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Difference between Slot charterer and NVOCC Operator

What is the Difference between Slot charterer and NVOCC Operator..??

This was one of the interesting questions one of the readers of this blog asked me..

NVOCC Operator = Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier

  • The NVOCC can and sometimes do own and operate their own or leased containers
  • In certain countries like USA, the NVOCC operators are required to file their tariffs with the government regulatory bodies and create a public tariff..
  • NVOCC is in certain areas accorded the status of a virtual “carrier” and in certain cases accepts all liabilities of a carrier

Slot Charterer = while an NVOCC may or may not have their own containers, a Slot Charterer almost always is an actual shipping line who belong to a consortium or service but may not be operating a vessel on that service.. Instead, the shipping line chooses to buy certain amount of “slots” (space on board a ship) from the principal vessel operators on every vessel.. These “slots” may or may not be fixed for a voyage or for the duration of the consortium.. Example : Hapag Lloyd who is currently No.5 in the world as per the list of Top 100 shipping lines as per Alphaliner, is a slot charterer on the MSC Service to and from South Africa/Europe.. Even though Hapag Lloyd has many of their own ships and services, on this trade, they choose to operate as a slot charterer.. Similarly there are many shipping lines that charter (or hire) space or slots on a service where they don’t operate vessels..

The slot charterer functions as an independent shipping line and use their own equipment and bill of lading and has their own account with the port and the port invoices them directly for their charges.. They have no obligation to share commercial information with the vessel operator..

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Hariesh Manaadiar
Hariesh Manaadiarhttps://www.shippingandfreightresource.com
I am Hariesh Manaadiar, the Founder of Shipping and Freight Resource.. I have been in the dynamic shipping and freight industry for over three decades and have worked in several sectors.. I share my experiences and knowledge of the industry through this blog for those looking for help in the industry.. Stay subscribed for more free useful content about shipping, freight, maritime, logistics, supply chain and trade..


  1. Good evening fron Venezuela: very interesting blog, congratulations Hariesh.A question: slot charterers can be liable for some operating fault of the vessel at time of discharge in port ie crane failure? This is a case where the slot charterers ship was not allowed to discharge in a port for not having crane certified.The ship was diverted until the get the certificate. Any liabilitie to the SC?

    • Hi Gustavo, not sure what you mean by “slot charterers ship” because a slot charterer takes up some “slots” on the ship and not the full ship as that would then make them the ship operator.. Nevertheless, if a ship is prevented from discharge at a port due to any reason, all cargo on that ship will be affected, whether it is the main operator or slot operator..

  2. Dear Hariesh,

    First of all thanks a lot for your blog. It gives us immense knowledge about shipping. Keep up the good work my friend.

    • Hassan, no.. It is not done that way.. Slot charterers are usually shipping lines already operating in several routes and will have their own containers either on the same route that they want slots or other routes.. Lines that offer slot purchase will offer it only to reputed shipping lines and not just anyone..


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