Shipping and transport in South Africa


With offices in the key maritime jurisdictions of Durban and Cape Town, Bowmans is renowned for it’s shipping and transport practice. The shipping team has a client base predominantly consisting of marine insurers, shipowners, commodity traders and banks specialising in ship financing. Core areas of strength includes casualty and emergency response matters and the prosecution and defence of maritime claims. Craig Cunningham heads the shipping and logistics practice and has strengths in arrest, casualty and ship financing matters. Andrew Pike specialises in ports and terminals and Mark van Velden has vast experience in charterparty matters. Jeremy Prain is a notable shipping lawyer and the team saw further growth with the arrival of Michael Asherson from Shepstone & Wylie. Claudia Jackson is a specialist in the aviation sector.

Practice head(s):

Craig Cunningham

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Pike; Mark van Velden; Jeremy Prain; Michael Asherson; Claudia Jackson; Lana Stockton


‘Great response. Quick, clever and appropriate advice. Utterly reliable.’

‘Craig Cunningham is a top guy and gets it. Lana Stockton is a recent partner. Very good – commercial, collaborative’

Key clients

HSBC Bank plc

Credit Suisse Group

Deutsche Bank AG

Macquarie Group

North of England P&I Club


UK P&I Club


The Charterers Club

West of England

Shipowners Club

American Club

Norwegian Hull Club

Watson, Farley & Williams



Reed Smith



Oldendorff Carriers

MUR Shipping


MSC Cruises

Princess Cruise Lines

K Line

Minerva Bunkering

World Fuel Services

Louis Dreyfus Company

Mercuria Energy Trading

Cofco International

The South African Maritime Safety Authority

South32 Coal Holdings

Work highlights

  • Obtained an order for the judicial sale of the mv Cape Providence following it’s arrest at Saldana in terms of the breach of a fleet mortgage against Providence Navigation Limited, one of the borrowers in respect of the loan agreement and security documentation in the accelerated amount of over USD120 million.
  • Acted for the owners, operators, Hull and P&I insurers of the MFV Geo Searcher, following the vessel’s encounter with an uncharted underwater obstruction.
  • Represented the charterers of the mv Sea Express in proceedings following an engine breakdown to gain access to the vessel outside the port of Richards Bay to investigate the cause of the breakdown.

Webber Wentzel

Webber Wentzel is one of South Africa’s most reputable shipping practices, advising on both wet and dry matters. The team’s breadth of expertise spans shipping litigation, marine casualty handling, arrests and enforcement of maritime claims. The firm also provides asset finance and regulatory compliance advice to clients in the aviation, rail and road sectors.  Andre Bowley is a highly experienced maritime lawyer as is Gavin Fitzmaurice who is it at the forefront of maritime litigation. Scott Edmundson has expertise in asset financing within the transport sectors and Patrick Holloway is also an experienced maritime litigator.

Other key lawyers:

Andre Bowley; Gavin Fitzmaurice; Patrick Holloway; Scott Edmundson; Neerasha Singh


‘Webber Wentzel’s shipping team adopts a hands-on and pragmatic approach, combining considerable legal and industry knowledge to provide clients with a high standard of service.’

‘Gavin Fitzmaurice is thorough, responsive and consistently provides sound advice and practical solutions.’

‘An excellent team led by amazing managing partner Gavin Fitzmaurice. They are simply the best in their fields. They are very responsive and very user friendly. As soon as I have a problem in South Africa, I would call them to ensure they are not conflicted. They can solve any problem promptly. It is such a delight to work with such a diverse team including extraordinary individuals at all levels.’

‘Patrick is an excellent lawyer who has vast experience in the field. He is very well respected in the industry and he is very commercial. He is hard working and understands how the clients works. He works hard to find the best solution for the clients. He can even make the most difficult clients happy with his creative solutions and commercial thinking. I would say to the clients “go and get him before your opponent instructs him.”’

‘Very good and practical advice. Very pleasant lawyers to work with who have a problem solving mindset. The pricing is fair and in accordance with market standards.’

‘Neerasha Singh is a very skilled and good lawyer. She is excellent in providing the advice and answers one is looking for. A very friendly and practical person. She is a pleasure to work with.’

‘One of the best maritime firms in South Africa – would always be my first port of call.’

‘Andre Bowley is excellent. He is an extremely able lawyer and also creative and commercial which is crucial.’

Key clients

Transnet National Ports Authority

Wilmar South Africa (Pty)

Marsh Africa (Pty) Ltd

Union Bank of India (UK) Limited

RS Bulk Limited

MS First Capital Insurance Limited

Atakas Ticaret Ve Nakliyat AS

Karpowership International

Hayfin Services LLP

African Rail Industry Association

Durban Coal Terminal Company (Pty) Ltd

Pequod Associates

Work highlights

  • Represented TNPA to defend the largest maritime claim in South Africa’s legal history arising out of the grounding and total loss of the cape-size bulk carrier mv “Smart” which ran aground whilst departing from the port of Richards Bay.
  • Represented Wilmar South Africa (Pty) Ltd in relation to claims for the theft of soya beans under a marine cargo insurance policy entered with Lion of Africa Insurance Company Limited.
  • Advised TNPA in relation to a claim by the owners of the vessel “CMA CGM SAMSON” for damages to the vessel and in relation to a recovery action on behalf of TNPA for damages caused by the vessel to the port’s breakwater.


The shipping, ports and logistics team at ENSafrica is prominent in marine matters with expertise in casualty response and insurance. The firm has extensive shipping litigation experience from enforcement of maritime claims and mortgage foreclosures to bills of lading disputes. Durban-based Tony Norton heads the department and has considerable experience in maritime law. Michael Tucker, located in Cape Town, has particular expertise in liability and marine insurance. Kate Pitman also has shipping expertise and executive Jacqui Kaufmann is another name to note.

