required to enable laytime to commence. Where must the vessel be to be an "arrived ship" will be considered as will the state of "readiness" of the vessel to load and discharge the cargo.

Laytime Definitions & Voylay Rules

Introduced by the Comité Maritime Internationale in the early 1980s, and now endorsed by many shipping organisations, these standardised terms will only apply if incorporated into the charter party. Here we will look at what they mean and how they work? The lecturer will also introduce two of the main areas of laytime exceptions: “weather” and “weekends”.

What Stops the Clock? – Laytime Exceptions

Charter Parties frequently include express clauses interrupting laytime in the event of certain situations occurring, such as weekends, shifting between berths, strikes, lock-outs and equipment breakdown. These situations and their specific clauses will be discussed during this session building upon the introduction of the preceding session.

Practical Laytime Problems

This session will concentrate on the practical problems that arise during the loading and discharging of cargo and, in particular, the various occurrences that effect time counting.

Comparison of Key Charter Party Laytime & Demurrage Clauses

Most charter parties contains several clauses that relate to either commencement of laytime, laytime itself, demurrage or exceptions issues. Familiarity with these clauses is essential to accurate assessment of any demurrage or despatch claim. This session will consist of an exercise where participants are asked to answer a number of important laytime questions based on a variety of charter parties.

Laytime & Demurrage Sampler

In anticipation of the full-day workshop tomorrow, this session will consist of a number of simple laytime and demurrage exercises designed to stimulate thinking about where in charter parties are found those clauses which impact on the laytime assessment. Participants will be given either a dry-cargo or tanker example and be asked to identify several of the key parameters such as when a valid NOR has been given. Having correctly established the main parameters for the example, it should be straightforward for participants to calculate the laytime and then the final financial result.

Practical Laytime Calculating Workshop
Tanker & Dry-Cargo Options


During this first session the importance of Laytime calculating skills will be examined and thoroughly explained. Participants will join either the tanker or the dry-cargoworkshop groups for tuition and practical exercises. The two groups will reassemble at the end of the day for general discussion.

Fundamental Issues

Each group will study the following important issues:

  • commencement of laytime
  • valid Notice of Readiness
  • "arrived ship" laytime
  • duration and its variations

Further Building Blocks

Having set the scene, groups will further develop their understanding of:

  • interruptions to laytime
  • the difference between demurrage and detention
  • interruptions to demurrage
  • charter party demurrage versus sales contract demurrage

Practical Exercises

Practical examples now help to put the morning's advice to good use. Groups will work through several exercises supervised by the team of tutors.

Along the way, more details will be filled in:

  • reversible / non-reversible laytime
  • all time saved versus working timed saved
  • reachable on arrival
  • documents on board, then what?
  • pumping warranties
  • key clauses of the Asbatankvoy charter parties
  • statements of fact

Laytime Clinic and Conclusion

The tanker and dry-cargo groups reassemble to review the day's efforts and receive final guidance from team of experts. By the conclusion of the workshops, participants should be able to identify the laytime and demurrage clauses in charter parties, establish which clauses are advantageous, amend charters to alter the effect of printed clauses, interpret statements of fact and supporting documents, and work out any demurrage due and, in the case of the dry-cargo workshop, despatch.


The following form the core of the Faculty who have lectured on this course in recent years.

  • David Cross, Former Director OSG Ship Management Ltd and Member, Baltic Exchange
  • Jeffrey Blum FICS FICArb, Past Chairman, ICS London Branch, & Director, Interlink International Trading (UK) Ltd
  • Jean-Paul Dezutter, Chief Executive Officer, Demurrage Desk
  • Dr John M Doviak, Director, Cambridge Academy of Transport
  • Thor Maalouf, Partner, Reed Smith
  • David Martin-Clark, Consultant, Arbitrator and Mediator
  • Phil Stalley, Demurrage Consuiltant and Former Manager – Demurrage, BP Oil International
  • Capt Philip Wood, Executive Director, Trade & Transport (UK) Ltd

Course information

21-23 October 2024
Venue to be confirmed

Course fee

The cost of the three days is £2,400 per person, fully inclusive of UK Value Added Tax, tuition, refreshments, and lunch each day. Accommodation is NOT included but is available at the venue hotel at a discounted rate to our delegates.

Programme and Booking Form

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