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Transport, Shipping & Logistics

Advising public and private sector clients on all aspects of the transport industry, specialising in shipping, road, rail and logistics.

Transport, Shipping & Logistics

Our team works closely with businesses in the shipping, logistics, road transport, rail, commodities and offshore sectors, or for whom transport plays a key component in their business, specialising in providing commercial advice, regulatory compliance assistance and resolving disputes. Working with teams across the firm, we provide industry-specific assistance in relation to all areas of in corporate and commercial law, regulatory, finance, dispute resolution and litigation, real estate, construction, planning and environment and workplace relations and safety.

Expertise

Transport infrastructure

  • airports
  • rail
  • road

ports and terminal operators

We are experienced in assisting port and terminal operators in relation to their commercial and regulatory needs.

Port and terminal operators occupy a unique position within the transport chain, straddling the interface between seaside and landside logistics. As a result, operators are exposed to dual commercial and regulatory regimes, each with their own particular focus. Port and terminal operators work in a challenging commercial and legal environment, having to coordinate the integration of sea, road and rail transport, whilst simultaneously catering to commercial and cruise shipping interests and managing the involvement of towage companies and ancillary marine service providers. 

As a result, port and terminal operators operate in one of the most complex and dynamic maritime environments. The need to successfully manage a large and varied number of stakeholders make robust commercial structures and maritime governance practices key.

Legal Expertise

We are experienced in assisting port and terminal operators in relation to their commercial and regulatory needs, including in relation to:

  • Drafting port user terms of service
  • Risk allocation agreements for supply chain participants
  • Negotiating and drafting terminal services agreements
  • Recovering wharf and terminal storage charges, including the registration and enforcement of liens and security interests under the Personal Property Securities Act (2009) (Cth) (PPSA)
  • Handling liability claims for port/terminal closure, strikes and delays
  • Handling recovery actions for damage and destruction of port infrastructure and machinery
  • Coordinating investigations into maritime incidents and preparing risk management strategies in response
  • Advising on aspects of port risk management and maritime governance
  • Development and implementation of chain of responsibility compliance programs
  • Employment, industrial relations and workplace health and safety, including safety investigations and prosecutions.

Relevant Experience

  • Advising the largest NSW bulk shipping port in relation to its vessel arrival system, vessel queuing and entry arrangements
  • Handling negotiations between salvors, port authorities and terminal operators in relation to entry and security requirements for vessels in distress
  • Advising the largest national terminal operator in relation to issues of port risk management, regulatory requirements and maritime governance
  • Acting for a leading national port and bulk logistics provider in relation to drafting standard terms and conditions
  • Conducting incident investigation and making risk management recommendations in relation to berth breakaway incident in high winds
  • Acting in property damage claims for damage to maritime assets.

Shipping

ship owners, operations and financiers

We act for international and domestic ship owners, operators and their P&I and Hull & Machinery insurers in relation to all aspects of commercial ship acquisition and disposal, operation, liability and regulation. We act for industry participants in the liner, bulk and project cargo trades, offshore operations and supply, towage/salvage and cruise sectors.

Our lawyers sit on the peak Australian industry advisory legal steering panel for ship owners and operators trading to and from Australia and are members of and chair a number of other industry organisations, as a result of which we are familiar with the commercial drivers and regulatory challenges affecting the industry.

Legal Expertise

We provide commercial, timely and cost-effective advice to ship owners and operators in relation to:

  • sale and purchase of vessels
  • ship registration and registration of security interests under the Personal Property Securities Act (2009) (Cth) (PPSA)
  • ship building, repair and financing
  • chartering, contracts of affreightment and claims for breach, demurrage and hire
  • bill of lading and commercial documentation
  • carriage of goods and cargo claims for loss, damage and delay
  • freight and debt recovery
  • agency, ship management, terminal services and stevedoring
  • shipping pools, vessel sharing, joint ventures, consortia, conferences and competition
  • regulatory matters
  • coastal trading
  • employment, workplace relations, work health and safety and immigration
  • collision, marine pollution, salvage and wreck removal
  • vessel scrapping
  • enforcement of securities.

In relation to disputes, we act in Federal and Supreme Court litigation (including Admiralty claims and arrest matters) as well as domestic and international arbitration and mediation. We work closely with clients to develop the most cost-effective strategy to ensure the successful resolution of disputes.

