Next Generation Partners

Firms To Watch: Industry focus: Transport

The team at Eubelius has a robust offering in the PPP space, routinely receiving instructions from major corporate entities and public sector bodies alike.
Traditionally strong in maritime and rail transport matters, GDS Advocaten now handles a broad spectrum of aviation sector work, led by International Aviation Women’s Association co-founder Mia Wouters.
Quadrant Advocaten was established in January 2022. Founding partner Dirk Noels is the key name.

Industry focus: Transport in Belgium

ASTREA BV CVBA

ASTREA BV CVBA enjoys a stellar reputation on account of its strength in the maritime, road, and logistics sectors, representing an array of major Belgian and international shippers, shipping agents, stevedores, and public bodies in various high-profile disputes and advisory mandates. The group is particularly noted for its broad German-language capabilities, and wide-ranging expertise in shipping and logistics matters. Practice head Marc Van Looveren is widely praised by clients for his 'outstanding' expertise in maritime and arrest-related matters, representing domestic and international companies in high-stakes proceedings regarding at-sea collisions, cargo claims, and charter party disputes. Ruud De Houwer's broad maritime and transport focus encompasses salvage efforts, wreck removal, vessel arrest, and carrier's liability claims. All named lawyers are based in Antwerp.

Practice head(s):

Marc Van Looveren

Other key lawyers:

Ruud De Houwer

Testimonials

‘We have a long-lasting relationship with Astrea. The corporation is highly appreciated by us as it is a combination of legal expertise and pragmatic, commercial approach. This is what our clients in the maritime and transport business require.’

‘Marc van Looveren’s skills are outstanding.’

‘Astrea is very skilled in litigation cases pertaining to the application of administrative law (e.g. permit procedures) and the recovery of incident costs. Our experience is that their expertise covers marine issues at large (shipping, marine environment, etc.).’

‘Experience in maritime law is outstanding. Astrea has a large expertise in the matter so they can assist in many different cases. They are very easy to contact and always available, both digitally and in-person.’

‘Ruud De Houwer is an exceptionally good lawyer, with a great expertise in shipping matters. He can explain complicated matters in a simple way and is always two step ahead of the competition. We have a lot of confidence in him as a person and as a lawyer. Furthermore, he is always available when needed.’

‘This practice stands out since they they are actually working as a team. Whereas in other law offices you have only one contact person, with Astrea you have the service and flexibility of a team.’

‘Marc van Looveren is astute, precise, to the point, competent, commercial and aware of clients’ needs, experienced in other jurisdictions than Belgium. Speedy and very good value for money.’

Key clients

Skuld P&I

Standard Club P&I

Belgian Federal Government – Department of Transport and Mobility

Belgian Federal Government – Department of Health and the Environment

Saga Welco

Maersk

Spliethof, Transfennica

Fast Forward Freight

Crystal Cruises

Katoen Natie – Rapid Tank Services

Van Es Group

Noord Natie Holding

SCUA Belgium

Lukoil Benelux BV

Topoil AB

Heros Sluiskil BV

Saga Welco

U.K. Club

Cargill

LIEBHERR

Marincon

Jansen Air & Ocean

Work highlights

  • Assisting the Belgian Federal Government to retrieve over €3.5m in oil cleaning and spill prevention costs, as well as fending off the shipowner’s claim of over €15m euros for removal of the wreck of mv. Flinterstar.
  • Assisting P&I Insurers and the owners of the container vessel mv. Cap San Lorenzo in a matter where damage was sustained by port of Antwerp terminal operators oil tanking during an incident in April 2021.
  • Advising the owners of the mv. Athens Star, a chemicals tanker, following the collision of this vessel with port infrastructure included in ExxonMobil’s terminal in the Port of Antwerp in January 2019.

