Shipping and transport in South Africa

Bowmans

Bowmans has one of the largest teams in South Africa dedicated to the shipping and transport sector. The group is principally located in Cape Town and Durban, and has seen further growth in aviation following the arrival of Heather Manson to the Johannesburg office in 2019; aviation specialist Claudia Jackson also joined from Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc in 2020. Shipping expert and department head Craig Cunningham is at the forefront of the sector, acting on numerous landmark disputes, including headline casualty cases. Andrew Pike has emerged as a leading force in ports and terminals work, including advising on the proposed Durban Cruise Terminal. Mark van Velden is a leader in charterparty matters and Jeremy Prain is a rounded and versatile shipping specialist.

Practice head(s):

Craig Cunningham

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Pike; Jeremy Prain; Mark van Velden

Testimonials

‘Responsive, human, personable, knowledgeable, commercial, professional and a practical approach. ’

‘Jeremy Prain is always responsive, commercial and helpful. He helps to ensure assistance in multiple African jurisdictions.’ 

‘Jeremy Prain is very user-friendly, experienced, commercially-minded and responsive.’

‘Mark van Velden is experienced in shipping matter. He is approachable and sensible with a pragmatic approach to problems.’

Key clients

HSBC Bank

Credit Suisse Group

Credit Europe Bank

North of England P&I Club

Watson, Farley & Williams

UK P&I Club (aka Thomas Miller)

Gard

Ince & Co

HFW

Reed Smith

MUR Shipping

The Charterers P&I Club

Work highlights

  • Advised MSC Cruises of Geneva and its subsidiary KwaZulu Cruise Terminal on the new proposed Durban Cruise Terminal.
  • Acted for the P&I insurers and owners of the MV Hispania Graeca, which suffered a main engine breakdown in the south Atlantic and was brought into Cape Town to carry out investigations.
  • Acted for West of England, the P&I insurers of the ADVANTAGE SKY, in an application to set aside the arrest, challenging the alleged association between the ship arrested and other ships in respect of which the claim arose.

Webber Wentzel

Webber Wentzel has a highly credible shipping practice, along with leading expertise in aviation, road and rail. The firm continues to impress in shipping arrests, collisions, casualty responses and vessel charter disputes. It is also at the forefront of asset finance in the aviation, maritime and rail sectors. Andre Bowley is an experienced maritime lawyer and Gavin Fitzmaurice is at the forefront of maritime litigation and port law. Patrick Holloway is another seasoned maritime litigation expert and has a fine international reputation. Scott Edmundson  is a leading figure in asset finance, notably across the aviation, rail and maritime industries.

Practice head(s):

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

Testimonials

‘Webber Wentzel has been proactive, provide us with regular updates and provide us with as clear and comprehensive advice as possible.’ 

‘Full scope of shipping services offered. Great knowledge of the law and procedure, good contacts across the sector.’

‘They are the firm that I will go to first out of the various maritime firms in South Africa. They are very good on the law, easy to deal with, commercial and practical and creative when it comes to finding solutions.’

‘Patrick Holloway stands out, not simply because his knowledge of the law and procedure is impressive, but he is commercially minded and approachable. Put simply, he is a charmer who turns into a fighter when he needs to. His vast experience of both the judges and opponent lawyers is an added benefit.’

‘Patrick Holloway is very quick to react and takes on the task at hand as though it was his own problem to solve.’

‘Andre Bowley was very analytical, straightforward to deal with, very engaged and responsive and available literally 24/7.’

‘Andre Bowley is a top quality black-letter lawyer. Many of his contemporaries are all to quick to pass the buck to counsel. Andre doesn’t. A pleasure to work with.’

‘Andre Bowley is excellent and very highly regarded. He is extremely knowledgeable on the law, creative, commercial, easy to deal with and will always make himself available. He gets results and is hugely liked by clients.’

Key clients

Hayfin Services

P&I Associates South Africa (The London P&I Club)

Durban Coal Terminal Company

Hellenic Bank Public Company

Anglo Atlantic Chartering

Transnet National Ports Authority

Siem Shipping UK

Balance Catamarans

Union Bank of India (UK)

Finergy Petroleum SA

Pequod Associates

Absa Bank

Swissport South Africa

Work highlights

  • Acted for Hayfin Services, the mortgagee of Suezmax tanker Advantage Sky, in arresting the vessel at Durban after an acceleration of the loan secured by the mortgage.
  • Advised Finergy Petroleum regarding various disputes and in relation to general commercial matters arising from a tender for the supply of petroleum products to Imopetro.
  • Advised on and acted for the aircraft lessor and lender community comprising almost the entire fleet of aircraft for Comair  and South African Airways in their business rescue proceedings.

ENSafrica

ENSafrica has demonstrated a genuine commitment to the shipping and transport segment, with notable expertise in marine insurance and casualty response. It has an outstanding record in shipping litigation, including enforcement of maritime claims and ship arrests. Department head Tony Norton has considerable experience in maritime law, and Michael Tucker is another seasoned figure with a fine record in marine insurance and liability claims. Sean Lederman is a leading banking lawyer and is noted for aircraft finance.

Practice head(s):

Tony Norton

Other key lawyers:

Michael Tucker; Kate Pitman; Sean Lederman; Jacqui Kaufmann

Testimonials

‘Even in those jurisdictions where ENSafrica do not have their own offices, they are capable to properly advise their clients on critical issues locally and they can lead the client to take proper and pragmatic decisions.’

