The GENCON (General Charter Conditions) charter party is the most common standard voyage charterparty form used worldwide. Gencon first issued in This document is a computer generated GENCON form printed by Charter Party about the date indicated in Box 9, and the party mentioned as the. 5 . Uniform General Charter, or “GENCON”, is the standard form voyage charterparty most commonly used worldwide. GENCON was first issued by BIMCO in

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Gencpn must be remembered that all charter parties emerge from negotiations between Owners and Charterers, usually through one or more brokers, and the resulting agreement may well require amendments to some of the printed clauses. In pargy, as the GENCON is designed for non-specialised trades, both parties to the contract may well insist on certain additional clauses particular to their requirements to be attached to the standard form.

As a general rule, all the details which will eventually be inserted in the boxes of Part I of the charter-party are negotiable, and most will feature at some stage in the offers and counter-offers which are traded back and forth during the negotiations.

Although the most fiercely contested area may be that of the freight level, the dates and the time allowed for cargo operations may also be crucial to the fixture, as we will see below.

Next, there are boxes in which to enter the names of the parties and of course, the name of the ship details of its registered tonnages, dead weight, and any other characteristics important to the fixture, for example cubic capacity or perhaps the size of the hatches. Boxes 8 and 9 should not be overlooked; they describe the position of the ship relative to this particular charter.


Nevertheless, this information should not be taken lightly. Because of the imponderables in time for merchant ships there is usually a span of some days between which the vessel may be presented for loading.

If, however, an owner gives an expected readiness for box 9 and then subsequently takes on some intervening business which makes the ship much later than originally intended, he is guilty of misrepresentation. In extreme cases, such misrepresentation could be grounds for the charterer to cancel the contract, and the date when this could take effect is shown in box Boxes 10, 11 and 12 take us to the loading and discharging ports and the type and gencpn of cargo to be loaded.

Some loading or discharging berths, especially those in tidal rivers where small coasters regularly load; do not have enough water alongside at low tide to allow ships to remain afloat. If the pafty is fixed for loading or discharging at such a place, this must be specifically agreed in the charter party, otherwise the Owners have every right to refuse to put their vessel there.

The main Gencon forms which may create a dispute

The options in the printed clause 4 need to be carefully considered in conjunction with these details. Then comes the all-important clause setting out the rate of freight including how, when and where it is to be paid. A crucial point in connection with the freight is the question of which party should be responsible for the costs and risks of loading and discharging the cargo.


The GENCON charter party only envisages a situation where the shippers pay for the loading and the consignees for the discharging.

These are known as FIO terms free in and out implying that both loading and discharging operations are free of expense to the shipowners.

Note also from the printed clause that the Owners expect the charterers to be responsible for putting right any stevedore damage noted by the Master during cargo handling operations. A word of which the precise definition is almost lost in history but for our purposes refers to genccon time allowed for loading, respectively discharging.

In addition there are many ways in which laytime can be expressed. In terms of hours or days, as so many tonnes per day, as separate periods for loading and discharging or a total time span for both operations, whether or not time stops counting for bad weather and so on. Linked to when time commences to count and the amount of time allowed for loading and discharging is the penalty for exceeding the agreed limits.

A ship is only earning income when she is on the move, not when she is lying idle in a port.

GENCON Charterparty

A shipowner is, therefore, anxious to keep the time spent in loading and discharging to a minimum. The sum negotiated for this is inserted in box 20 and governed by clause 7. So clauses 5, 6 and 7 cover this dispute-prone area of time in port.