Shipping in Hong Kong


Shipping has been a part of HFW's DNA since the firm was founded in London over 100 years ago. With it having offices in many key maritime centres around the world, Hong Kong is central to the firm's success in the Asia Pacific region. Led by Christopher Chan, the team handles the gamut of wet and dry matters for a myriad of stakeholders, including P&I clubs, charterers and owners. Both Chan and George Lamplough have extensive litigation experience, including charterparty disputes and bills of lading at the "dry" end of the spectrum, through to collisions and salvages at the "wet" end. Lamplough has developed a particular strength in managing crisis management situations, such as those involving piracy and ransoms. Another key partner at the firm is Henry Dunlop, who has a wealth of experience handling shipping disputes in litigation and arbitration settings. Senior associate Nicola Hui is another notable individual.

Practice head(s):

Christopher Chan


The team exhibits comprehensive knowledge of the shipping businesses and outstanding professionalism in advising shipping-related commercial transactions.’

Henry Fung demonstrated outstanding professionalism and always realistically anticipated the possible problems and unexpected events which might occur to the company beforehand.’

Key clients

Bright Shipping Limited (Owners of SANCHI)

PT Tugu Pratama Indonesia general insurance

NewOcean Petroleum Co Ltd

Leung Wan Kee Shipyard Ltd


Fat Kee Stevedores Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised the owners and P&I insurers of SANCHI in a significant forum non conveniens case, which has recently been decided by the Hong Kong Admiralty Court, Court of Appeal and Court of Final Appeal.
  • Represented the defendant shipyard in a case brought by plaintiff as owners of a yacht claiming loss and damage in relation to the case, custody and repair of a yacht in a sum of more than HK$20m
  • Representing a Hong Kong warehouse operation company in relation to disputes and claims arising out of a fire which broke out at the River Trade Terminal on 20 January 2019.


The 'very attentive and knowledgeable' team at Ince has 'an encyclopaedic knowledge of shipping law' and provides 'sound and pragmatic advice' across the panoply of wet and dry shipping matters. Its client roster includes shipowners, port and terminal owners, and P&I clubs. The 'vastly experiencedRosita Lau has a strong track record in handling shipping litigation and arbitration, and she is also accomplished in mediation. The 'very commercial' Max Cross is another senior member of the team, who has built up a very strong reputation arresting ships and securing their release, and he is also instructed in complex multijurisdictional fraud disputes. Senior partner David Beaves has a transactional focus to his practice, including finance, corporate and commercial matters that intersect with the shipping sector. At the more junior end of the spectrum, recently promoted partner Ruaridh Guy has 'much more experience than his age would show'. Master mariner Richard Oakley is another name to note.

Practice head(s):

Rosita Lau; David Beaves; Gary Wong


It is one of the top shipping firms – they have an encyclopaedic knowledge of shipping law – hugely experienced.’

I have always found the team to be prepared, involved, detail-oriented and strategic. They are a pleasure to work with and have deep knowledge of the shipping business.’

The lawyers give sound and pragmatic advice.’

The team is very attentive and knowledgeable.

Max Cross is the stand-out partner. Clients love him, and he has a very commercial approach to cases.’

Ruaridh Guy is a brilliant young partner. He has much more experience than his age would show, and he is a pleasure to work with.’

Ruaridh Guy is our go-to attorney for maritime claims matters. His depth and breadth of legal skills set him in a tier of its own.’

Ruaridh Guy is capable of providing accurate and practical legal advice within a very short timeframe. He has very high awareness on the client’s business needs, and clients have high regard to the legal services he has rendered.’

Key clients

Taiping & Sinopec Financial Leasing

China Development Bank Financial Leasing Co., Ltd

CSSC (Hong Kong) Shipping Company Limited (“CSSC”)

Commodities & Minerals Enterprise Ltd


China COSCO Shipping (various subsidiaries)

Shanghai International Port Group

China Merchants Group (various subsidiaries)

Bank of Communications Financial Leasing

China Development Bank (various branches)

Shanghai Pudong Development Bank (various branches)

Shanghai Pudong Development Bank Financial Leasing

Jiangsu Yangzijiang Shipbuilding

Shanghai SWS Shipbuilding Co., Ltd.

