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The Shipping Law Review 2021 – Eighth Edition

28 June 2021

The Shipping Law Review is an important legal book for the shipping sector, edited again by HFW.

We are delighted to announce the publication of the eighth edition of this book, which is a cross-jurisdictional companion for those handling shipping disputes and contains a summary of key shipping law provisions in 33 countries. HFW has contributed the chapters on Australia, China, England & Wales, France, Hong Kong, Switzerland, the UAE and US. The firm has also co-authored chapters on the shipping law of Greece and Singapore. The Brazil chapter this year has been provided by our colleagues at CAL.

HFW has provided eleven chapters on important developments affecting the global shipping industry in relation to environmental regulation, sanctions, competition and regulatory law, offshore, logistics, ports and terminals, shipbuilding, marine insurance, piracy, decommissioning, and ship finance. Our editors’ preface highlights what we see as the current key challenges and opportunities for the sector.

Please download HFW’s chapters of the Shipping Law Review below for free, or if you would like entire book register here.

The Shipping Law Review: Shipping and the Environment

Thomas Dickson

The environmental impact of modern shipping has long been acknowledged to be a negative externality of the industry. However, it is only in relatively recent times that efforts – both state-driven and voluntary – have been focused on actively mitigating or reducing these negative effects. Regulations, primarily emanating from the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization (IMO), have been introduced to address aspects such as oil pollution risk, waste disposal and emissions. The rise of environmental regulation has highlighted the need for operators to maximise efficiency to maintain competitiveness. Although compliance is an administrative and financial burden, it is clear that regulations are a necessary step towards the long-term sustainability of the industry and for the wellbeing of the planet.

Download the chapter here

The Shipping Law Review: International Trade Sanctions

Daniel Martin

At the turn of the century, international trade sanctions was a niche area, of limited interest to the great majority of commercial organisations. Fast-forward to today and they have become a board-level issue for almost every company engaged in international commerce because of the number of countries targeted by sanctions, the breadth of the restrictions and the consequences if they are breached. There have been a number of high-profile enforcement actions in the recent past, with fines running into millions and billions of US dollars.

Download the chapter here

The Shipping Law Review: Competition and Regulatory Law

Anthony Woolich and Daniel Martin

Parties’ freedom to contract may be restricted by a number of factors, the most significant of which for the maritime sector are likely to be regulatory controls relating to competition law, anti-bribery legislation and international trade sanctions. The first two categories of restrictions are considered in this chapter and the third is considered in the ‘International Trade Sanctions’ chapter.

Download the chapter here

The Shipping Law Review: Offshore

Paul Dean, Alistair Loweth and Nicholas Kazaz

The development of the offshore oil industry in the 20th century gave rise to the need for specialised contracts for the hire of vessels in this technical (often highly technical) sector of shipping. Beginning with SUPPLYTIME in the mid 1970s, there are now numerous very specific charter parties for use within the industry. These include HEAVYCON 2007, a voyage charter party for the heavy-lift trade that contains a ‘knock-for-knock’ regime for semi-submersible vessels carrying cargo, such as jack-up rigs on deck, WINDTIME, a time charter party for high-speed personnel craft used in the offshore wind sector, and BARGEHIRE, a time charter party for the hire of non-self-propelled barges. BIMCO continues to update and introduce new forms for use by the offshore industry, including revisions in 2021 of TOWCON, TOWHIRE and BARGEHIRE, and the introduction of ASVTIME, a time charter party for accommodation support vessels.

Download the chapter here

The Shipping Law Review: Ocean Logistics

Catherine Emsellem-Rope

At its simplest, logistics is about getting the right goods to the right place at the right time and managing the information and documentation flow to facilitate this task. Whether a company is a supermarket moving goods in containers, a contractor building a new facility and moving materials and equipment to the project site, an energy company moving oil in bulk, or a trading house moving coal, some logistics will be involved in one form or another. In this chapter we focus on the carriage of goods by sea, but other modes of transportation (inland waterways, air, road, rail), multimodal transport, warehousing and storage, and value-added services (such as consolidation, co-packing and supply-chain management) that are ancillary to these activities are all encompassed by the term ‘logistics’.

Download the chapter here

The Shipping Law Review: Ports and Terminals

Matthew Wilmshurst

The United Kingdom was once a manufacturing powerhouse, exporting goods across the globe. The advent of containerisation in the middle of the past century led to a significant change in the UK economy, and the United Kingdom has become a net importer of manufactured products, bringing in US$427.5 billion of physical goods annually. Being an island nation, terminals are a vital cog in the UK’s economy – 95 per cent of UK imports and exports arrive and depart by sea. In 2019, UK ports handled 486.1 million tonnes of cargo, of which approximately 65 per cent was inbound traffic,a significant proportion of which would have been manufactured goods destined for the shelves of UK retail outlets.

Download the chapter here

The Shipping Law Review: Shipbuilding

Vanessa Tattersall and Simon Blows

Shipbuilding is a cyclical business. Its patterns of boom and bust have been illustrated vividly in the past 15 years. In the heady days before the 2008 financial crash, the upward march of newbuild prices looked unstoppable as shipyards struggled to meet the seemingly insatiable appetite of shipowners for new tonnage, fuelled by the boom in world trade and soaring commodity prices. Many new shipyards sprang up too, particularly in China. The crash of 2008 and its aftermath produced a sobering market adjustment as the freight market collapsed, leading to high-profile insolvencies, and inevitably reduced demand for new tonnage. Since then, the market has remained a period of shipyard overcapacity characterised by defaults, deferrals and renegotiations. Shipyard consolidation became a major issue, especially in Korea, even among the big yards.