Practice head(s):

Tony Norton

Other key lawyers:

Michael Tucker; Kate Pitman; Jacqui Kaufmann


‘They provide balanced advice laying out alternatives in simple and clear language. Always readily available and approachable.’

‘Tony Norton is one of the smartest men I have met, offers quick commercial advice. Kate Pitman is well connected and has an intrinsic knowledge of all shipping elements and how best to solve a problem using this knowledge.’

‘The individuals have a wealth of experience and get to the heart of a problem with the best way to resolve at the earliest opportunity. They are very approachable and know what we are looking for from the advice they provide.’

‘They have an excellent variety of specialisms. The team are dedicated, hard working, commercially minded, reliable and personable.’

‘Mike Tucker is an excellent manager of complicated cases with a variety of moving parts. He works very hard and goes the extra mile.’

‘Jacqui Kauffman has been great to work with, she is dedicated, knowledgeable, helpful and always ready to help.’

‘Both Tony and Kate are recognised as a formidable team in themselves.’

‘The ENSafrica shipping and transport team are all able to look past the transactional nature of shipping, to build relationships with the people involved.’

Key clients

MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company SA (MSC)

Steamship Insurance Management Services Limited

Bonanza Schiffahrtgesellschaft MBH & CO

KG and Fortysixth Phoenix Shipping INC

Minmetals Logistics Zhejiang Co. Ltd

Charterers P&I Club

Odfjell Asia III Pte Ltd

Gard AS

The Standard P&I Club

Generali Italia Spa

ICON Group via Reed Smith

Allianz Middle Eastern Ship Management LLC

The Shipowners’ Protection and Indemnity Association (Luxembourg)

Erne Shipping Inc. via UK P & I Club


Korea Shipping Corporation

South African Association of Ships Operators and Agents (SAASOA)

Business South Africa (BSA)

Linsen Nambi Bunker Services (Pty) Ltd

Work highlights

  • Assisted BSA and, more specifically, SAASOA, to ensure that the logistics supply chain aligned to the objectives sought to be achieved by government through the Covid-19 lockdown in South Africa.
  • Advised the bareboat charterers of the SM New York (“the vessel”) on extensive damage caused by high winds through Durban port and assisted in defending proceedings commenced by various parties.
  • Acted for MSC and the underwriters of MSC CHIARA in an inter-ship collision matter in Beira, Mozambique.

Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc

Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc is highly regarded for its maritime casualty practice and its expertise in the insurance sector. The team’s expertise includes commercial drafting for port service providers, foreign dispute resolution, risk management and demurrage claims. Director Malcolm Hartwell heads the transport and casualty response team while Andrew Robinson has experience in the litigation aspects of transport law. Director Peter Lamb is particularly noted for his expertise in policy coverage and subrogation recoveries. Carol Holness is strong on the litigation front.

Practice head(s):

Malcolm Hartwell

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Robinson; Peter Lamb; Carol Holness

Key clients

Members of Parakou Shipping Group

Seguradora Internacional de Mocambique

Navigate Underwriting Managers

Gard P&I Club

NCP Alcohols (Pty) Ltd

SA Marine Insurance Market

Protea Chemicals (division of Omnia Group (Pty) Ltd)

Reload Aquarius Shipping International (Pty) Ltd

Bidvest Port Operations

Work highlights

  • Assisted with general average security and with claims against the owners, contractual carriers and potentially liable third party cargo owners following the cargo fire on board the mv APL Austria.
  • Acted for all the SA marine insurers involved in three casualties in 2020 off the SA and Mozambique coasts.
  • Assisted Protea Chemicals, as the insured, and the insurer in identifying which policy was in play at the exact moment the styrene cargo was contaminated when being shipped by Protea Chemicals to BidTank Terminals in Durban.

Clyde & Co LLP

Clyde & Co LLP has an established shipping presence in South Africa. The firm has an excellent track record in cross-border matters concerning disputes, arrests and transactional matters. Arthur James heads the practice.

Practice head(s):

Arthur James

Other key lawyers:

Nick Veldman

Key clients

Global Marketing Systems Dubai (GMS) as agent of Nadella Corporation

Lion of Africa Insurance Company Ltd

The Ministry of the Armed Forces (French Government)

Intertek Group

Glencore PLC

The Comarco Group

Certain Underwriters at Lloyds

Carabobo Shipping Pte Ltd (beneficially owned by PetroChina Company Limited)

Cox Yeats

Cox Yeats has developed an excellent reputation in the fields of maritime, international trade and insurance law and deals with all aspects of wet and dry shipping. This includes handling ship arrests and litigation as well as general advisory work. Andrew Clark heads the team and is supported by Tamryn Simpson and consultant Michael Posemann.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Clark

Other key lawyers:

Tamryn Simpson; Michael Posemann; Laura Maitre


Andrew Clark has proved to be a safe pair of hands in the course of a very lengthy and testing piece of litigation in South Africa. He is very thorough in his approach.

Commercially oriented, very well versed in the law.

Key clients

WK Webster & Co Ltd

Santam Limited

West of England

Maersk A/S

Global Marketing Systems (Dubai) (“GMS (Dubai))

The South African Association of Ship Builders & Repairers

North of England P&I Association

African Marine Solutions Group Proprietary Limited (“AMSOL”)

Hitech Chemicals (Pty) Ltd

Louis Dreyfus Company

Foskor (Pty) Ltd

Santova Logistics (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd

RSA Insurance Group PLC

Columbus Stainless (Pty) Ltd

Through Transport Club (TT Club): International Transport and Logistics Insurance

Vopak South Africa