Guangzhou Wenchong Shipbuilding Group

China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC group) (various subsidiaries)

Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries (ZPMC)

Macsteel International Far East Ltd

Cido Shipping Co Ltd

Tata Steel

XPO Logistics


CMS provides a ‘client-focused‘ service to freight forwarders, P&I clubs, port terminals and cargo interests, among others. It has a notable strength in shipping litigation and arbitration, and is extremely active in ship arrest matters. Andrew Horton and Steven Wise co-head the team, which is highlighted for its ability to find ‘extremely innovative ways to obtain the best results for clients’. Helen Tang has excellent credentials among insurers in relation to cargo claims. John Butler is now at Wikborg Rein in London.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Horton; Steven Wise

Other key lawyers:

Helen Tang


Excellent shipping specialists in Hong Kong who are client focused and come up with extremely innovative ways to obtain the best results for clients.’

Andrew Horton is a true leader in his field. He comes up with extremely innovative strategies, is always available to discuss a matter at any time regardless of the issue involved.’

Steven Wise is calm, reasonable and solutions-oriented.’

Key clients

CCB Financial Leasing Corporation Limited

Charterers’ P&I Club

COSCO Shipping


Noble Group Ltd

Pacific Bulk Supramax Co Ltd


The UK P&I Club

The Swedish Club

Work highlights

  • Representing a Korean terminal operator and its insurers in respect of a claim against a vessel that collided with the Terminal Facilities causing $100m in damages.
  • Acting for PRC state-owned shipping company and its subsidiary in several ongoing disputes with minority shareholders under a shareholder agreement relating to a joint-venture company incorporated in Hong Kong which operates semi-submersible heavy-lift vessels.
  • Acting for the lead insurer, six cedant insurers and the following reinsurance market in a $12m allision claim in attempting to recovering the losses caused by an allision of a vessel with the berth.

Hill Dickinson Hong Kong

Hill Dickinson Hong Kong provides a 'very responsive, user-friendly and cost-effective' service across the gamut of wet and dry shipping matters. The Hong Kong team comprises of four partners and numerous 'very gifted and diligent associates'. The firm is also able to leverage its wider presence in other key global shipping centres in the provision of cross-border advice. Triple-qualified across Hong Kong, PRC and UK, the 'exceptional' Edward Liu is noted for his 'effective depth of knowledge and strategic thinking', particularly in the context of assisting entities in Greater China with resolving disputes through international arbitration and litigation. The 'incredibly well regarded' Damien Laracy is equally adept at handling wet and dry shipping cases, and is sought after for advice on ship mortgage enforcement and ship arrests. Antony Cowie excels at advising clients on corporate and finance-related shipping work, including in the context of ship sale and purchase agreements. Bryan O’Hare and 'very hardworking' associate Maggie Lee are also recommended.


‘Hill Dickinson Hong Kong has an outstanding shipping disputes team comprising of experienced lawyers advising on both wet and dry cases.’

‘They are, collectively, responsive, well-informed, astute tacticians, and very good value in comparison to some others against whom they might compete. They are an attractive offering for any client.’

‘The team is very responsive, user-friendly, and cost-effective. They are willing to respect the views from the clients, and discuss the issues.’

‘Damien Laracy is incredibly well regarded in the field, and leads with quiet assurance.’

‘Edward Liu is the reason why we choose to work with the firm. With his Mainland Chinese background, in addition to his triple qualifications in Hong Kong, PRC, and England & Wales, Edward has the very unique skill set and competitive advantage in the legal market in Hong Kong.’

‘Edward Liu is well known and very regarded by the industry, locally and globally. Edward knows the industry very well and can provide very logical comments taking commercial items into consideration.’

‘The exceptional Edward Liu has an excellent knowledge of the law, a fine instinct for the right answer; a wily and astute strategist; extraordinarily diligent and thorough; ceaselessly energetic; and incredibly well connected within the Hong Kong and Chinese mainland markets.’

‘Maggie Lee is very hardworking, and becoming more knowledgeable and capable.’

Key clients

River Trade Terminal c/o Tokio Marine London

Metropolis Cruise

Rizzo Bottiglieri De Carlini-Armatori S.p.A. c/o Steamship Insurance Management Services Limited

FS International Limited

Toll Global Forwarding (Hong Kong) Limited

Toll Global Forwarding (Germany) BMBH

Toll Global Forwarding (Malaysia) SDN. BHD

Toll Global Forwarding (Netherlands) BV

Toll Global Forwarding Group (UK) Limited

Logistics Worldwide Limited

Seamaster Global Forwarding (Hong Kong) Limited

Yiu Lian Dockyards Limited as Insured and China Taiping Insurance (HK) Company Limited as Insurer