Kegels Advocaten

Based in Antwerp, Kegels | Advocaten‘s boutique port and trade law practice assists a host of high-profile clients in an extensive range of shipping and maritime disputes, transactions, and other commercial matters. Beyond the stand-out expertise in contentious work, navigation, customs and logistics-based mandates are further key workflows. The team is led by the highly experienced André Kegels.

Practice head(s):

André Kegels

Allen & Overy LLP

The multidisciplinary practice at Allen & Overy LLP handles the full gamut of transport sector work for a strong mix of commercial and public sector entities and is well regarded for its international network. Proficient in both transactional and contentious work, the team advises various aviation, rail, and road outfits on acquisitions and financings, as well as competition and cartel claims. Working across two offices, the team is jointly led by the Brussels-based transport and infrastructure litigator Werner Eyskens, and the 'extremely knowledgeable' PPP specialist Filip Tanghe, who splits his time between Brussels and Antwerp. Fee Goossens is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Werner Eyskens; Filip Tanghe

Other key lawyers:

Fee Goossens

Testimonials

‘One of the largest and most experienced teams on the Belgian market. As a full service firm, they are able to advise on complex transactions in an integrated manner. The international network is equally very useful.’

‘Filip Tanghe is a leader in this sector. He is well extremely knowledgeable, well connected and a real problem solver.’

Key clients

Exmar

Ambos

The Antwerp-based transport team at Ambos advises on a full range of maritime and logistics work – including shipping and port law issues – for a range of international shipping groups and blue-chip multinationals from across the sector. Recent highlights for the team include full scope dry shipping advisory mandates, various contract negotiations, and contentious proceedings acting on behalf of major governmental bodies. Practice head Ingrid Van Clemen is a highly experienced maritime litigator with niche expertise in cargo claims. Björn Cloots specialises in port sector administrative law, including concession contracts between port authorities and customers. Recently promoted partner Philippe Van Dijck is recommended for his knowledge of port labour, ship sales and liquidations, and Belgian piracy claims. Peter Van De Vijver has left the practice.

Practice head(s):

Ingrid Van Clemen

Other key lawyers:

Björn Cloots; Philippe Van Dijck

Testimonials

‘Cooperative attitude towards the client. Ambos, more than most other law firms, does listen to and take into account client’s feedback on the strategy to follow or on the legal situation of a case.’

‘Excellent ratio between the hourly rates and the quality of the work delivered.’

‘Ingrid Van Clemen has excellent responses, impressive understanding, and experience in Belgian transport and maritime law. Provides honest analyses of the strengths but also the weaknesses of a case and realistic estimations of time needed to deliver advice in complex cases.’

‘Philippe Van Dijck has excellent analysis skills.’

Key clients

Grimaldi Lines

Eurochem

Stukwerkers NV

Port Authority Ghent

Compagnie Belge de Manutention

Lalemant

Belgian P & I

MSC PSA Terminal

DP World Antwerp

Silk Ways Airlines

Belgian Government – department of Transport & Mobility

Flemish Government – Pilot department

GWM Surveys

Antwerp Shipping Federation (ASF – ASV)

Europe Cargo / Euro Nordic / Seabow

Solvay

Delhaize

Sea tank Terminal

CH Robinson

SW Trucking

Cyber Gun

Steder Group

Work highlights

  • Advising the Antwerp Shipping Federation on a discussion between a number of container lines and the Environmental Inspection on the transport of waste in containers.
  • Advising the Flemish Maritime Pilots on the legal implications and liabilities of the use of certain electronic devices by pilots.
  • Representing the Belgian Ministry of Transport in the collection of administrative fines.

Leeward

A formidable roster of high-profile clients turn to Leeward's 'outstanding' boutique practice for assistance with a range of transport, logistics, and maritime matters. The Brugge-based team is capable of handling both domestic and cross-border instructions, ranging from collisions and contamination disputes to contractual reviews, insurance claims and strategic advisory matters. The team is jointly led by three partners: marine insurance specialist Lino Verbeke; marine disputes focused Armin Wintein and Jeroen Villé, whose broad experience encompasses imports and exports, and marine logistics.

