What is Affreightment?

Legal Definition
Affreightment (from freight) is a legal term used in shipping.

A contract of affreightment is a contract between a ship-owner and another person (called the charterer), in which the ship-owner agrees to carry goods for the charterer in the ship, or to give the charterer the use of the whole or part of the ship's cargo-carrying space for the carriage of goods on a specified voyage or voyages or for a specified time. The charterer agrees to pay a specified price, called freight, for the carriage of the goods or the use of the ship.

A ship may be let, like a house, to a person who takes possession and control of it for a specified term. The person who hires a ship in this way occupies during the specified time the position of ship-owner. The contract under which a ship is so let may be called a charter-party—but it is not, properly speaking, a contract of affreightment, and is mentioned here only to clarify the distinction between a charter-party of this kind, which is sometimes called a demise of the ship, and a charter-party that is a contract of affreightment.
-- Wikipedia
Legal Definition
A contract of affreightment is a contract with a ship-owner to hire his ship or part of It, for the carriage of goods. Such a contract generally takes the form either of a charter-party or of a bill of lading. Maude & P. Mer. Shipp. 227; Smith, Mere, Law, 295; Bramble v. Culmer, 78 Fed. 501, 24 C. C. A. 182; Auten v. Bennett, 88 App. Div. 15, 84 N. Y. Supp. 689. In French law, freighting and affreighting are distinguished. The owner of a ship freights it, (le frete;) he is called the freighter, (freteur;) he is the letter or lessor, (loca-teur, locator.) The merchant affreights (af-frete) the ship, and is called the affreighter, (affreteur;) he is the hirer, (locataire, conductor.) Emerig. Tr. des Ass. c. 11, § 3.
-- Black's Law Dictionary
Legal Definition
A contract for the hiring of a vessel.
-- Ballentine's Law Dictionary