China Bai Gui International Trade Limited

COSCO (HK) Shipping Co Ltd c/o Thomas Miller Defence Ltd

Cargo Container Line Ltd

Changfeng Shipping Holdings Limited

Grand Bulk Carrier Co. Ltd c/o West of England Insurance Services (Luxembourg) S.A

Howse Williams

Independent Hong Kong-based firm Howse Williams handles a significant range and volume of wet and dry shipping litigation for clients such as ship owners, freight forwarders and P&I clubs. In addition to generating mandates on a standalone basis, the firm also regularly picks up referral work. Founding partner Chris Howse is experienced in representing shipping clients in litigation before the Hong Kong courts, as well as in international arbitration proceedings throughout Asia. Howse has a wide-ranging workload, with particularly niche expertise in handling problems arising from the shipment of coal, iron ore, nickel ore and fluorspar. Howse co-heads the practice with David Coogans, who brings his litigation and subject matter knowledge to bear in an array of wet and dry mandates, including collision, salvage and pollution cases. The firm also has a dedicated medico-legal department and is well-placed to advise on shipping-related personal injury matters, which includes handling coroners' enquiries arising from fatalities on ships and at port terminals.

Practice head(s):

Chris Howse; David Coogans


Whilst their strengths are on the liability side, they can also assist with reviewing the insurance contract terms and conditions.’

William Leung is a very good and experienced expert to deal with complex marine claims matters.’

Reed Smith Richards Butler

Reed Smith Richards Butler is instructed by P&I clubs, ship owners and charterers as a result of its team’s ‘extensive legal knowledge and impressive understanding of the shipping industry’. The practice is led by Lianjun Li, who has ‘unrivalled legal expertise‘, according to a client. Another name to note at the firm is the ‘thoughtful and commercially-mindedMin Li, who is adept at representing shipping entities in disputes, including in London, Hong Kong and Singapore-based arbitration proceedings. Peter Glover is a qualified Master Mariner who also has expertise in contentious matters, including in collision cases. Jason Toms joined Stephenson Harwood.

Practice head(s):

Lianjun Li


‘They possess extensive legal knowledge and impressive understanding of the shipping industry, which generates confidence that they will guide us through the complexities of high-stakes matters to secure the best outcome for us.’

The team’s understanding of the entire industry and rich experience in serving shipping companies enables them to provide more efficient services. They are also willing to make flexible arrangements in terms of cost arrangements according to the special requirements of customers.

The shipping team has rich experience in maritime affairs and is familiar with market trends and requirements.’

‘As well as benefiting from strong international credentials, the team also deeply understands China’s national conditions and market characteristics.’

This team has a number of experienced lawyers that are able to provide very expert legal consulting on English and American law, as well as having a sophisticated understanding of how things work in China and of the Chinese market, enabling them to provide clients in China with timely, efficient, reliable, high-quality legal services.’

‘Lianjun Li’s strengths lie not only in his unrivalled legal expertise, but also his focus on our business interests and securing the best outcome as efficiently as possible. His thoroughness in understanding the facts of a case assures us that he will be able to anticipate the other side’s arguments and devise creative solutions.’

‘Min Li is very keen to provide thoughtful and commercially-minded advice to protect his clients’ best interests. His legal knowledge is also impressive, but it is his ability to identify the key issues of a case and offer sensible solutions at short notice without compromising on the quality that sets him apart in the shipping world.’

Lianjun Li is an experienced senior lawyer in the industry with extensive experience in providing litigation and arbitration services for fields including international trade, business, transport, and shipping. He has an excellent understanding of the legal environment both inside and outside China. He provides legal services in an incisive and purposeful manner and offers very constructive advice. He is also an experienced arbitrator who is able to analyse and advise on issues from a variety of different perspectives.’

Stephenson Harwood

Andrew Rigden Green and Elizabeth Sloane co-head Stephenson Harwood‘s team, which excels in handling local and pan-Asian shipping and international trade disputes; it demonstrates ‘strong knowledge of shipping law and a practical approach to the resolution of disputes’. Particular areas of strength include cross-border enforcement matters, such as injunctions and forum challenges, and shipbuilding. In April 2021, of counsel Jason Toms joined from Reed Smith Richards Butler.

Other key lawyers:

Jason Toms; Cindy Ko


‘Stephenson Harwood Hong Kong has a very capable team, with strong shipping law knowledge and a practical approach to the resolution of disputes.’

‘Personal approach to the client and attentiveness to client’s needs. Always professional in their communications and conduct. High-quality work product.’

‘The team has exceptional maritime industry knowledge and experience at partner level and substantial knowledge at associate level. This makes the team a go-to resource.’