Practice head(s):

Jeroen Villé; Armin Wintein; Lino Verbeke

Testimonials

‘LEEWARD is an outstanding team in respect of transport law and other commercial disputes.’

‘Personal approach, with easy and transparent billing.’

‘Both associated partners Lino Verbeke and Jeroen Villé give a personal approach towards their clients. They have a wide network of contacts that gives them an advantage regarding upcoming and new regulations and laws.’

‘Jeroen Ville will fully pursue your interests and do everything necessary to protect them. He recommends to us when it is suitable to have a dispute and when it would be reasonable to accept the company was wrong.’

‘Excellent rail sector knowledge and capabilities.’

‘Notable expertise in the transport sector and logistics. Very personal approach and contact. Clear communication and follow-up.’

Key clients

bpost

ECS

Greenyard

International Car Operators

Lineas

Kreiss

Vos Logistics

Wallenius Wilhelmsen Solutions

Railtraxx

Ghent Transport and Storage

Work highlights

  • Advised ECS on the contractual framework for warehousing and logistics services provided to a British retailer.
  • Assisting Rederij Crevits and Soetkin with collisions with cargo vessels in the British Channel.
  • Representing a number of transport insurance companies in various proceedings against courier express services where consignments are damaged or lost.

Deloitte

Deloitte Legal works across the full scope of the transport sector, assisting a host of public authorities and commercial entities operating at the Belgian, European, and international level. The team is especially noted for its advisory and regulatory capabilities in public-private partnership matters, legislative reviews, and studies commissioned by various government departments. The team is jointly led by corporate transaction specialists Marc Van tieghem and Tim Baart, and the public law and regulatory expert Kathleen De hornois. All named lawyers are based in Antwerp.

Practice head(s):

Kathleen De Hornois; Marc Van Tieghem; Tim Baart

Testimonials

‘Highly experienced lawyers.’

‘Good knowledge of the legal issues.’

Key clients

Flemish Waterway

NMBS / SNCB

Flemish Government – Department of Mobility and Public Works

Flemish Agency for Maritime and Coastal Services, Flemish Government

Flemish Agency for Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Port of Oostende

DLA Piper

DLA Piper‘s cross-practice team draws on expertise in infrastructure, construction and transport, assisting a sizeable roster of clients with high-profile regulatory reviews, tender bids, and various commercial issues including market entry strategy and labour law issues. Public law practitioner and practice co-head Bob Martens has broad expertise in aviation regulatory frameworks, routinely working with commercial operators, regional governments and industry authorities. Fellow practice head Ilse Van De Mierop is noted for her capabilities in aviation finance and restructuring mandates.

Practice head(s):

Bob Martens; Ilse Van de Mierop

Key clients

Aviapartner

Bird Rides Inc. / LMTS Belgium SRL

BD myShopi / BD Smart Logistics

BOMBARDIER

Colas

Consortia TM COTU & TM ROCO

Emirates

Fastned

Flying Group

Gates Distribution Center NV

Jump Belgium

Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens Group (RATP Group)

Sabena (in bankruptcy)

Sabena Aerospace Engineering

Scania Belgium NV/SA

Société anonyme belge de Constructions Aéronautiques (SABCA SA)

Skeyes (formerly Belgocontrol)

Skytanking

SNCB/NMBS

Talison Lithium

TriplePoint Capital

TCR

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

Work highlights

  • Representing Skeyes (formerly BELGOCONTROL) in relation with the ATC staffing issues (medical absences) and social conflict with the Skeyes Air Traffic Controllers, which caused key disruptions in the continuity of the ATC services of Skeyes in 2019, including temporary closings of (part of) the Belgian airspace.
  • Appointed by the largest contractors consortium in Belgium to guide the bid towards €3.6bn Oosterweel Link, the biggest road transport project in the European Transport Network ETN.
  • Assisting Triplepoint Capital LLC in a new round of debt financing of Cowboy, a Belgian venture capital-backed e-bikes producer.

