Hall Of Fame

Shipping: foreign firms in China

Clyde & Co LLP

With a broad client base including shipowners, P&I clubs, charterers, underwriters, cargo insurers, energy companies and shipyards, Clyde & Co LLP remains one of the most sought after shipping practices in the region. The team is capable of handling both litigious matters, such as collisions and maritime insurance disputes, and ship financing work. Practice head Ik Wei Chong, though primarily based in Singapore, works closely with the firm’s Shanghai office and has extensive experience representing clients in China-connected disputes and arbitrations. Also key are financing specialist Fei Kwok and experienced arbitrator Nicholas Lum. Associates Christian Liu and Flora Tang, who both have expertise in defending cargo and hull recovery claims, are also notable contacts. UK-based Andrew Rourke is integral to the China team, assisting state-owned PRC clients with arbitrations governed by English law.

Practice head(s):

Ik Wei Chong

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Rourke; Nicholas Lum; Fei Kwok; Thomas Choo; Canming Wang; Flora Tang; Christian Liu


‘Internationalized services, able to provide legal services in many overseas countries; team composition and backgrounds are diverse, team members come from many countries and regions; serious and responsible for customers, able to accurately understand and express customer needs, and consider customers.’

‘The team is good at understanding customer needs, with both depth and breadth of business, flexible thinking in handling cases, and reasonable billing.’

‘Ik Wei Chong is quick in thinking, good at quickly finding out the essence of the problem, has a variety of ideas to solve the problem, and is good at communicating with clients.’

Work highlights


HFW‘s Shanghai shipping team covers both wet and dry shipping work with particular strength in collisions, groundings and shipbuilding contracts. The department also provides its shipyard, salvage and ship financing clients with support in transactional and personal injury matters. Nicholas Poynder leads the practice and advises on both contentious and transactional work relating to the shipping, logistics and energy sectors. He is recommended for cross-border disputes work, including charterparty and bill of lading disputes. Supporting Poynder is collisions specialist Jenny Chester and master mariner Julian Davies. Also key are marine casualties and pollution matters expert Lucy Chen, who is a PRC qualified lawyer, and Thilo Jahn, who is experienced in handling shipping matters before English courts and a number of major arbitration forums.

Practice head(s):

Nicholas Poynder

Other key lawyers:

Julian Davies; Jenny Chester; Thilo Jahn; Lucy Chen


‘The team has rich industry experience, combined with shipping practice, to provide customers with professional legal advice and feasible solutions.’

‘Lucy Chen provided timely and effective support for our business development.’

‘In addition to having rich professional and transactional experience in the field of maritime and maritime law, the HFW team can always maintain smooth communication with customers and provide the most cost-effective services.’

Work highlights

Wikborg Rein

Wikborg Rein has had a presence in China since 2002 and the firm has become a trusted partner to some of the largest players in the Chinese shipping market, including COSCO Heavy Industry shipyard and the China Merchant Industry Holding Company, as well as several international P&I clubs and offshore engineering firms. The team is also particularly notable for its offshore renewable energy expertise. The practice is headed jointly by international arbitration and litigation specialist Ronin Zong, transactional and compliance matters expert Yafeng Sun, and the offshore energy projects-focused Chelsea Chen. Claire Jiang, who regularly advises insurers and shipowners on contentious matters, is a further name to note.

Practice head(s):

Ronin Zong; Chelsea Chen; Yafeng Sun

Other key lawyers:

Claire Jiang


‘They have a good experience on maritime accidents in China, and good communication with the relevant authority which is useful to resolve the matter if the authority is involved. ’

‘Yafeng Sun is the one of the most experienced shipping lawyers in China.’

Yafeng Sun always informs of the important points in casualty cases with which the ship owners and insurers should be concerned.’

‘Strong confidence and professionalism, always leads client in the right direction and makes the right decision.’

Key clients

China State Shipbuilding Corporation and subsidiary yards

COSCO Shipyard Group Co., Ltd. and subsidiary yards

China Merchants Heavy Industry Co., Ltd. and subsidiary yards

China National Offshore Oil Corp (“CNOOC”) and subsidiaries

ICBC Financial Leasing Co., Ltd.

CMB Financial Leasing Co., Ltd.

