Mooring men standing near a docked ship and tug at sunset/sunrise

An introduction to the BIMCO Holiday Calendar

Published: 10 March 2022

Holidays play a fundamental part in shipping. Not only are holidays instrumental in determining if overtime rates have to be paid to stevedores or other port services, but in many charter parties, holidays are excepted from laytime. As such, charterers and owners will have opposing interests related to holidays, but both parties may be located far from the ports and countries of the port call.

What are holidays?

The concept of “a holiday” derives from religious contexts. The word originates from old English – hãligdæg: a holy day. Today, the word is widely used in both its original and  other contexts:

• I'm going on holiday during the school summer holidays
• I won’t be working during the holidays

There is not a common definition of what a holiday is and what a holiday is not. Despite the lack of a clear definition, it is not uncommon for "holidays" to be excepted from laytime under a charter party. To provide clarity, many fascinating terms are used for clarification such as

  • Super holidays
  • General holidays
  • Statutory holidays

    What is BIMCO’s definition of a holiday?

    BIMCO’s definition of a holiday is derived from a 1979 London Arbitration Award: “A holiday, by law and accepted practice, is a day which the competent authority has declared or decreed to be a holiday. It is irrelevant whether work is or is not performed on such holiday, or whether work is charged at normal or overtime rates [...] What matters and the only point which matters is whether the competent authority has declared the day in question to be a holiday”.

    The case in question involved a port call in the Lebanese port of Beirut during which work was cut short and charterer claimed the following days to be considered holidays. It’s important to note that the following two criteria must be met for a holiday to have an impact on laytime. 
  • The day must have been declared as a holiday
  • The declaration must have been made by a competent authority

    A common holiday pitfall

    Days of rest, non-working days or days with special working arrangements may often be perceived as holidays by both stevedores, ships’ crews and local agents. According to BIMCO’s definition, these circumstances are not themselves sufficient for a day to be designated a holiday.

    However, interruptions to cargo operations are frequently inserted in the Statement of Facts (SOF). It is worth noting that even though the SOF contains entries on “Holidays”, it does necessarily mean such days have been declared by a competent authority.

    Our advice to members

    BIMCO collects, assesses, and distributes information related to holidays to members and non-members both in the printed BIMCO Holiday Calendar, as distributed by Witherby Publishing Group and digitally in different formats. While BIMCO members may access BIMCO Holidays online on the BIMCO website by looking up countries, regions or ports in the BIMCO port database (Members only), integrate the information into their own systems using the BIMCO Data Exchange Platform or access them through connected platforms, the most valuable holiday service to members is the direct access to the secretariat using We are always available to help should you have disputes with your counterpart or need any advice related to holidays.

Johan Conrad


Johan Conrad

Manager, Maritime Information

Copenhagen, Denmark