Relevant Experience

The experience of our partners and senior lawyers includes:

  • defending a claim for $38 million in the Federal Court in relation to alleged damage to a cargo of locomotives
  • acting for the joint venturer responsible for the removal of the wreck of the “West Atlas” drilling rig, including in relation to joint venture structuring, contract management of a suite of sub-contracts, offshore oil and gas safety case development
  • advising and negotiating with the Australian Government on behalf of the successful tenderer for Australia’s emergency oil spill response capability
  • representing owners and their P&I Club in relation to the death of three crew members on board a bulk cargo vessel
  • obtaining USD 70m default judgment against owners of the HAI SHI in favour of the mortgagee Bank and effecting the arrest and judicial sale of the vessel
  • priorities issues between creditors were resolved by agreement and the vessel sale effected within approximately 3 months of initial arrest
  • acting for a bank in a major refinancing transaction for Bermudan shipping and offshore facility operator in managing the Australian law and asset security aspects of USD 400m deal – a key aspect of the matter was consideration of and advice regarding the impact of the PPSA on the perfection and enforcement of security interests over Australian assets under Singapore-law governed securities documents, and the interaction of the PPSA and Admiralty law in regard to mortgages of ships
  • advising a vendor of an Australian-flagged vessel in relation to its obligations under the Basel Convention on disposal of waste
  • advising a major Danish ship-financier bank in relation to admiralty procedures in Australia.

marine insurance

We are experienced in advising and acting in relation to all aspects of marine insurance and reinsurance, including P&I, Hull & Machinery, FD&D, charterers’ liability, loss of hire, port and terminal liability, general professional liability and property as well as forwarder’s liability cover. Our team acts for the world’s leading P&I, FD&D and charterers’ liability insurers as well as ship owners, operators and charterers, freight forwarders and logistics providers, transport intermediaries, brokers and agents. We work closely with marine insurers and their insured in relation to the investigation, assessment and resolution of claims and pursuit of recoveries, whether through negotiation, mediation, legal proceedings across all Australian jurisdictions or domestic and international arbitration.

We are on-call 24 hours a day in relation to Admiralty and arrest matters to ensure that our client’s vessels are released and/or security is obtained for our client’s claims, with minimum disruption to commercial operations.

Legal Expertise

We act for marine insurers in relation to:

  • policy wording and drafting
  • marine insurance advice
  • general average
  • claims and claims management
  • subrogated recoveries.

Relevant Experience

The experience of our partners and senior lawyers includes:

  • defending a claim for $38 million in the Federal Court in relation to alleged damage to a cargo of locomotives
  • acting for reinsurers for hull policy in respect of a claim arising from the sinking of a dumb barge engaged in marine construction project work in Indonesia and involving consideration of warranties under Marine Insurance Act 1909 (Cth)
  • acting for insurers of a tug in respect of recovery claims against marine engineers/repairers after engine room fire caused by faulty line installation
  • acting for cargo insurers in relation to cargo claims arising from grounding of a bulk carrier, including issues of general average and salvage contribution
  • acting in claims for General Average contribution brought by ship owners in the Federal Court of Australia
  • advising major Australian marine insurer in relation to double insurance issues arising under a serious casualty
  • advising an insurer in relation to a major cargo damage claim concerning a shipment from Iran to Myanmar.

bulk shipping and chartering

We are experienced in assisting and advising on the international sale of goods and commodities shipments. We act for commodities traders, ship owners and charterers, brokers and financiers in relation to hard and soft commodities. In addition, we advise commodities consolidators and trade associations in relation to corporate, commercial and regulatory issues, including road transport chain of responsibility legislation.

Legal Expertise

We advise exporters, importers, owners and charterers in relation to:

  • contracting terms and conditions
  • import and export regulations and sanctions
  • charterparty and contract of affreightment drafting and interpretation
  • laytime and demurrage claims and disputes
  • drafting standard form contracts and templates
  • cargo and charterers liability insurance
  • carriage of goods and claims relating to damage, shortage, quality and delay
  • cross-jurisdictional dispute resolution and arbitration
  • hazardous cargos
  • agency, ship management, terminal services and stevedoring
  • port rules and protocols
  • rrade finance
  • port terminal, stevedoring and materials handling contracts and disputes.

In relation to disputes, we act in Federal and Supreme Court litigation (including Admiralty claims and arrest matters) as well as domestic and international arbitration and mediation. We work closely with clients to develop the most cost-effective strategy to ensure the successful resolution of disputes.

Relevant Experience

The experience of our partners and senior lawyers includes:

  • acting for an importer of fertiliser in relation to the quarantine rejection of the cargo to be imported into Australia, negotiating re-sale contracts into South-East Asia and pursuing the corresponding quality claim in Swedish arbitration proceedings
  • successfully recovering over USD 2 million in freight for the owners of a bulk vessel in relation to a long term contract of affreightment
  • advising a leading national stevedoring company in relation to Harbour Master and Port Manager regulation and responsibilities, risk management and maritime governance
  • acting for Charterers in LMAA arbitration in claim for demurrage due to defective ship’s cranes
  • drafting standard form Charterparty for a major Australian steel manufacturer
  • drafting standard form grain Charterparty for the peak industry bodies
  • acting for a major Australian food manufacturer in relation to delay claims affecting production. 

cruise shipping

The Australian cruise sector is growing at a rate of knots and cruise shipping operators in Australia are increasingly needing specialised expert advice to help them navigate the Australian maritime landscape. We advise cruise shipping operators in relation to all matters of commercial and maritime practice in Australia, from corporate registration to employment, regulation and maritime incidents. We understand the importance of reputation and brand management to the cruise shipping sector and assist our clients in relation to prevention and preparedness to help preserve these valuable assets in the face of a maritime incident.