Bank of Communications Financial Leasing Co., Ltd.


Norwegian Hull Club

Skuld P&I Club

London P&I

Japan P&I

Britannia P&I

Work highlights

  • Advising CNOOC on its investment, joint venture, newbuilding and chartering with NYK and CMES LNG for another (Stage II) six newbuild LNG carriers.
  • Advising and assisting Japan P&I and its members on a ship sinking accident at Taiwan Strait.
  • Advising a state-owned shipyard on its offshore vessel conversion contract in HKIAC and leading the enforcement of the award in various jurisdictions including China, Singapore and Malaysia, as well as representing the shipyard in related arbitration.

DLA Piper

DLA Piper covers work from dry shipping and marine casualty response to recoveries, shipbuilding and freight forwarding. The firm is also recommended for work related to and ensuing from shipping law, including debt enforcement and collection following arbitration cases. The team is jointly led by international commercial arbitration expert Xiaoshan Chen, working in Shanghai, and the Hong Kong-based Ernest Yang. Kevin Chan, who is also located in Hong Kong, supports on Shanghai office matters. The firm is noted for providing ‘a first class client service‘.

Practice head(s):

Ernest Yang; Xiaoshan Chen

Other key lawyers:

Kevin Chan


‘’Kevin Chan is a pre-eminent shipping practitioner in the region.’

‘Kevin Chan is a serious player in this area. Very poised, legally astute, and commercial. Great with clients.’

‘DLA Piper impressed the company by giving practical recommendations in solving the dispute cases and formulating strategies in arbitration cases in the shipping industry.’

‘The team as a whole demonstrated outstanding efforts of professionalism in analysing the merits and demerits of our arbitration case. They realistically anticipated the possible issues and unexpected events beforehand arising from the arbitration proceedings.’

‘DLA are very well-established a a market leader in shipping.’

‘Ernest Yang has great depth and experience, and provides a first class client service. His knowledge of the shipping industry is deep and brings an excellent understanding of both the law and the commercial aspects.’

Key clients

Third Eye Capital

Work highlights

  • Assisting Third Eye Capital with ascertaining the corporate structure of the entity which owes it a significant London arbitration award.

Stephenson Harwood

Stephenson Harwood is well-regarded in the fields of both shipping litigation and shipping finance and has further strengthened its offering with the hire of Paul Ho and Shirley Li, both joined from Ince & Co in October 2023. Evangeline Quek is the key name in the China-focused arm of the firm’s maritime law offering. Based in Shanghai, Quek offers significant expertise in shipping arbitration and is well-placed to advise on cross-border matters, having previously managed shipping disputes concerning Singapore, Taiwan, India, England and the Netherlands. Shanghai-based ship financing expert Simone Liu is also key, regularly advising PRC state-owned enterprises.

Other key lawyers:

Evangeline Quek; Simone Liu; Paul Ho; Shirley Li


‘Ship financing business is SH’s strong business. It is good at various transaction structures and flexibly dispatches lawyers in various jurisdictions to provide comprehensive legal services.’

‘The service is responsive and the team is able to provide critical solutions.’

‘Evangeline Quek and her team in Shanghai combine all the benefits of an international legal practice with local, Chinese know-how.’

‘Evangeline Quek has an impressive understanding of the Chinese market.’

‘Very good team, the collocation of partners, lawyers and assistants is very reasonable, can provide reasonable price, efficient service, and the cooperation with other teams is also very smooth.’

‘Simone Liu, a partner in the Shanghai office, has a good understanding of Chinese business and the needs of Chinese customers, and can provide professional services and opinions.’

Key clients

China Development Bank

China Development Bank Financial Leasing

Everbright Fortune International Leasing

ICBC Financial Leasing Ltd.

Michharry and Company Nigeria Limited (“MCN”).

The People’s Insurance Co of China (Hong Kong) Ltd

The Export-Import Bank of China

CMB Financial Leasing Ltd.

Pantainer (H.K.) Limited

Panalpina World Transport (Japan) Ltd

Maersk Line

Societe Generale

Work highlights

  • Acting for Damco Hong Kong Limited in prosecuting and defending claims in the Hong Kong Court arising from a large fire casualty in a warehouse at the Tuen Mun River Trade Terminal in Hong Kong.