‘Andrew Rigden Green has considerable experience and is a pleasure to work with.’

‘Andrew Rigden Green is detail-oriented, but very much capable of seeing the “big picture”, always willing to discuss an alternative approach to issues to ensure the most effective and practical solution is found.’

Elizabeth Sloane takes a commercial approach, while also having in depth knowledge of shipping law.’

‘Andrew Rigden Green and Elizabeth Sloane are highly experienced and knowledgeable. They are easy to work with, accessible and very responsive which is highly valued for me as an in-house general counsel.’

Key clients

Compnia Sud Americana de Vapores (“CSAV”)

Everbright Fortune International Leasing

Guodian Shipping (Hong Kong) Co. Ltd

Michharry and Company Nigeria Limited (“MCN”).

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

Pantainer (H.K.) Limited

Panalpina World Transport (Japan) Ltd

Work highlights

  • Acting for Damco Hong Kong Limited prosecuting and defending numerous claims in the Hong Kong Courts that have been commenced following a fire that broke out in a warehouse at the Tuen Mun River Trade Terminal in Hong Kong.
  • Acting for a client in relation to an application to the Hong Kong High Court to set aside an award of costs made by an LMAA tribunal in respect of a Hong Kong seated arbitration.
  • Advising clients on the claims/disputes arising out of an incident involving more than 1,800 containers overboard when the vessel reportedly sailed into a severe storm and suffered parametric rolling.

Clyde & Co LLP

Clyde & Co LLP serves as a one-stop-shop to Chinese and international clients seeking recourse through litigation and arbitration across a myriad of contentious matters, including cargo and insurance claims, charterparty, collisions, maritime salvage and casualties. The Hong Kong team is jointly led by Matthew Lam and Anthony Woo.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Lam; Anthony Woo


‘The team is customer focused, is able to identify the issues and provide practical advice.’

Matthew Lam is analytical but can be commercially-minded at the same time.’

‘Rita Hung is good at dealing with regulators and can provide practical advice.’

Customer-focused. Ability to identify the issues and provide practical advice.’

DLA Piper

DLA Piper attracts a strong flow of work from Chinese and international clients, including large shipping and logistics companies. The team is praised for its ability to provide 'client-centric legal solutions in a clear and friendly manner’. Ernest Yang and Kevin Chan co-head the group in Hong Kong, which operates on an integrated basis with the Beijing and Shanghai offices. On the contentious side, the firm is prominent in shipping litigation and arbitration in Greater China and elsewhere internationally. The team's expertise includes casualty and salvage cases, as well as commodity disputes and cargo claims. Elsewhere, the firm is also sought after for advice on non-contentious matters, such as the sale and purchase of ships, shipping finance and shipbuilding.

Practice head(s):

Ernest Yang; Kevin Chan

Other key lawyers:

Tom Van Hoof; Anna Wong


DLA Piper has a very strong and capable team of lawyers, who consistently provide exceptional, in-depth, client-centric legal solutions in a clear and friendly manner.’

The team has very rich practical experience in the field of maritime arbitration and can proficiently use relevant professional theoretical knowledge and provide customers with targeted dispute response plans based on the business demands of customers in specific cases.’

‘Ernest Yang is an exceptionally bright lawyer with a wealth of experience in shipping law matters. He is responsive and a pleasure to work with.’

A very sensible, commercial team led by Kevin Chan. Good lawyers with good judgment and client management skills.

Key clients

Bank of Communications Co.

Samsung Heavy Industries Co.

Tsui & Co

Led by the 'knowledgeable and user-friendly' Sam TsuiTsui & Co has successfully developed a strong reputation in the local market for shipping litigation and arbitration. Its work covers personal injury cases, as well as salvage and collision matters, among other areas. Tsui is a chartered arbitrator and full member of the Hong Kong Maritime Arbitration Group.

Practice head(s):

Sam Tsui


‘In the realm of shipping law disputes, Tsui & Co is a well regarded local firm, which punches above its weight due to its competence, agility, experience and hunger.’

‘I work with Sam Tsui whenever I have disputes that have to be resolved in Hong Kong. He is responsive, efficient, knowledgeable and user-friendly. He takes care of clients’ interests as if they were his own.’

Sam Tsui. Very experienced and competent in dealing with HK and London arbitration, and despite his seniority within the firm, he is very hands-on with each matter entrusted in his care.’

Key clients

Dayang (HK) Marine Shipping Co Ltd

Itiro Corporation BVI

China Joy Shipping Inc