Legal Expertise

We advise cruise shipping operators in relation to:

  • local registration
  • company and commercial matters
  • standard trading terms and ticket conditions
  • consumer protection and competition law
  • regulation, including coastal trading and deemed importation laws
  • employment, workplace relations and work health and safety
  • agency, ship management, terminal services and stevedoring
  • maritime incident response
  • Australian Customs regulation re ‘import’ of vessels
  • collision, marine pollution, salvage and wreck removal.

Relevant Experience

The experience of our partners and senior lawyers includes:

  • advising an international cruise shipping operator in relation to coastal trading regulations
  • advising on Australian marine pollution laws relevant to pollution incidents within State waters of Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland
  • acting for ship owners and operators in relation to pollution and maritime incident response and prosecution
  • advising in relation to advertising materials and consumer law compliance
  • acting for a cruise ship broker in a dispute referring to Dutch arbitration over termination of a charter of a speciality cruise vessel.

Ancillary services

  • workplace relations & safety
  • real estate & construction.

Rail

  • freight
  • public transport.

Logistics

freight forwarding and logistics

We are experienced in advising and acting for freight forwarders, logistics providers and multimodal transport operators. We understand the unique position occupied by this sector, as intermediaries in the transport chain, and the tensions faced in contracting between shipping lines and the owners of goods. We advise the freight forwarding and logistics sector in relation to all matters of commercial and logistics law and practice. On a commercial front, we advise and assist our clients in relation to contract negotiation and operations, to ensure the smooth integration of commercial operations along the supply chain.

Legal Expertise

We advise freight forwarders, logistics providers and multimodal transport operators in relation to:

  • corporate and commercial matters
  • container detention claims and exposure management strategies
  • the development of chain of responsibility compliance programs
  • standard trading terms and commercial documentation
  • services and project logistics agreements
  • warehousing and distribution
  • warehousing licensing regulations
  • carriage of goods and cargo claims for loss, theft, damage and delay
  • employment, workplace relations and work health and safety
  • freight and debt recovery
  • commercial leasing.

Relevant Experience

The experience of our partners and senior lawyers includes:

  • negotiating commercial leases across Australia for a leading international logistics provider
  • advising a national distributor of goods in relation to distribution and warehousing arrangements and contract negotiation
  • drafting standard trading terms for container detention/hire and conducting a commercial document audit for the incorporation of standard terms and conditions for an international logistics provider
  • drafting contract exceptions re RFP’s for project logistics including re Wind Farms in Tasmania, Victoria and New South Wales and re Ichthys LNG Project and Northern Territory
  • establishing full commercial documentation for new entrants to the international forwarding sector, including a bulk wine specialist forwarder
  • advising on Personal Property Securities impacts on forwarder’s lien and acting in disputes with Liquidators appointed for customer
  • drafting Services Agreements for volume customers.

commodities

We are experienced in assisting and advising on the international sale of goods, commodities shipments, domestic road and rail transport and terminal storage and warehousing. We act for commodities traders, ship owners and charterers, brokers and financiers in relation to hard and soft commodities. In addition, we advise national commodities consolidators and trade associations in relation to corporate, commercial and regulatory issues, including road transport chain of responsibility legislation.

Legal Expertise

We advise exporters, importers and charterers in relation to:

  • Contracting terms and conditions
  • Trade finance
  • Import and export regulations and sanctions
  • Charterparty and contract of affreightment drafting and interpretation
  • Laytime and demurrage claims and disputes
  • Drafting standard form contracts and templates
  • Cargo and charterers liability insurance
  • Carriage of goods and claims relating to damage, shortage, quality and delay
  • Port rules and protocols
  • Cross-jurisdictional dispute resolution and arbitration
  • Port terminal, stevedoring and materials handling contracts and disputes.

In relation to disputes, we act in Federal and Supreme Court litigation (including Admiralty claims and arrest matters) as well as domestic and international arbitration and mediation. We work closely with clients to develop the most cost-effective strategy to ensure the successful resolution of disputes.

