In the course of day to day business you would have come across the terminology Tramp service or Tramper or Tramp vessel and also the terminology Liner Service..
Are they the same or is there a difference between a liner and tramp service..??
Liner Service – is a service that operates within a schedule and has a fixed port rotation with published dates of calls at the advertised ports..
A liner service generally fulfills the schedule unless in cases where a call at one of the ports has been unduly delayed due to natural or man-mad causes..
Example : The UK/NWC continent service of MSC which has a fixed weekly schedule calling the South African ports of Durban, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth and carrying cargo to the UK/NWC ports of Felixstowe, Antwerp, Hamburg, Le Havre and Rotterdam..
A Tramp Service or tramper on the other hand is a ship that has no fixed routing, itinerary or schedule and is available at short notice (or fixture) to load any cargo from any port to any port..
Example : A ship that arrives at Durban from Korea to discharge cargo might carry some other cargo from Durban to Oakland which is on the West Coast of USA which is in an entirely different direction from which the ship came from..
From Oakland say for example it could carry some cargo and go to Bremerhaven..
One of the main differences between Liner and Tramp would be in the type of contract of carriage and Bill of Lading used..
In the case of a Liner, generally the shipping line operating the liner service will have their own pre-printed bill of lading or use a BIMCO CONLINEBILL 2000, whereas in the case of a Tramp service (which may be covered by a Charter Party), a bill of lading like the BIMCO CONGENBILL 2007 will be used depending on the cargo, charter party etc..