• As a liner, either in a passenger trade or a cargo trade, a ship is operated on one or more fixed routes, with advertised, scheduled sailings.

• True passenger liners operating on ocean services were mostly displaced in the 1960s by jet airliners. Today, very few long-haul passenger liners remain, and most passenger ships now operate as cruise ships.

• A liner cargo vessel will accept any suitable cargo if space permits. Most liners are container ships, RO/RO or multi-purpose (RO-RO/LO-LO) vessels.

• The ship’s operator may be the owners or bareboat charterers or time charterers (in which case they may be referred to in chartering documents as “despondent owners” or “time-chartered owners”).

• A liner vessel’s operator is normally the “performing carrier” . The carrier’s customers are shippers, who may include freight forwarders and non-vessel-operating carriers (NVOCs).

• A carrier may issue a booking note when a cargo booking is made, and will usually issue a bill of lading or a sea waybill, depending on the shipper’s requirements, as a form of receipt to the shipper of each consignment of goods, and as evidence of the contract of carriage. The carrier will usually employ liner agents and/or loading brokers in order to canvass for and book his cargoes. The carrier may be a member of a liner conference, consortium, alliance or similar arrangement, or may be a non-conference operator.

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