‘Mike Tucker is available, prompt and competent with great skills and expertise in the shipping sector. Advice is given in the correct format, concise and straight to the point.’

‘Jacqui Kaufmann is also very responsive, efficient and coordinated with the partner in charge and the team.’

Key clients

Bonanza Schiffahrtgesellschaft

Britannia P&I

Charterers P&I Club

CMA CGM

ENMA

Erne Shipping via UK P&I Club

Generalia Italia

ICON Amazing, ICON Fantastic and ICON Octavian via Reed Smith

Irvin and Johnson

KG and Fortysixth Phoenix Shipping  via GARD

Korea Shipping Corporation

Maersk Line

Minmetals Logistics Zhejiang Co

MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company

Ocean 7

Oceana Group

Odfjell Asia III via Gard

PetroChina Singapore

QBE British Marine

Shipowners’ Mutual P&I

Teekay Shipping

The Standard P&I Club

Viking Fishing Company (Deepsea)

Zim Line

Work highlights

  • Assisted Business for South Africa (B4SA) and, more specifically, the South African Association of Ships Operators and Agents (SAASOA) to ensure efficiencies through the COVID-19 lockdown in South Africa.
  • Acted for the owners and bareboat charterers of MV Julian, and her hull and machinery and P&I Club underwriters in respect of an allision of the vessel with the quayside and bulk loading appliance in the Durban harbour.
  • Applied for and granted an order for the arrest of the VLCC Advantage Sky, for amounts owing in damages and breaches of various bareboat charter parties for substantial sums outstanding.

Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc

Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc is a market leader in maritime casualty matters. It has established connections to the marine insurance market and is unique in having a master mariner, Malcolm Hartwell, at director level and as head of the practice. The firm has continued to be at the forefront of casualties off South Africa. Mozambique and other sub-Saharan Africa jurisdictions. It is also prominent in port issues, including development projects, regulatory matters and disputes. Andrew Robinson is another experienced litigator with a strong emphasis on shipping and maritime cases.

Practice head(s):

Malcolm Hartwell

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Robinson; Peter Lamb; Carol Holness; Yasmine Wilson

Testimonials

‘NRF have exceptional knowledge of all aspects of maritime law and regulations as well as the unique environment that exists in South African ports. They understand how the ports operate and how best to deal with all parties involved from a very practical standpoint so are able to offer real solutions and sound advice.’

‘They are used to dealing with the varied and unique challenges that the South African shipping environment presents so are good at thinking laterally and looking at a problem from all angles to provide the best advice.’

‘Andrew Robinson has a wealth of knowledge about all maritime matters and his intimate knowledge of the South African ports environment is extraordinary. His experience is invaluable.’

‘Andrew Robinson is very practical and sensible and will present you with all the options and information. He will offer advice as to what he believes is the course to be taken, but ultimately respects our decision and will make it work no matter what it is. He is also very well connected within the legal and maritime communities.’

Malcolm Hartwell is a skilled maritime attorney. His experience as a master mariner is incredibly valuable as he is able to offer insight into matters that may not be apparent to a maritime lawyer from a purely legal background. He is a great source of technical expertise.’

‘Carol Holness understands the complex framework that we operate in as an international oil company and how our internal processes work. Her advice is tailored to take account of these factors and she is able to draw on required inputs from the right part of our business, this adds real value to the support we receive.

Yasmine Wilson is young but is incredibly detailed oriented and organised and is an absolute pleasure to work with. She consistently delivers on time and always exceeds expectations.

Key clients

Members of Parakou Shipping Group

South African Marine Insurance Market : mv APL Austria

Seguradora Internacional de Mocambique

Members of Yara Group

Airports Company South Africa

Deloitte Netherlands

KPMG Botswana

Vedanta Resources

MD Anderson Service Corporation

Rebosis Property Fund

MEB Energy

Chubb Insurance South Africa

Work highlights

  • Advising Deloitte Netherlands in relation to South African law issues arising out of the Steinhoff collapse and scandal.
  • Advised Vedanta Resources Holdings Limited in an interim injunction against a foreign entity domiciled out of South Africa, in a first of its kind court application in South Africa, granted at a stage before the Arbitral Tribunal had been constituted.
  • Advised Rebosis Property Fund Ltd in review proceedings brought by the SIU.

Shepstone & Wylie

Shepstone & Wylie has the richest shipping history in the market with close links to shipowners, P&I clubs and charters. With significant teams in both Durban and Cape Town, it boasts the presence of senior figures Krish Reddy and Shane DwyerQuintus van der Merwe heads the shipping and logistics team. Former partner Edmund Greiner has joined Fugro Marine Services in the Netherlands.

Practice head(s):

Quintus van der Merwe 

Other key lawyers:

Krish Reddy; Shane Dwyer 

Clyde & Co LLP

Clyde & Co LLP has an outstanding global reputation in shipping and maritime matters supported by an impressive team in Cape Town. The group has close connections to hull insurers, shipowners and commodity traders, among other clients. The team has a broad-based practice and a steady pipeline of significant engagements. Arthur James is an experienced figure in contentious shipping.

Practice head(s):

Arthur James