Industry focus: Transport in Belgium
Spread across the Antwerp and Brussels offices, ASTREA BV CVBA's transport and logistics team is noted for its 'creative, all-angles approach' to matters in the maritime sector. Led by commercial specialist Marc Van Looveren, the practice handles advisory and disputes cases involving cargo damage, collisions, leasing and the seizure of ocean-going vessels. Louis Verstraeten and associate Ruud De Houwer focus on dry and wet shipping matters, respectively, while the 'pragmatic and accurate' Van Looveren focuses on logistics and ship arrests. All named individuals are based in Antwerp.
Marc Van Looveren
Other key lawyers:
Louis Verstraeten; Ruud De Houwer
‘A creative, all-angles approach.’
‘Accurate and speedy responses, a hardworking team.’
‘Marc Van Looveren has a very user-friendly approach, and is pragmatic and accurate.’
Belgian Federal Government – Department of Transport and Mobility
Belgian Federal Government – Department of Health and Environment
Jansen Air & Ocea
- Assisting the Belgian federal government regarding the “Basel Express”, which has been detained in the Port of Antwerp since March 2019 as a result of numerous non-compliances with international and European laws.
- Assisting the Piraeus branch of HFW following the collision between the “Sakizaya Kalon” and the “Panamax Alexander” in the Suez Canal.
- Advising Limpens, the owner of a Dutch road transport company, on receiving payment from a major player in the field of PET bottles based in the United Arab Emirates and its Belgian subsidiary.
Fransen Luyten specialises in ship financing and arrests, salvage and collision matters, cargo damage issues, and advice on road transport and air and rail carriage. Practice head and disputes specialist Wim Fransen is frequently instructed on insurance-related maritime mandates, while Tom Luyten has significant experience in marine casualty work and international contract negotiations. Vincent Fransen handles inland shipping law cases, along with the finance operations of leading Belgian and foreign vessel owners.
Other key lawyers:
Tom Luyten; Vincent Fransen
Kegels & Co Advocaten's 'flexible and reachable' maritime law, international trade and transport department handles litigation and transactional matters, predominantly relating to various shipping and port issues. Name partner André Kegels is regarded as 'one of the best, if not the best, Belgian lawyers' in this sector; he leads the practice alongside Tony Kegels and Dirk Noels, who is also commended for his 'very commercial and solution-oriented approach' to marine disputes. Clients typically include insurers, charter parties, ship owners, port authorities and logistics operators.
Tony Kegels; André Kegels; Dirk Noels
‘The team is well led by André Kegels, so that it makes little difference with whom you work.’
‘André Kegels must be one of the best, if not the best, Belgian lawyers in the shipping and transport sector. He is very knowledgeable, hands-on, responsive, and keeps on at it until the result is achieved. Highly recommended.’
‘Unique knowledge of maritime law in Belgium, very responsive and particularly strong on the customs and litigation side.’
‘Dirk Noels has a wealth of experience in maritime law, customs law and insurance matters. He has a very commercial and solution-oriented approach.’
‘The team led by André Kegels is very responsive and conscious of the very tight timelines and deadlines which are common in marine litigation.‘
‘I find André Kegels to be totally in tune with what is required. His experience is hugely important in giving clients objective advice and key to being able to do exactly what is required.’
‘André Kegels is outstanding in terms of legal and social skills. One simply loves to be in touch with him, professionally. He is an excellent ambassador for his home city of Antwerp and the whole of the country.‘
‘Always prepared, ready to deal with last-minutes issues and able to cover a broad set of disciplines, not only liability. Customs law is a very specific part of the logistical chain with huge consequences, and in this field Kegels & Co is the top firm!’
Antwerp-based Roosendaal Keyzer has forged a strong reputation among clients from the shipping sector for handling both contentious and non-contentious matters. Practice co-heads Frank Roosendaal and Luc Keyzer handle both wet and dry shipping matters, ranging from commercial disputes and cargo or collision claims to insurance issues, warehousing and logistics advice. The team also has collective expertise in CMR notes, as well as the carriage of goods by rail and air.
Frank Roosendaal; Luc Keyzer
Allen & Overy LLP
At Allen & Overy LLP, the multi-disciplinary infrastructure and transport practice handles banking and finance, corporate and M&A, public law and tax-related matters for clients in the aviation, shipping, rail and road sectors. Recent work includes disputes concerning airport contracts, antitrust damages and liability claims, maritime project and asset financing, and general regulatory assistance. Werner Eyskens and Filip Tanghe co-head the team; Eyskens is a specialist litigator and Tanghe often advises on the financing of PPP projects.
Werner Eyskens; Filip Tanghe
Ambos leverages its multi-disciplinary expertise to advise transport clients on administrative, labour, environmental, company and corporate law matters. Antwerp-based practice head Ingrid Van Clemen leads the shipping team, with particular expertise in maritime litigation, while Ghent-based practice head Peter Van de Vijver specialises in general transport law and port-related activities. Other strengths include contract drafting and advisory work in the logistics sector. In a recent highlight, Van de Vijver represented clothing retailer JBC in court proceedings over an electronic platform for product returns.