Kennedys

The 'highly reputable' team at Kennedys is especially well regarded for its far-reaching capabilities across the aviation, road transport logistics, and maritime sectors where it is able to draw on the firm's substantial network. In recent work, the group has been engaged on a range of contentious and non-contentious instructions for various commercial airlines and cruise operators, as well as insurer-side logistics claims. Dimitri de Bournonville is praised by clients for his wide-ranging transport sector capabilities, including corporate transactions and arbitration proceedings.

Practice head(s):

Dimitri de Bournonville

Testimonials

‘The Brussels office of Kennedys is active in transportation matters in the Benelux region, as a result of the very good global visibility of the firm’s practice in this sector. This enabled them to build excellent relationships with insurers and operators in the field, next to their aviation practice which is long recognised as one of the top practices in the country.’

‘Dimitri de Bournonville remains the key man behind the success of the office. His experience  is a real advantage when it comes to advising and assisting the firm’s clients in the transportation and logistics sector.’

‘Kennedys is a highly reputable firm in the transport sector globally. Thanks to its visibility at the level of insurers and operators and the broad experience of the members of its team, the Brussels office of Kennedys managed to develop a very significant presence in the local market over the years. The aviation practice of the team, coupled with their experience in marine, road transportation and logistics matters, position them as one of the big names of the market. It is one of the rare firms which manages to successfully compete with the traditional local marine and shipping firms based in Antwerp.’

‘Dimitri de Bournonville, who is heading the Brussels office, is a leader in the fields where the office is active. He has more than 25 years of experience and deals with a wide range of matters, from complex commercial and corporate transactions to regulatory and litigation. He is sometimes acting as arbiter in arbitration proceedings, given his expertise and his market recognition.’

Key clients

AIG

Air Belgium

Air Transport Services Group

ASL Airlines Belgium

ASL Aviation Group

Atkins

Aviabel

Aviapartner

AXA

CAL Cargo Airlines

Challenge Airlines Group

Charles Taylor Adjusting

Canopius

Dantec

Delvag

DHL

Emirates

Etihad Airways

Fedex / TNT Express

Finnair

Girteka

Global Aerospace

HungaroControl

JP Ryan

LOT Polish Airlines

Luxair

Macquarie Air Finance

Marsh

Norddeutsche Landesbank

RV Transport

Ryanair

Silversea

SI INSURANCE (Europe)

Swiss International Airlines

Swissport Cargo Services

Thai Airways

Vueling

Work highlights

  • Assisting Atkins in its reporting to the European Invest Bank regarding the projects on Urban Air Mobility it may support.
  • Representing Marsh and its insured, Honda, before the Belgian courts in respect of damage incurred by the insured, a car manufacturer.
  • Representing Dantec and its insurer in a litigation before the Antwerp courts in a dispute in relation to an alleged non-compliance of hoses delivered to Noord Natie Terminals (a terminal operator in the port of Antwerp).

Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick

Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick's broad sector focus spans the aviation, maritime and railway sectors, where it routinely advises some of the largest commercial and public sector players in the Belgian market and beyond. In addition to its commercial work and Covid-19 response instructions, the team is also adept acting as defence counsel in various domestic proceedings, including before the Commercial Court and the Court of Appeal. Jean Pierre Kesteloot's comprehensive transport focus encompasses shipping, road carriage and insurance matters, with niche expertise in drones, autonomous vehicles and e-bikes.

Practice head(s):

Jean Pierre Kesteloot

Testimonials

‘The team is very knowledgeable and thinks pragmatically.’

The existence of the “hotline” is a real added value. The advice responds to our concrete needs and proposes solutions to the problems encountered.

