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Chartering is the part of international shipping business which broadly deals with the proper matching of cargoes’ transport needs and vessels’ commercial trading. Thus, this chapter starts by presenting in short a few basic definitions in respect of chartering, considered as a prerequisite knowledge to help reading throughout this book. Focus is then turned to the fundamentals of chartering; namely the vessels, the cargoes, the geography and the types of charter, showing how they are placed in the international transport scene to form crucial charter market segments. In respect of the cargoes, emphasis is given on cargo groups schemed according to their physical attributes, handling requirements, types of transport, loading factors etc. Concerning the vessels, analysis examines the various types and sub-segments structured, according to their size and characteristics, cargoes carried, commercial trades and market elements seen from a chartering viewpoint. The last but no less important aspect of charter market analysis concerns the financial element, namely the freight rates which are presented in the subsequent chapter.
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