Ingrid Van Clemen; Peter Van de Vijver
‘Ingrid van Clemen is a very emphatic and professional specialist.’
‘Quick responses, availability of senior lawyers, wide range of knowledge on different transport modes, reasonable fees and usually back-up available on any case.’
‘Ingrid Van Clemen always gives a realistic assessment of the chances of success in procedures and takes into account client input much more than any other solicitor I have worked with.’
Port Authority Ghent
Compagnie Belge de Manutention
Belgian P & I
MSC PSA Terminal
DP World Antwerp
Ministry of Transport
Ministry of Health
Sea tank Terminal
Belgian New Fruit Wharf
Flemish Pilot Autority
- Advising Grimaldi Lines on dangerous byloads in roro cargo.
- Advising Umicore on its negotiations with Maersk Line over a new contract of carriage for the carriage of waste.
- Representing the Ministry of Transport of Belgium in several proceedings with regard to criminal or administrative fines for infringements of nautical regulations.
As a transport, logistics and maritime boutique, Leeward specialises in liability and risk issues relating to the movement of goods, as well as handling real estate transactions, transport company mergers and port-related matters. The practice, led jointly by Lino Verbeke, Jeroen Villé and Armin Wintein, is noted for its ‘good mix of experienced counsels and younger talent’, and counts public authorities such as the Federal Public Service for Mobility and Transport among its clients. Villé typically provides logistics-oriented advice, while Wintein often assists insurers and shipping companies with purchases and damages recovery claims.
Lino Verbeke; Jeroen Villé; Armin Wintein
‘Good mix of experienced counsels and younger talent all with a passion for transport and shipping. Well connected in the Flemish ports. Quick in responding. Elaborate advice but easy to understand because of their down-to-earth language.’
International Car Operators
Ghent Transport and Storage
Green Mobility Group
Federal Public Service for Mobility and Transport
- Advised P&O Ferries on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on charter agreements.
- Assisted shipping company UECC concerning the arrest of a vehicle-carrier vessel in the port of Antwerp.
- Representing the Federal Public Service for Mobility and Transport in various maritime cases before the Belgian courts.
Deloitte benefits from a multi-disciplinary transport and logistics practice group which also has experience in the port and harbour sector. It leverages Brussels-based Kathleen De hornois' public law experience to advise on implementing legislation, the setting up of regional mobility plans and infrastructure projects for the Flemish government. Antwerp-based duo Marc Van tieghem and Tim Baart also offer advice on corporate agreements, M&A and financial reorganisations.
Kathleen De hornois; Marc Van tieghem; Tim Baart
De Vlaamse Waterweg (previously Waterwegen en Zeekanaal and De Scheepvaart)
Vlaamse overheid – Departement Mobiliteit en Openbare Werken (Department of Mobility and Public Works)
Agentschap voor Maritieme Dienstverlening en Kust (Flemish Agency for Maritime and Coastal Services)
At DLA Piper, the cross-departmental infrastructure, construction and transport group is active in the aviation, rail and shipping sectors, typically advising on EU legislation, public procurement and new development projects. Regulatory expert Bob Martens co-heads the team alongside finance and restructuring specialist Ilse Van de Mierop; both also handle contentious matters and count ground handlers, logistics providers, contractor consortiums and domestic operators among their clients.
Bob Martens; Ilse Van de Mierop
Bird Rides Inc./LMTS Belgium SRL
BD myShopi/BD Smart Logistics
Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens Group (RATP Group)
Sabena (in bankruptcy)
Sabena Aerospace Engineering
Skeyes (formerly Belgocontrol)
THV via T Albert Bouw 2 (a bidding consortium composed of Franki Construct SA, Hye NV, Aelterman BVBA and Willemen Construct NV)
Transuniverse Group NV
- Assisting Skeyes (formerly Belgocontrol), the entity in charge of air traffic control in Belgian airspace, in relation to staffing issues and social conflicts which caused disruptions to the continuity of air traffic control services in 2019.
- Assisting the largest contractors’ consortium in Belgium with a bid for the €3.6bn Oosterweel Link project.
- Advised Jump, an Uber affiliate providing on-demand use of electronic bikes and scooters, on the steps and formalities required to start activities in Belgium.
Kennedys handles both contentious and non-contentious matters in the transport sector, ranging from cargo and freight liability claims and contracts advice to subrogated recoveries and risk management issues. The team continues to benefit from the firm's insurance sector specialism, with referrals from global insurers including AXA and AIG. Practice head Dimitri de Bournonville advises on EU regulatory issues, disputes and commercial transactions for aviation clients including Ryanair, Finnair and Etihad Airways, as well as aircraft lessors and new industry investors.
Dimitri de Bournonville
Ace Belgian Freighters
Air Transport Services Group
ASL Airlines Belgium
ASL Aviation Group
CAL Cargo Airlines
Charles Taylor Adjusting
Fedex / TNT Express
LOT Polish Airlines
Macquarie Air Finance
Shannon Engine Support
Swiss International Airlines
- Advising Atkins on reporting to the European Investment Bank regarding projects on urban air mobility and the applicable regulatory framework in general.