Key clients

DHL International

Iberia Lineas Aereas de Espana

NMBS / SNCB

Uber

BCA Europe Transport Solutions

Aviabel

Brussels Airlines

Sonaca

Attitrade

Work highlights

  • Representing Iberia before the Belgian courts in the context of passenger claims in the event of denied boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights.
  • Assisting Brussels Airlines, Brussels Airport Company and TUI in summary proceedings before the Brussels Business Court, seeking further interim injunction against skeyes, the Belgian air navigation and traffic service provider for the civil airspace, for any flight cancelled, delayed, or diverted because of an interruption of the air traffic control and a closure of the Belgian air space on 16 May 2019.
  • Assisted SNCB (National Railway in Belgium) in several matters in the past months, amongst others in relation to various commercial contracts and providing an opinion on the accessibility of the new SNCB vending machines / automats in the framework of a contract.

Lydian

Lydian's cross-practice port and logistics team regularly assists clients with a range of port projects and new developments, logistical outsourcing contracts, as well as rail disputes regarding collisions, derailments, and defective infrastructure claims. Practice head Yves Lenders, who divides his time between Antwerp and Brussels, is noted for his contentious practice, handling the full gamut of commercial litigations and mediations for a domestic and international client base. Pieter-Jan Van Mierlo is noted for his experience in rail freight and logistics damage claims.

Practice head(s):

Yves Lenders

Other key lawyers:

Pieter-Jan Van Mierlo

Testimonials

‘Know how, flexibility, and quick response times.’

‘Highly experienced lawyers.’

Key clients

Lineas

De Lijn

STIB-MIVB

Water-link OV

Kerry Logistics Network Limited – TCI Freight Forwarding Co. LTD

Belgium Rail Solutions SA

Cardo Construct Railwaylogistics BVBA

Combinant NV

Transport & Logistiek Advocaten

Transport & Logistiek Advocaten's boutique practice works with multiple transport companies, insurance companies, brokers, logistics service providers and professional organisations on a host of mandates, most notably in the road haulage and cargo space. Recent highlights for the team include appeal procedures pertaining to social dumping and investigations regarding truck confiscations. The team is jointly led by three partners: Frederik Vanden Bogaerde, an experienced advocate with experience before the Court of Cassation, the Constitutional Court and the European Court of Justice; Vincent Van Der Mast, a transport tax specialist; and litigator and regulatory adviser Mathias Dendievel.

Practice head(s):

Frederik Vanden Bogaerde; Vincent Van der Mast; Mathias Dendievel

Testimonials

‘The practice has a great understanding of the complex issues surrounding operating licence issues across many different European countries.’

‘Mathias Dendievel takes the time to understand issues and then makes clear recommendations. He also understands people and can relate to the operators too.’

‘The in-depth knowledge of the transport sector and its legal requirements and law across Europe makes the firm a strong partner in any transport dispute.’

‘Very pragmatic approach, really helpful in finding solutions.’

‘Frederik Vanden Bogaerde is specialised in almost all legal topics that concern the transportation business starting from the obvious transportation law over social & labour law, mobility package and the applicable criminal laws. This makes him pretty unique in the Belgian legal community.’

‘The hands on mentality of this firm is much appreciated. The team of TLA is very accessible and are easy to get in touch with. Overall response time is very little.’

‘Once trusted with a case, Mr. Dendievel will not let go. Even with cases we have long forgotten, he suddenly comes with new developments and chances.’

‘Highly skilled in transport law; you sense they have a vast knowledge in all aspects of transport and logistics law.’

Reed Smith

Reed Smith's cross-disciplinary, internationally-focused practice includes a sizeable bench of partners who advise various high-profile clients on the full gamut of transport sector matters. The practice is jointly headed up by Christian Filippitsch, Geert Goeteyn, Isabella Rahman and Yves Melin, who variously specialise in EU competition, antitrust, and customs-based mandates.

Practice head(s):

Christian Filippitsch; Geert Goeteyn; Isabelle Rahman; Yves Melin