Maritime and shipping in Germany
Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein was able to further expand its range of services for companies in the maritime industry through the merger between Arnecke Sibeth and Dabelstein Passehl in May 2018. In addition to traditional shipping law, the firm also has expertise in corporate, M&A, project finance, insolvency and restructuring. The team of eight partners handles maritime and inland waterway regulations as well as purchase and sale contracts and ship registrations. Clients include suppliers, shipyards, shipping companies and marine and transport insurers. Another focus is the cruise industry, where the team acts for ocean-going, river and expedition cruise companies on supply and charter contracts, terminal use as well as hotel and entertainment contracts. Jan Dreyer, Dieter Schwampe and Jan Tjarko Eichhorn are frequently recommended.
The seven-partner team at CMS advises shipowners, container lines, banks, shipyards, marine insurers, trading houses and logistics companies on the full range of maritime business law, including financing and restructuring matters. It also represents clients in court and in out-of-court disputes as well as in national and international arbitration proceedings. In 2017, the firm was frequently instructed to handle transactions in particular; it advised the shareholders of Kreuzfahrtberater on the sale of its online travel agency business to Cruise.co.uk. The central contacts are Jost Kienzle, who counts Hamburg Süd and Hapag-Lloyd among his core clients; Jan Wölper, who has proven expertise in ship purchase and sales as well as charter law; and practice head Christoph Zarth, who is experienced in plant construction and the offshore wind industry.
Clients note that Fleet Hamburg LLP is ‘a reliable, punctual and competent partner’, which convinces through ‘short processing times, pronounced business sense and a high level of service’. It acts for German and international shipping companies, trading houses, suppliers, shipyards and marine insurers on all questions of maritime commercial law, including court and arbitration proceedings. Also noteworthy is its expertise in English law; the ‘excellent and goal-oriented’ Dharshini Bandara and Axel Salander, who is praised for providing ‘balanced and realistic advice’, are admitted in England and Wales. Other key figures are Christoph Hasche, the ‘thorough and convincing’ Arthur Steinmann, the ‘precise’ Klaus Kostka and Eva Bodenbach, who ‘has an eye for the essentials’. New clients include two cruise shipping companies, a European agrochemical company and two European shipowners. Ann-Kathrin Burchard left the firm and Tobias Nesemann made partner.
Ince is the result of Ince & Co and Gordon Dadds’ merger in December 2018. The ‘broadly based’ maritime and shipping law team is considered to be ‘readily available’ and has ‘an appropriate view of the economic aspects of a case’. Under the leadership of Markus Eichhorst, who specialises in contentious work, and Jan Hungar, who has a good reputation in financing and transaction matters, the team comprehensively assists national and international shipowners, ship operators, banks and insurers under German and English law. In addition to advising on major damage cases, shipbuilding and charter contracts, the practice also focuses on court and arbitration proceedings. In addition, it is also increasingly involved in the offshore energy sector. Christian Reinert, Julia Wiechell and Götz Rahne joined the partnership. Eckehard Volz, Tim Schommer and Volker Lücke joined Clyde & Co LLP at the end of 2018.
LEBUHN & PUCHTA
Lebuhn & Puchta provides comprehensive advice to the maritime industry, which not only covers the planning, financing and operation of ships, but also restructuring and insolvency law issues. The team is also experienced in offshore wind matters. Matthias Wittschen advised E.R. Capital on the sale of shipping company E.R. Schiffahrt, of ship broker Harper Petersen & Co and of the shares held in a Cypriot insurance service provider to Zeaborn. Other highlights include advising FRS on the construction of a ferry catamaran for the route between Hamburg and Helgoland and assisting CMP Capital Management-Partners with the acquisition of 13 river cruise ships. In other work, the group advised the insolvency administrator of the Noske Kaeser group on the sale of the air-conditioning and fire protection technology division, including domestic and foreign subsidiaries, to Engie Axima. The seven-partner strong practice is headed by Ulrich Stahl, Johannes Trost and counsel Sabine Rittmeister. Jakob Hoffmann-Grambow made partner.
Dr Schackow & Partner
Dr Schackow & Partner has a broad range of services covering all aspects of dry and wet shipping law, ship financing, ship sales, marine insurance as well as corporate and tax law. Julius Drumm, who is a qualified nautical engineer, counts shipyards, shipowners, cruise operators, offshore industry companies, insurers and banks among his clients, which he advises on the development and structuring of projects. He is also experienced in handling ship collision cases and salvage operations. Kai Busch specialises in contentious work and regularly handles arbitration proceedings. Doris Kostka is in charge of ship financing and regularly acts on ship registrations as well as purchase and sale transactions. The comprehensive range of services is rounded off by Heinrich Maywald’s expertise in plant construction and offshore wind matters and Thomas Brinkmann’s specialisation in advising public port authorities and private port operators on port law.
Blaum Dettmers Rabstein
Blaum Dettmers Rabstein specialises in acting for domestic and foreign transport insurers, marine, hull and P&I insurers as well as commercial and industrial companies, shipping companies and terminal companies in enforcing and defending against claims arising from major loss events. In addition, the firm regularly advises on ship purchase agreements, ship financing and restructurings in the maritime context at its Hamburg and Bremen offices. It is also involved in port infrastructure projects, logistics projects and in connection with terminal operations at German and foreign seaports. The practice, which includes five partners, is headed by Kay Uwe Bahnsen. Elke Wietoska specialises in transport and forwarding law and Daja Böhlhoff is the key contact for transactions.