- Representing Silversea and its subsidiaries and insurers in a personal injury matter.
- Representing Dantec and its insurer in a dispute before the Antwerp courts over the alleged non-compliance of hoses delivered to Noord Natie Terminals.
The Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick transport and aviation practice is praised for its 'to-the-point advice' on disputes, advisory and transactional matters. Counsel Jean Pierre Kesteloot leads the team and advises clients across the transport sector on marine charters, road carriage issues and insurance claims. Throughout 2020, the team also advised airlines, customers and logistics handlers on the various practical and financial implications of the Covid-19 pandemic. Contracts specialist Olivier Vanden Berghe is another key name.
Jean Pierre Kesteloot
Other key lawyers:
Olivier Vanden Berghe
‘To-the-point advice, which enables the client to take optimal decisions.’
‘Imaginative thinking in innovation projects linked to the industry.’
‘Very reactive, to-the-point and practical answers.’
Iberia Lineas Aereas de Espana
BCA Europe Transport Solutions
- Assisting Iberia in the context of numerous passenger claims regarding compensation and assistance in the event of denied boarding and the cancellation or long delay of flights.
- Advising Brussels Airlines in relation to the reimbursement of cancelled package holidays following the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Assisting the National Railway Company of Belgium in relation to remote document signatures.
Lydian's port and logistics department comprises corporate, commercial, insurance and real estate experts, meaning it is well equipped to advise on logistics outsourcings, transport-related accidents and associated damages cases, alongside new infrastructure projects and developments. Yves Lenders heads the practice – which counts Lineas Group as its foremost client – with notable experience in litigation and contracts accompanying his general focus on the railway sector.
Transport & Logistiek Advocaten
Boutique firm Transport & Logistiek Advocaten 'lives and breathes transport law like no other', to the benefit of clients including insurance companies and brokers, logistics service providers, warehouses and shippers. Founding partner Frederik Vanden Bogaerde is considered 'a legal polymath for everything related to this sector', with his expertise most evident in unfair competition claims and cargo disputes. Mathias Dendievel is another name of note, while Vincent Van der Mast handles all freight invoice recovery and tax-related cases.
Frederik Vanden Bogaerde; Vincent Van der Mast; Mathias Dendievel
‘TLA is an excellent niche law office for the transport sector in Belgium. It combines knowledge about specific transportation-related legislation with knowledge about the aspects of other legal disciplines that are relevant for this sector (such as labour law).‘
‘One can rely on TLA for no-nonsense advice. With in-depth knowledge about the transport market, TLA proves to be a solid interlocutor.‘
‘International network, specialised in transport and related issues, 24/7 accessibility. In comparison to other law firms, it is proactive and has up-to-date information in the case of new legislation which, if necessary, is commented on with their vision, concerns and tips for application in our company.‘
‘Frederik Vanden Bogaerde and his team are highly specialised in transport-related legal issues. Just like ourselves, they think in solutions, not in problems. They live and breathe transport law like no other firm.‘
‘Besides his evident expertise, I appreciate the reachability and speed of service of Frederik Vanden Bogaerde, as well as the way in which we can brainstorm about feasible scenarios for implementation.‘
‘Frederik Vanden Bogaerde is a legal polymath for everything related to this sector.‘
‘Mathias Dendievel stands out for his willingness to accept and discuss (legal) input from his client, and is not stubborn like other lawyers. Frederik Vanden Bogaerde supervises all files in the background, which gives great comfort to the client. We can always count on clear and straightforward legal advice from them.‘
Clients appreciate Norton Rose Fulbright's 'pragmatic approach to solving issues'. The team leverages the firm-wide competition expertise to assist clients in the transport sector, specifically the aviation, rail and shipping industries, as well as advising on public procurement, regulatory matters, damages procedures and M&A issues. Practice head Jay Modrall and Michael Jürgen Werner are particularly active in merger reviews and infrastructure developments.
Other key lawyers:
Michael Jürgen Werner
‘The team are very experienced in European matters and very well connected in Brussels. They have a pragmatic approach to solving issues.’
Imperial International Holdings
Imperial Logistics International
CTC Canadian Tire Corporation
German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure
- Assisting Imperial Logistics International with the sale of its inland waterway shipping business to Häfen und Güterverkehr Köln AG (HGK), the operator of the Port of Cologne, Germany.
- Advising and representing Imperial International Holding in follow-on damages litigation against several members of the so-called truck cartel, one of the largest follow-on damages actions in the aftermath of an EU Commission cartel decision,
- Advising the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure on regulatory issues relating to three major infrastructure projects (the A1, A3 and B247).
Reed Smith opened a new Brussels office in January 2020, with a transport practice that advises clients across the aviation, logistics and shipping sectors on EU law and competition matters. Joint practice heads Christian Filippitsch, Geert Goeteyn and Isabelle Rahman are the key contacts.
Christian Filippitsch; Geert Goeteyn; Isabelle Rahman