Shipping: foreign firms in China

Clyde & Co LLP

Clyde & Co LLP‘s sizeable Shanghai-based mainland China shipping team acts for both Chinese and international clients in shipping disputes all around the globe; and through the firm’s joint law venture (JLV) in China, Clyde & Co Westlink JLV, clients can tap into seamless onshore and offshore advice. Current director of the Singapore Chamber of Maritime Arbitration, Ik Wei Chong, is consistently sought out for disputes arising from marine casualties, charterparty issues, ship repair and newbuild claims, ship sale and purchase disputes, and claims involving carriage by air, ocean and road; Nicholas Lum spearheads the China offices’ cross-border dispute resolution practice; and JLV partner Canming Wang advises on a raft of marine-related matters. At the legal director level, Christian Liu‘s practice includes marine insurance matters involving the pursuit of cargo and hull recovery claims; and Beijing-based Flora Tang is experienced in matters concerning cargo claims, bills of lading, charterparties and international trade.

Practice head(s):

Ik Wei Chong


Clyde & Co is a well-known firm for its expertise in maritime law, and that was the main reason I chose it as our legal representative – Clyde & Co definitely met my expectations and nailed our case.

Great for their knowledge, quick responses and co-operation.

In-depth knowledge of Chinese trade and shipping law, and court/arbitration procedures.

Local knowledge with an international perspective.

Ik Wei Chong is a true expert in maritime law, and thanks to his precise analysis we achieved a successful result.


HFW is a go-to international law firm for the whole gamut of shipping work, including wet, dry and corporate finance matters; and in addition to the firm’s regular collaboration with international law firms on shipping issues, clients benefit from its joint operation with Chinese firm Wintell & Co Law Firm. Shanghai office head Nicholas Poynder assists with cross-border charterparty, bill of lading, MOA and insolvency-related disputes, as well as M&A and financing transactions; master mariner Julian Davies can boast over 12 years’ experience at sea; and senior manager Jenny Chester specialises in shipbuilding, shipping, salvage, collision, pollution and maritime casualty-related matters. At senior associate level, Thilo Jahn is an expert in disputes arising under commodity contracts, charterparties, bills of lading, and offshore and shipbuilding contracts; and Lucy Chen consistently acts for shipping, trading and offshore sector clients. Former shipping, offshore and logistics partner Trevor Fox left for New Fortress Energy in June 2021.

Practice head(s):

Nicholas Poynder


HFW is one of the best shipping law firms to work with.

HFW exhibits comprehensive knowledge of the shipping business and outstanding professionalism in advising on shipping-related commercial transactions.

HFW is well aware of our company’s core values and business objectives. The team is therefore able to provide realistic risk assessments, and impresses by giving innovative recommendations while tackling legal and commercial issues during various commercial transactions.

The remarkable capability to provide us with feasible plans, so as to achieve our desired outcomes, makes them stand out from other firms.

Key clients

Bright Shipping

PT Tugu Pratama Indonesia General Insurance

NewOcean Petroleum Co

Leung Wan Kee Shipyard


Fat Kee Stevedores

Work highlights

  • Acted for Bright Shipping in a significant forum non conveniens case of collision (valued at $160m), which was recently decided by the Hong Kong Admiralty Court, Court of Appeal and Court of Final Appeal.
  • Acted for PT Tugu Pratama Indonesia General Insurance (an Indonesian insurance company), in claiming against a well-known bank in respect of a vast number of high-value, unauthorised and disputed payments.
  • Assisted NewOcean Petroleum Co with the discharge of a high-value injunction.


Ince‘s full-service shipping practice handles a plethora of shipping work, as well as associated areas, including litigation, corporate, regulatory and finance matters. Shanghai office head Paul Ho and Beijing-based Wai Yue Loh are the main contacts.