Ehlermann Rindfleisch Gadow (ERG)
Ehlermann Rindfleisch Gadow (ERG) provides ‘very fast solutions, even for unusual problems’, ‘comprehensive industry knowledge’ and ‘good value for money’. Carolin Schmeding, Hendrik Brauns and Stefan Rindfleisch, who is described as having ‘comprehensive knowledge of shipping law, excellent judgement and a high service orientation’, are the practice heads. The team specialises in maritime financing, acquisitions, restructurings and ship registration. The client portfolio includes German and international ship-financing banks, hedge funds, shipping companies and shipyards. The firm has seen a notable increase in activity for international investors in particular, where it advises on both corporate and financing law issues. Bettina Joos and Thomas Garbe left the firm; the former is now head of legal at Jenoptik Advanced Systems.
Watson Farley & Williams LLP
With a clear focus on financings, Watson Farley & Williams LLP advises international banks and financial institutions, private equity investors and maritime companies on all issues relating to the construction, purchase and management of ships and on ship financing. Highlights for co-practice head Clemens Hillmer included advising Berenberg Privatbank on the acquisition of a $460m ship loan portfolio from Royal Bank of Scotland and assisting DIF Core Infrastructure Fund 1 with the acquisition of an $80m container portfolio. Maren Brandes, who also jointly heads the practice, advised a consortium of 27 national and international banks as financier on various bilateral and syndicated, secured and unsecured loans as well as on Islamic finance and leasing agreements concerning the financing of the $14bn Hapag-Lloyd and United Arab Shipping Company merger.
Ahlers & Vogel
Ahlers & Vogel has a broad range of advisory services, with the handling of claims in the maritime sector of particular importance. Jan-Erik Pötschke and Wilm Steingröver regularly handle ship collisions, while contentious matters are mainly handled by Gregor Harbs, Hartmuth Sager and Philipp Landers, who also act as arbitrators. Martin Rosenzweig specialises in shipbuilding, and advises shipyards not only on conversion projects but also on the development of new ship types. The firm is also increasingly expanding its activities in the offshore wind sector; in this area, clients are mainly shipping companies seeking advice on the operation of offshore installation ships.
Ship owners, charterers, shipyards and investors instruct the eight-strong team at Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH to handle all questions of maritime commercial law, including shipbuilding contract disputes and insolvency law issues. The group is also experienced in ship financings and transactions as well as in the offshore sector. Clients also value its experience in the related areas of environment and planning law. Florian Schulz assisted Hanseatic Unity Chartering with the preparation of a cluster pool contract for 30 container ships, while Benjamin Hub advised Marenave on the sale of the entire fleet of 13 ships to partially repay outstanding loans and restructure the company. The team was further bolstered by the addition of financing expert Alexander Wojtek, who joined from Watson Farley & Williams LLP, and by the partner promotion of Lars Frohne, who focuses on newbuilding processes and the purchase and sale of merchant ships.
Boutique firm REMÉ Rechtsanwälte specialises in maritime and shipping law, transport and transport insurance law, and acts for national and international transport and liability insurers as well as internationally active shipping companies and forwarding agents. The range of services includes the drafting of clauses for insurance policies, insurance coverage, the settlement of claims, and litigation. It was recently instructed in connection with the fire on MS Maersk Honam: Ingo Gercke advised insurance and logistics companies on the delivery of containers and on the settlement of a large number of claims resulting from the accident. Other clients include AIG Europe, Dachser and Zurich Insurance.
Segelken & Suchopar
Segelken & Suchopar’s team has particular strength on the contentious side, where it primarily handles recourse claims for well-known German insurers as a result of shipwrecks or shipping company insolvencies. Non-contentious advice includes handling matters relating to maritime and shipping law, maritime insurance and marine hull as well as maritime trade law. In addition insurance companies, the client base also includes national and international transport, forwarding and logistics companies. The well-known Thomas Wanckel and Heiko Saur, an expert in inland navigation law, are noted.
Under Timo Noftz’ leadership, Norton Rose Fulbright acts for commercial and investment banks, lessors, shipping companies, charterers, shipyards, P&I clubs and ship operators on all aspects of maritime commercial law. It focuses on ship financing, the purchase and sale of ships as well as restructuring and insolvency advice. On the contentious side, the group specialises in the handling of cargo damage and is regularly involved in arbitration proceedings. Axel Boës left to co-found boutique firm KOCH DUKEN BOËS.
Key areas of expertise for Taylor Wessing include advising on shipbuilding and maritime plant construction, with particular expertise in newbuilds, conversion and repair for special ships such as mega yachts and installation ships. Practice head Michael Baumhauer counts Blohm + Voss among his long-standing clients and advises on all aspects of ship and plant construction. Janina Pochhammer is particularly experienced in the offshore wind space. She assisted Danish-Japanese wind turbine manufacturer MHI Vestas Offshore Wind with drafting and negotiating project contracts for offshore wind farm Deutsche Bucht. Alexander Peinze is assisting new client the Hamburg Port Authority with the construction of a new cruise terminal in the southern Überseequartier in Hamburg’s HafenCity.