Chartering vs Owning Vessels: Understanding the Key Differences

Chartering vs. Owning Vessels: If you’re not in complete control of the ins and outs of the maritime shipping industry, it can be a challenging company. Whether to own a vessel or lease a chartering vessel to deliver products is one of the most important decisions that any marine entrepreneur must make. I will discuss the benefits and drawbacks of both owning and renting a boat in this post so that you can decide on your cargo logistics with confidence.

Who are the key players when chartering a ship?

Within the maritime business, chartering refers to the process wherein a ship owner lends their vessel to a charterer. In this procedure, there are some important players.

Owning Vessels

A shipowner is a person or organization who owns a commercial vessel registered in their name with a shipping registry that transports goods or passengers for a fee.

Shipowners must make large financial commitments for the purchase and upkeep of their ships.

They may be despondent owners or registered owners.

The individual or business that the vessel is officially registered with is known as the registered owner.

A person or business that has the vessel at its disposal—either as the owner or as the owner’s bareboat charterer—is referred to as the deponent owner.


A person or business that leases or charters a ship from the owner for a predetermined amount of time or journey is known as a ship charterer.

Cargo owners who want to move their cargo, freight forwarders who plan transportation for clients, and shipping corporations that need extra boats themselves are examples of charterers.

Shipowners and charterers draft charter parties to facilitate these agreements.

A contract of affreightment, in which the shipowner agrees to deliver the cargo specified in a bill of lading to the charterer within a certain time frame, is another option available to the two parties.

All the parameters of the charter agreement are outlined in these legally binding documents, including payment information, liability concerns, responsibility for maintenance expenses during the charter period, demurrage, freight rates, laytime, and more.

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The parties may also decide on a lump-sum or per-ton payment.

There are three primary kinds of charters: time, journey, and bareboat, which is often referred to as a demise charter.


A shipbroker acts as a go-between for the charterer and the shipowner. They assist shipowners seeking to lease their vessels in connecting with suitable tenants, or the other way around.

These chartering brokers collect a fee or commission for their services; often, this is a portion of the total amount that the charterer pays the shipowner.

Brokerage services are a vital component of business operations; nevertheless, although their job is to connect shipowners with available boats, brokers are not in charge of the vessel or its maintenance.

Let’s now examine the qualities that set shipowners and charterers apart

The difference between Chartering vs Owning Vessels

difference between Chartering vs Owning Vessels
(Credit: MarineTraffic)

According to this Marine Insight explanation, chartering is essentially the act of renting out a ship to convey cargo or merchandise. The most popular kind of chartering is voyage chartering, which involves hiring out the ship and its personnel for a journey between two or more ports.

On the other hand, whoever provides the means of cargo transportation is the vessel’s owner or owner.

What are each option’s benefits and drawbacks, then?

Benefits and drawbacks of Owning Vessels


The control a carrier has over the details of the cargo transportation is the primary benefit of owning a shipping vessel. For instance, the owner may choose to redesign a ship to increase its carrying capacity or repurpose an old one, as doing so might help the business make more money during periods of high freight rates. An additional instance would be if an owner chooses to use alternative fuels to achieve strategic business goals like environmental responsibility and adherence to maritime shipping environmental rules. Furthermore, the vessel’s owner has the authority to determine the maintenance procedures and timelines, allowing them to do repairs at their own discretion.

The owner thereby benefits from increased cash flows and decreased OPEX, or operational expenses.

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Having a boat requires a significant financial commitment; it’s not an easy feat. The owner of the vessel must take many financial factors into account. They must take into account the significant upfront costs associated with buying a shipping vessel, including loan interest and other related expenses. This implies that the owner must account for the preparations made for the ships’ upkeep and depreciation. Additionally, ship owners must take into account the increased fixed expenses that will be spent when there is insufficient cargo and the markets are down, given the global economic crisis and the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine and its effects on marine trade.

In contrast, when a vessel is chartered, the carrier can easily return the vessel and save hefty fixed costs during emergencies. One of the many benefits of chartering is this. Allow me to go over the remaining benefits and drawbacks of chartering.

Benefits and drawbacks of chartering


To put it simply, chartering is less expensive, more flexible, and labor-intensive. First off, renting a ship has lower CAPEX (costs of ownership) than buying one, therefore it doesn’t necessitate the same kind of aggressive investment plan. Ship owners are free to build or remodel their own ships, but maritime traders have the option to have carriers put into operation right away. Because businesses may skip the up to three-year wait times associated with ship building, this offers marine traders a competitive advantage. Furthermore, charter prices are remain rather reasonable, allowing carriers to avoid incurring unnecessary costs, despite having escalated during and after the COVID outbreak.


On the other hand, because the shipowner is the one who manages this element of the operations primarily, chartering offers the carrier less influence over the deployment of boats. This implies that the maritime traders must examine disagreements that might arise over the maintenance of the vessel or issues that might interfere with the owner’s ability to provide chartering services. Despite being less costly than owning a vessel, chartering nevertheless necessitates large capital flows, which are often brought on by charter rates.

But you may rely on us if you’re a marine trader and wish to ship your goods anywhere in the Mediterranean, Black, Adriatic, Baltic, or Ageian seas. Thanks to our extensive expertise, which dates back to 1982, we at MN Shipping have a thorough understanding of the sector and are able to predict the needs of your company. Our team of highly qualified engineers and crew members constantly aims to provide top-notch naval transportation and maritime services because they have a firm understanding of the many facets of chartering, including working closely with port authorities, freight rates, cargo-moving contracts, and custom documentation. Above all, we provide you with services that are reasonable, dependable, and on time.

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