At what distance from port can a vessel be considered as "arrived"?


I wonder at what point is a vessel considered to be “arrived at the port”? I know this can’t be arbitrary because there is a certain length of time that a ship is allowed to be at the port without incurring additional costs. After that there is daily demurrage rate that will be applied. So what is the criteria for arrival?

Also, would it be fair to say that “arrive” can mean different things for different players. For example, it could mean the submission of official forms/documents for a port authority but for a ship manager, from operational perspective the ship can be said arrived when it is 10nm from the port?

Thank you,

Let’s start from first principles - why does a ship come to a port? 1. For a cargo operation 2. For some operational need. With this logic - we can say a ship has arrived - when such operations can start.

Obviously cargo operation is the most important - and it is taken as basis for “arrival” in most cases. Typically captain issues Notice of Readiness when ship can start cargo operations - and laytime and demurrage calculations are based on this.

For a port like Singapore - where many ships stop for operational needs - such as bunkering, supplies and service - I guess we can define “arrival” as ship getting to the anchorage position where such operations can start.

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Well said, @ali-gara1 .

The term “arrival” indeed can be context-dependent and might mean different things for different stakeholders in the maritime industry. However, in most cases, the concept of a vessel being “arrived” at a port is legally tied to its readiness to carry out cargo operations, as you rightly pointed out. This is typically signified by the issuance of a Notice of Readiness (NOR) by the ship’s master.

In terms of laytime calculations and potential demurrage charges, these are usually dictated by the terms agreed upon in the charter party. The vessel is generally considered to have arrived when it is “ready in all respects” to load or discharge cargo in accordance with the charter party. This readiness is usually confirmed by the NOR. However, there may be specific clauses in the charter party that modify this general rule.

As for your second question, it’s true that “arrival” can mean different things for different roles within the maritime industry. For a port authority, arrival could indeed be tied to the submission of official documents and compliance with port formalities. For a ship manager or operator, arrival might be associated more closely with the vessel’s geographical location and readiness to commence port operations, such as when it reaches a certain distance from the port or a designated anchorage position.

Lastly, your point about operational needs is important. For ports like Singapore, where a significant number of vessels stop for operations like bunkering or resupplying, the concept of “arrival” might be more flexible, and may be considered to occur when the ship reaches a location where those operations can start.

In conclusion, the concept of “arrival” can be quite complex and is influenced by legal, operational, and geographical factors.

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