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Notice of Readiness provision determining commencement of laytime in relation to position of the vessel

The facts

Lumber was to be shipped from 6 berths in Canada to the United Kingdom.

Although berths in 6 ports were specified, the laytime provisions allowed the vessel to give Notice of Readiness once it reached the various ports.

The owners contended that because the laytime provision referred to “ports” as opposed to “berths” as specified in the initial clause, that the charterparty was in fact a port charterparty.


The umpire found in favour of the charterers but McNair J held the intention of the parties to be that laytime would commence upon arrival at the various ports without the need to berth.


McNair J observed that the dichotomy between port and berth charters was only a rule of construction that had to yield to the express terms of the contract.

He made it clear that he was deciding this matter on its own peculiar facts without reliance on authority although he did refer to Leonis v Rank 1.

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Charter Party Casebook