Ports & Shipping

Our Practice

Our team of lawyers brings together specialists in shipping and customs and trade who are able to advise in all sectors of the shipping industry. We provide legal services to shipowners, charterers, insurers, freight forwarders, ship agents and brokers, container operators, banks, governments, international corporations and financiers.

We are able to handle all types of shipping matters, ranging from the largest international commercial disputes and ship finance projects to the most routine freight and debt collections. Furthermore, our team has been involved in arbitrations under the rules of many leading trade associations, such as ICC, LMAA, HKIAC, CIETAC, CMAC, GAFTA and the Refined Sugar Association (RFA).



  • successfully defending Allana, Bombay's application to the High Court to reinstate a claim for an indemnity in respect of a cargo claim following a final arbitration award, principally on the grounds that the claim was time barred under s12 Arbitration Act 1996.

Contship Containerlines

  • acting on two actions: the first defending a £10m claim from the liquidator of Bremer Vulkan for alleged loans advanced in relation to the securing of charterparties for six new buildings; the second involving enforcement of a substantial foreign judgement against Blasco including contested proceedings to register the judgement in the UK, and an associated Mareva Injunction, the latter receiving press coverage.

His Highness Sheikh Sultan Bin Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahayan

  • advising on a contract for the construction and purchase of a luxury yacht.

Hong Kong-based pilots association

  • acting in connection with potential claim for negligent pilotage arising out of collision.

Lloyd's Register

  • advising on the enforcement of a Chinese court judgement regarding a ship arrest in Shanghai.

Major Indian trading company

  • contesting Hong Kong proceedings arising out of the supply of defective soya beans, including application to discharge mareva injunction, and resisting attempts to refer dispute to ICC arbitration.

Major UK shipyard

  • acting in a substantial ship repair dispute worth in excess of £18m.

Sezione Speciale Per L'Assicurazione del Credito All'Esportazione (SACE)

  • acting for SACE, an Italian State export credit insurer, regarding two trade related insurance disputes worth approximately £120m.

Singapore commodities trader

  • acting on various commodities and letter of credit disputes in Hong Kong, China, India, UK and elsewhere, including various contested arbitrations and litigation matters, especially in China.

Singapore insurer

  • acting for the Singapore insurer of a cargo of palm oil shipped on board a "phantom ship" and stolen.

South African steel producer

  • acting for the Hong Kong trading subsidiary of a major South African steel producer in relation to various disputes with other steel traders in countries including Hong Kong, China, Philippines and India.

UK based P&I club

  • acting in connection with various significant personal injury matters.

UK Ministry of Defence

  • advising on contractual and financing arrangements under PFI projects, including issues relating to seizure and arrest and registration of vessels.

Various P&I / FD&D clubs

  • acting to defend cargo claims, pursue indemnity claims, and conduct charterparty claims.

Specialist Expertise

We offer a full range of contentious and non-contentious services including:

  • ship management agreements
  • cargo claims, including cargo damage , misdelivery and shortlanding
  • international sales contracts, including CIF, C&F, FOB and warehouse-to-warehouse
  • oil trading and (in co-operation with our environmental law specialists) oil pollution
  • CMR and road transport
  • EU transport law as it affects the shipping and transport industries, with particular reference to liner conferences and consortia
  • marine insurance
  • personal injury
  • container leasing
  • the co-ordination of international action for the preservation or recovery of assets, including proceedings in rem
  • ship sale, purchase and leasing
  • innovative financing structures and securitisation
  • recovery of assets for banks and financial institutions
  • advice on alternative dispute resolution (ADR), including mediation and conciliation, as alternatives to litigation or arbitration
  • disputes under bills of lading, charterparties and contracts of affreightment.