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Contract of Affreightment

A contract of affreightment, or COA, relates to the carriage of specific quantities of cargo with multiple voyages over the same route and over a specific period of time which usually spans a number of years. A COA does not designate the specific vessels or voyage schedules that will transport the cargo, thereby providing both the charterer and ship owner greater operating flexibility than with voyage charters alone. The charterer has the flexibility to determine the individual voyage scheduling at a future date while the ship owner may use different ships to perform these individual voyages. As a result, COAs are mostly entered into by large fleet operators such as pools or ship owners with large fleets of the same vessel type. All of the ship’s operating, voyage and capital costs are borne by the ship owner while the freight rate normally is agreed on a per cargo ton basis.