Relevant Experience

The experience of our partners and senior lawyers includes:

  • Acting for an importer of fertiliser in relation to the quarantine rejection of the cargo to be imported into Australia, negotiating re-sale contracts into South-East Asia and pursuing the corresponding quality claim in Swedish arbitration proceedings
  • Successfully recovering over USD 2 million in freight for the owners of a bulk vessel in relation to a long term contract of affreightment
  • Acting for FOB seller of wheat cargo paid under Letter of Credit by Australian confirming bank in relation to Italian injunction proceedings issued by Buyer against Issuing Bank and Seller
  • Acting for Buyers of Australian coal re dispute over vessel nomination provisions.

Road


freight operators

We recognise the importance of road freight logistics to the safe and efficient transportation of goods around Australia and understand the heavy regulatory compliance obligations placed on road transport operators and related entities. We act for road transport and fleet operators and related entities in relation to all commercial, logistics and regulatory matters. Our clients include road transport operators, fleet operating manufacturing companies and commodities consolidators, national road distribution and warehousing providers and consignors/consignees of goods.

Legal Expertise

We advise road transport and fleet operators in relation to:

  • company and commercial matters
  • employment, workplace relations and work health and safety
  • fleet structuring, including owner-driver regulations
  • commercial documentation and standard trading terms
  • logistics contracts and services agreements
  • warehousing and distribution
  • carriage of goods and cargo claims for loss, theft, damage and delay
  • regulatory matters, including chain of responsibility legislation
  • employment, workplace relations and work health and safety
  • sale and purchase of business
  • commercial leasing
  • freight and debt recovery.

Relevant Experience

The experience of our partners and senior lawyers includes:

  • defending a claim for loss of goods stolen from a vehicle trailer
  • advising a national commodities consolidator in relation to fleet structuring and owner-driver regulations
  • advising a logistics provider on Independent Contractor terms for hauliers and NSW industrial regulations
  • drafting STC, Consignment Note and Credit Application documents for a heavy lift operator, with advice on Personal Property Securities Act and Chain of Responsibility compliance requirements and issues of commercial risk and insurance
  • acting for a heavy lift and transport operator in respect of claims arising from bucket wheel reclaimer boom damaged during road transit in Port Hedland, Western Australia.

chain of responsibility

We act for parties along the entire road transport chain of responsibility. We understand the heavy regulatory and safety compliance burden placed on road transport operators, consignees/consignors, importers/exporters, logistics providers and warehousing and distribution companies. We partner with our clients to develop proactive risk assessment and compliance policies and procedures, aimed at ensuring industry best practice and avoiding costly road transport accidents and prosecutions. When accidents do happen, we are experienced in defending chain of responsibility compliance and enforcement prosecutions.

Legal Expertise

We advise road transport and fleet operators and other parties in the chain of responsibility in relation to:

  • industry codes of practice
  • the development of chain of responsibility compliance programs
  • risk management
  • compliance and enforcement actions for over mass, over dimension, load restraint and fatigue management breaches
  • employment, workplace relations and work health and safety.

Relevant Experience

The experience of our partners and senior lawyers includes:

  • developing chain of responsibility compliance plans for a national manufacturer of goods and a national importer and distributor of timber flooring products
  • successfully defending a national grain handler in respect of more than 330 charges of alleged overloading, with potential penalties totalling over $18 million
  • acting for the consignor of goods in relation to a charge for alleged failure to restrain goods and in a Coronial Inquest into the fatality of an individual resulting from the tipping over of the vehicle carrying the goods
  • advising freight forwarders on compliance obligations and drafting commercial compliance provisions.

Experience

  • Ship owners — Defending ship owners in relation to a claim for AU$38 million in alleged damage to a cargo of passenger rail trains supplied to the NSW Government during return to China for refurbishment
  • Credit Suisse — Admiralty proceedings and ship arrest in respect of US$29M claim
  • Teekay Shipping — Representing Teekay in Federal Court proceedings against BHPB Freight, and BHP-Mitsubishi Alliance Joint Venture in relation to disputes arising under marine services and ship management agreements.

Recent Posts

26 March 2018 - Blog

Post-mortem of a shipping company – the Great Southern Shipping debacle

#Transport, Shipping & Logistics

At about the time of the worldwide phenomenon that was the Hanjin Shipping collapse, a much watched Australian shipping start-up encountered the same fate.The liquidation of the shipping company has b...

09 March 2018 - Blog

The six biggest Chain of Responsibility changes and how they affect your business

#Transport, Shipping & Logistics

Under the Heavy Vehicle National Law and Chain of Responsibility (CoR) rules, every party in the heavy vehicle supply chain is responsible and may be held liable for safety breaches committed anywhere...

05 March 2018 - Blog

Unclear terms lead to not-so-joint Joint Venture Agreement

#Transport, Shipping & Logistics

On 21 September 2017 judgment was delivered in the matter of Ozmen Entertainment Pty Ltd v Neptune Hospitality Pty Ltd [2017] FCA 1124, in which orders were made dismissing an interlocutory applicatio...