Our market-leading transportation and shipping arbitration lawyers have decades of experience handling a wide variety of complex, cross-border transportation disputes in jurisdictions around the world. Described as an "excellent and extremely professional firm, as well as a consistent leader in the market" (Chambers), we are ranked Band 1 in Shipping by both Chambers and The Legal 500.
Clients comment that as a practice we are “impressively commercial, astutely knowledgeable and work seamlessly as a team.” (Chambers). Our top-ranked maritime practice includes a number of lawyers who are also individually ranked in the top tier in The Legal 500 and Chambers in their respective jurisdictions.
From its roots in shipping, our pre-eminent practice has expanded to cover disputes across the transportation sector globally, including offshore, infrastructure and aviation disputes. This expansion has been driven by a combination of growth in our team and capabilities, harnessing the firm’s energy and natural resources experience – for example, through our work on mine, rail and terminal projects – and acting as trusted adviser to a growing client base that includes many of the world’s leading operators, producers and suppliers.
International arbitration cases in the transportation sector are very often dealt with by specific and specialist arbitration institutions, which have developed a body of specialist arbitrators, experts and counsel. Clients involved in these arbitrations need lawyers who work with these institutions day in, day out, and who know their practices and procedures, to navigate potential pitfalls, including potential challenges specific to the sector.
Our lawyers represent clients in arbitrations conducted under the rules of all the leading maritime arbitration institutions, including the London Maritime Arbitrators Association (LMAA), and other leading arbitration institutions, such as the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). After London, the next most popular forum for arbitrating maritime and transportation disputes is Singapore (under the rules of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) and the Singapore Chamber of Maritime Arbitration (SCMA), as well as ad hoc arbitrations). Other popular forums include Hong Kong (under the rules of the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC) and the Hong Kong Maritime Arbitration Group (HKMAG)), Paris (under the ICC rules) and New York (under the rules of the American Arbitration Association/International Centre for Dispute Resolution (AAA/ICDR) and the Society of Maritime Arbitrators (SMA)). We have extensive experience in arbitrations brought under the rules of all of these institutions, in addition to offices in each of these locations, enabling us to provide on-the-ground assistance.
Our strength in the commodities and shipping sectors means we also have strong experience in arbitrations under the rules of other industry-specific arbitration institutions, including:
- Lloyd’s Salvage Arbitration Branch
- The Emirates Maritime Arbitration Centre (EMAC)
- The Grain and Feed Trade Association (GAFTA)
- The Federation of Oils, Seeds and Fats Associations (FOSFA)
- The London Metal Exchange (LME)
A number of our lawyers are members of these bodies and are appointed to act as arbitrators in claims brought under their rules.
In addition to maritime and aviation disputes, our transportation arbitration practice covers issues arising out of rail, port and terminal projects and operation. We have advised on a wide range of commercial issues for terminals and ports across the world, including disputes surrounding project management contracts, design and construction, development, management and operation contracts. We also have strong experience of disputes involving the rail industry, representing both operating companies and regulators in rail arbitration and other industry-specific dispute resolution procedures, and advising on claims arising out of major infrastructure projects and general commercial matters.
Transportation sector disputes are often cross-border. As a global practice with international arbitration lawyers focused on the transportation industry in all of the leading arbitration forums, we are strongly placed to deal with issues as they arise, including the most complex jurisdictional issues, for example, forum challenges. While an arbitration might have been commenced in one jurisdiction, there are frequently parallel court proceedings in multiple jurisdictions, requiring experienced legal and strategic advice. We recently acted for a client in a significant and widely reported fraud case involving arbitration in London, additional court proceedings in London seeking to stay court proceedings in Singapore, and parallel court proceedings in both China and the United States.
Consistently ranked in Band 1 for Shipping by both Chambers UK and The Legal 500 UK, recent feedback on our practice includes the following:
- “Legal and pragmatic advice.” The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2020 – Singapore Shipping
- “We are very impressed with Reed Smith. They are impressively commercial, astutely knowledgeable and work seamlessly as a team.” Chambers UK 2020 – Shipping
- “Their advice has been timely and did not just consider the legal aspects but also commercial and strategic aspects.” Chambers UK 2020 – Shipping
- “Excellent and extremely professional firm, as well as a consistent leader in the market.” Chambers UK 2019 – Shipping
Our clients include shipowners and operators, trading houses, offshore contractors, energy and mining companies, banks, P&I/FD&D associations, hull and cargo underwriters, brokers and other institutions involved in the marine transport, commodities, offshore, natural resources, aviation and insurance industries.