Notice of Readiness (NOR)

The "Notice of Readiness" (NOR) is a crucial document in the shipping industry, specifically in the context of charter parties and cargo operations. It serves as formal notification from the shipowner or their agent to the charterer that the vessel is ready to commence loading or unloading cargo at the agreed-upon port under a voyage charter, or is ready to deliver on a time charter.

There are three requirements for a valid NOR:

  1. The vessel must be at the agreed place, or be an “arrived ship”: The charter party will specify where the vessel must be in order to send a valid NOR.  It can be in port, at the berth or in the customary waiting area.  
  2. The vessel must be physically ready: The ship must be prepared in such a way that it is ready to commence cargo operations and comply with charterers order.  The tanks or holds should be ready to receive the cargo, or the pumps, cranes or other equipment should be ready to discharge.
  3. The vessel must be legally ready:  All papers relating to customs, immigration, police, health, etc should be completed, such that the vessel is ready for the commencement of the charter service.

The ship's master, the shipowner, or their authorized agent typically issues the NOR, orally or in writing. It is often sent to the charterer or their agent, but the exact recipient(s) may be specified in the charter party.  

The NOR typically includes essential information such as the charterer and a reference to the charterparty, the name of the vessel, the date and time it arrived at the specified port or berth, anda statement indicating that the vessel is ready to load or discharge cargo. Additionally, it may contain information about the vessel's draft and any other relevant details regarding the vessel's readiness.  It will typically end with a request for the receiver to acknowledge the receipt of the NOR.

Laytime, which is the agreed-upon period for cargo operations, typically begins upon the issuance of the NOR, or at a specified time after NOR has been issued. The exact terms and conditions regarding laytime are defined in the charter party. The laytime clock start sticking from the date and time stated in the NOR if the NOR is tendered within the laycan. If the NOR is invalid, or tendered outside the laycan, the laytime does not commence, and a new valid NOR will have to be tendered.

The NOR serves as an official record of the vessel's readiness, and it is accompanied by other documents, such as time logs and statement of facts (SoF), to support laytime calculations and any potential demurrage or despatch claims.

The Notice of Readiness is a fundamental component of cargo operations in the shipping industry, helping to establish the starting point for laytime and ensuring that both the shipowner and the charterer have clear documentation of the vessel's readiness for cargo operations. It plays a critical role in the efficient and well-documented handling of goods at ports and terminals.


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