A global framework for responsible ship chartering

The Sea Cargo Charter provides a framework for aligning chartering activities with responsible environmental behavior to promote international shipping’s decarbonization.


The Sea Cargo Charter is a global framework for assessing and disclosing the climate alignment of chartering activities. It establishes a common, global baseline to quantitatively assess and disclose whether chartering activities are in line with adopted climate goals. Thus, it also serves as an important tool to support responsible decision-making.

The Sea Cargo Charter is applicable to all bulk charterers as well as the disponent owners and all charterers in a charterparty chain. It must be applied by Signatories in bulk ship chartering activities that are:

  • on time and voyage charters, including contracts of affreightment and parceling, with a mechanism to allocate emissions from ballast voyages,
  • and for voyages carried out by dry bulk carriers, chemical tankers, oil (crude and product) tankers and liquified-gas carriers,
  • and where a vessel or vessels are of at least 5,000 gross tonnage and engaged in international trade.

The Sea Cargo Charter is consistent with the policies and ambitions of the International Maritime Organization, a UN agency responsible for regulating shipping globally, including its ambition for GHG emissions to peak as soon as possible and to reduce the total annual GHG emissions by at least 50% by 2050 compared to 2008.

The Sea Cargo Charter has been primarily developed for the traditional cargo owners. However, many shipowners, even though this is not their primary activity, also have significant chartering activities. The Sea Cargo Charter has been developed with this in mind and allows for such owners to become Signatories too.

Currently 24 charterers are Signatories to the Sea Cargo Charter. Signatories are bulk cargo owners from a variety of segments – grains & agricultural products, chemicals, energy, metals & mining -, commodity traders and shipowners who have an interest in advancing good environmental stewardship through their business activities. More charterers are expected to become Signatories in the near future.

Signatories commit to implementing the Sea Cargo Charter in their internal policies, procedures, and standards and to work in partnership with ship owners, disponent owners, and partners on an ongoing basis to implement the Sea Cargo Charter.

The Sea Cargo Charter is intended to evolve over time to include other issues where the collective influence of charterers can help improve the contribution the industry and its charterers can make to society.