A Critical Analysis of the Charterer/Shipper’s Duties Under the Contract of Carriage of Goods by Sea

This paper, critically evaluates the duties and obligations of a charterer/shippers under the carriage of good by sea. These duties include the common law and those applicable in the International Conventions. A charter-party is a legal contract of employing a vessel; the ship-owner lets it to the charterer on agreement with stipulated terms contain in a bill of lading. The charter party agreement allocates obligations, rights, duties, liabilities, risks, earnings, costs and profits between the contracting parties to wit, the ship-owner and the charterer. The understanding and interpretation of the terms of a charter agreement is of critical importance in maritime law practice. The present study is based on shipping practices under the English Common Law, which is synopsis about the distribution of the duties, liabilities and expenses between the ship-owner and the charterer in the most representative types of charter. This paper adopts the doctrinal research methodology, which employed primary and secondary sources of material. In addition, other secondary sources such as articles, journals, periodicals and conference papers and court judgments were referred to. This paper found that the shipper is under contractual and legal duties, which must be performed to ground liability; otherwise, the carrier will not be responsible or liable as provided under the relevant rules. The paper recommends that there is need for the harmonization of all the rules and laws regulating Charterer/Shipper’s duties in the contract of carriage of goods by sea.