Terms & Glossaries of Shipping and Trading

ATC/ATUTC (Actual Time to Count/Actual Time Used To Count)

Actual Time to Count (ATC): Refers to the exact time when a specific event or operation, such as loading or unloading, begins.

Actual Time Used To Count (ATUTC): Indicates the actual duration spent on these operations, used to calculate laytime, demurrage, and despatch.

Understanding the Term "ATC/ATUTC (Actual Time to Count/Actual Time Used To Count)" in Shipping and Logistics

Definition of ATC/ATUTC

Actual Time to Count (ATC)
: Refers to the exact time at which a specific event or operation in the shipping process begins. This can include the start time of loading or unloading cargo, the commencement of a vessel's laytime, or the initiation of other significant operational activities.

Actual Time Used To Count (ATUTC): Indicates the actual time duration that is considered for calculating operational activities, such as laytime or demurrage. It represents the precise period utilized for cargo handling, including the total time spent on loading or unloading a vessel.

Application of ATC/ATUTC

ATC and ATUTC are applied in various contexts within the shipping and logistics industry:

1. Cargo Operations: Used to record the exact start time and duration of cargo loading and unloading processes.

2. Laytime Calculation: Essential for determining laytime, which is the time allowed for loading and unloading without incurring additional charges.

3. Demurrage and Despatch Calculation: Helps in calculating demurrage (charges for exceeding laytime) and despatch (rewards for completing operations earlier than scheduled).

4. Contractual Agreements: Included in shipping contracts to define the timeframes for various operational activities and their financial implications.

Significance of ATC/ATUTC

The significance of ATC/ATUTC in shipping and logistics includes:

1. Accurate Time Tracking: Provides precise tracking of time for operational activities, ensuring accuracy in time-related calculations.

2. Cost Management: Helps in managing costs related to laytime, demurrage, and despatch by providing accurate time records.

3. Operational Efficiency: Enhances operational efficiency by monitoring and optimizing the time used for cargo handling.

4. Dispute Resolution: Serves as a reliable reference in resolving disputes related to time and charges between shippers, carriers, and receivers.

Benefits of Using ATC/ATUTC

Implementing ATC and ATUTC tracking offers several benefits:

1. Transparency: Ensures transparency in recording and reporting the time used for various operations, fostering trust among stakeholders.

2. Efficiency: Promotes efficient use of time and resources by identifying and addressing delays in operations.

3. Cost Savings: Helps in avoiding unnecessary costs related to demurrage by optimizing laytime utilization.

4. Performance Monitoring: Facilitates performance monitoring and benchmarking by providing accurate time data for analysis.

Challenges Associated with ATC/ATUTC

Despite the benefits, there are challenges associated with tracking and managing ATC and ATUTC:

1. Data Accuracy: Ensuring the accuracy of recorded times can be challenging, especially with manual tracking methods.

2. Technological Integration: Requires integration of advanced time-tracking systems across the supply chain for consistency.

3. Real-Time Monitoring: Achieving real-time monitoring and updates can be complex and resource-intensive.

4. External Influences: External factors such as weather, port congestion, and equipment availability can impact the actual time used for operations.

Best Practices for Managing ATC/ATUTC

To effectively manage and utilize ATC and ATUTC, businesses can adopt the following best practices:

1. Automate Time Tracking: Use automated systems and technologies such as RFID, GPS, and digital timestamps to accurately track and record times.

2. Integrate Systems: Ensure seamless integration between various time-tracking and operational systems for consistent data flow.

3. Regular Audits: Conduct regular audits and reviews of time records to ensure accuracy and identify areas for improvement.

4. Training and Education: Provide training for staff on the importance of accurate time tracking and the use of relevant technologies.

5. Clear Documentation: Maintain clear and detailed documentation of time records and related calculations in all contracts and operational reports.


Actual Time to Count (ATC) and Actual Time Used To Count (ATUTC) are essential metrics in the shipping and logistics industry, providing accurate tracking and management of time used for various operational activities. By implementing best practices and leveraging advanced technologies, businesses can ensure precise time tracking, optimize operational efficiency, manage costs effectively, and enhance transparency and performance in their logistics operations. Understanding and properly utilizing ATC and ATUTC can lead to more reliable and efficient cargo handling and transportation processes, ultimately contributing to the overall success of the supply chain.