‘Laycan’ is a period of time within which the vessel should arrive at loading port and tender ready for loading without risk of being rejected by the charterers. As indicated in the name itself, ‘laycan’ is an agreed time range at the end of which comes the date when the charterers are entitled to exercise their option and cancel the charterparty for non-arrival of the owners’ vessel. Importance of laycan provision is evident when one recognises that otherwise the charterers would have to wait for the delaying shipowners’ vessel unless such delay becomes unreasonable.

In recent case which reached the Court of Appeal, Tidebrook Maritime Corporation v Vitol SA of Geneva (The Front Commander) [2006] EWCA Civ 944, Rix LJ defined laycan at para 38, as:

(a) the earliest day upon which an owner can expect his charterer to load and (b) the latest day upon which the vessel can arrive at its appointed loading place without being at risk of being cancelled.

Laycan is not, however, specific feature of voyage charters only. As Clarke J. noted in SHV Gas Supply and Trading SAS v Naftomar Shipping and Trading Co Ltd Inc [2005] EWHC 2528 (Comm)

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