Other key lawyers:

Paul HoWai Yue LohShirley LiZeldar Wang

Wikborg Rein

Wikborg Rein’s Shanghai representative office fields highly experienced Chinese, Norwegian and English lawyers. Able to leverage its Norwegian roots, a substantial amount of the work conducted from Shanghai involves oil and gas and offshore-related shipping matters, including corporate, commercial, and distressed and restructuring work. Ronin Zong has longstanding experience in dry shipping matters and the recently promoted partner Chelsea Chen specialises in the construction, purchase and sale, and financing (including financial leasing) of commercial ships and offshore units.  Yafeng Sun and Claire Jiang are further names to note.

Practice head(s):

Ronin Zong; Yafeng SunChelsea Chen

Other key lawyers:

Claire Jiang

Key clients

China State Shipbuilding Corporation

COSCO Shipyard Group Co

China Merchants Holdings Co

Fujian Shipbuilding Industry Group Company

CMB Financial Leasing Co

ICBC Financial Leasing Co

Bank of Communications Financial Leasing Co

Taiping & Sinopec Financial Leasing Co

China Development Bank Financial Leasing Co

Zakher Marine International

Gard AS

Norwegian Hull Club

Skuld P&I Club

Japan P&I

North of England P&I

Work highlights

  • Acting for CMB Financial Leasing on the novation of sale and leaseback arrangements involving seven dry bulk vessels.
  • Assisting CNOOC CETS with its old FPSOs’ scrapping and recycling deals.
  • Advising Gard AS, the hull and machinery insurer of 272-meter-long tanker ‘A Symphony’, on various matters following the latter’s collision accident.

DLA Piper

DLA Piper‘s integrated team of lawyers in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong assists with the full range of shipping work. Its contentious work involves arbitration and court proceedings in mainland China, Hong Kong, the UK and internationally; and its non-contentious practice covers negotiating and drafting contracts, insurance policies, standard terms and conditions, and advice on risk management and contingency planning. The practice is co-led by Shanghai-based international disputes specialist Xiaoshan Chen, who was elevated to the partnership in May 2020; Ernest Yang and Kevin Chan, who handle complex shipping disputes.

Other key lawyers:

Tom Van Hoof; Anna Wong


We are very satisfied with the overall services of DLA Piper.

The legal services provided by the team are client oriented and best suit the company’s needs.

The firm stands out for providing assessments on the degree of legal and commercial risks in a timely manner, and is able to demonstrate sound judgement in planning and managing the dispute resolution matters of the company.

DLA Piper impressed by giving practical recommendations to solving shipping disputes and formulating strategies during arbitration cases.

The team demonstrated outstanding professionalism when analysing the merits and demerits of a current arbitration case.

They realistically anticipated the possible issues and unexpected events- they also responded to our queries and requests in a timely fashion and made helpful recommendations for our consideration, hence expediting the strategy formulating and decision-making process.

‘The team has a lot of experience in providing legal services to shipping companies in China, especially in the field of maritime arbitration.’

With a huge amount of experience, Kevin Chan is a leading light in this area.

Stephenson Harwood

Well known for its regional strengths in asset finance, Stephenson Harwood‘s Shanghai-based finance lawyers advise major international banks, as well as large and major finance leasing companies, on complex asset-backed loans, syndicated loans, multiple-loan structures, pre-and post-delivery financings, and sale and leaseback transactions. On the litigation side, the marine and international trade team is frequently sought out to resolve disputes beyond traditional dispute resolution methods, including the use of injunctive relief and mediation. Besides handling contentious shipping matters, Evangeline Quek has developed a robust transactional practice, through which she advises financial leasing institutions and owners on suites of operational leasing documents. Notable growth in the team includes the May 2021 promotion of Simone Liu to partner.

Practice head(s):

Evangeline Quek

Other key lawyers:

Simone Liu

Key clients

China Development Bank

China Development Bank Financial Leasing

Compañía Sud Americana de Vapores

Everbright Fortune International Leasing

Guodian Shipping (Hong Kong) Co

ICBC Financial Leasing

The Export-Import Bank of China

CMB Financial Leasing

Pantainer (HK)

Panalpina World Transport (Japan)

Work highlights

  • Advised CMB Financial Leasing on a leasing deal for five containerships that French carrier CMA CGM is ordering in China from China State Shipbuilding Corporation.