Download the chapter here

The Shipping Law Review: Marine Insurance

Jonathan Bruce, Alex Kemp and Jenny Salmon

Marine insurance was one of the first insurances contemplated by merchants when international trade began. As a hub for international trade across the globe since the 1600s, England has a long and distinguished history as a centre for insurance excellence. During that time, various new classes of insurance have arisen, but marine insurance, from an English law perspective, still maintains its pre-eminence and historical importance in giving us many of the principles that guide insurance law today.

Download the chapter here

The Shipping Law Review: Piracy

Michael Ritter and William MacLachlan

Piracy is defined in Article 101 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS) as ‘any illegal act of violence or detention . . . committed for private ends by the crew . . . of a private ship . . . directed . . . against another ship . . . or against persons or property on board such ship’ on the high seas or in a place outside the jurisdiction of any state. This leaves open the issue as to whether incidents such as the hijack of the Fairchem Bogey from off the Salalah breakwater or of tankers from West African anchorages are piracy incidents under the UNCLOS. As a matter of English law, according to The ‘Andreas Lemos’, there is ‘no reason to limit piracy to acts outside territorial waters’. It appears apt, therefore, that ‘piracy’ is used as an overarching label covering Somali or Gulf of Aden attacks and West African and South East Asian incidents, albeit that they are different in nature and that the legal definition of piracy may depend on the insurance policy or contract in question.

Download the chapter here

The Shipping Law Review: Decommissioning in the United Kingdom

Tom Walters

The UK oil and gas industry continues to make a substantial contribution to the country’s energy security and economy. However, the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) is a mature oil-producing basin and has been heavily affected by the sustained period of low oil and gas prices since 2014. Following the outbreak of the covid-19 pandemic, Brent crude oil prices dropped in April 2020 to their lowest level since 2002 (US crude oil prices went negative for the first time since records began in 1983). As a result, decommissioning of UKCS infrastructure has been put firmly on the agenda for many operators seeking to reduce their balance sheet liabilities.

Download the chapter here

The Shipping Law Review: Ship Finance

Gudmund Bernitz

The financing of ships is as ancient as international trade itself, but the way that financing is done has continuously evolved over history and continues to change today – maybe at a faster pace than ever. The types of financing products available has become increasingly diverse and the financiers offering them include, to name a few, banks, leasing houses and emission control areas, as well as bond and equity markets.

However, when providing financing against the security of a ship, it remains as important as ever to understand the nature of the secured asset and the legal landscape in which she operates.

Download the chapter here

The Shipping Law Review: Australia

Gavin Vallely, Simon Shaddick, Alexandra Lamont and Tom Morrison

Ten per cent of the world’s sea trade passes through Australian ports and 99 per cent of Australian exports are transported by sea. In terms of its ocean freight requirement, Australia has the ‘fifth-largest shipping task in the world – a task that is forecast to double over the next 15 years’.

Download the chapter here

The Shipping Law Review: Brazil

Geoffrey Conlin, Bernardo de Senna and Carolina França (CAL – Costa & Albino Advogados in cooperation with HFW)

Brazil is the largest country in Latin America, with more than 8,000km of coastline and 20,000km of navigable river. It has the ninth largest gross domestic product in the world.

In 2020, Brazil had 0.55 per cent of the world’s merchant fleet value, by flag of registration, with a total fleet of approximately 5.5 million deadweight tonnage (DWT) and 13.6 million DWT under Brazilian ownership. Approximately 50 per cent of this tonnage is oil tankers, 12 per cent bulk carriers, 2 per cent general cargo vessels, 14 per cent container ships and 22 per cent are ‘other types’.

Download the chapter here

The Shipping Law Review: China

Nick Poynder and Jean Cao

China plays an increasingly pivotal role in the global shipping industry. It is home to seven of the world’s 10 busiest ports by cargo tonnage, with Shanghai consistently topping the list. In 2020, China was the third-largest shipowner in terms of cargo-carrying capacity (228 million dead-weight tonnage (DWT)). In 2019, China had the largest share of global shipbuilding gross tonnage (GT) (23.074 million gross tons) and of the construction of dry bulk carriers, general cargo ships, container ships and offshore vessels. China’s expertise in this sector continues to develop.

Download the chapter here

The Shipping Law Review: France

Mona Dejean

The French flag is designated by the International Chamber of Shipping as one of the best flags in 2020 in terms of the quality of its fleet and of its environmental, security and social regulations.

In July 2020, the merchant fleet under the French flag comprised 426 vessels of more than 100 gross tonnage (GT), of which 186 vessels were dedicated to transport and 240 were service vessels. This is the 28th largest world fleet by flag.

Download the chapter here

The Shipping Law Review: Greece

Paris Karamitsios, Dimitri Vassos and Stella-Efi Gougoulaki

For at least the past four decades, Greece has been at the top of the global list of shipowning countries. Greek interests control approximately 20 per cent of the world’s total merchant fleet. Greece ranks in the top four for all kinds of ships, being first for bulk carriers and tankers, second for liquefied natural gas carriers, third for container ships and fourth for liquefied petroleum gas carriers. At the beginning of 2021, the Greek-owned merchant fleet measured a total deadweight tonnage of approximately 350,466 trillion gross tonnage (GT) and 4,038 ships of more than 1,000 GT, representing almost half of the EU fleet. Although a dramatic drop in the freight market has affected the number of newbuilds, there is still a significant number of new vessels on order for Greek interests, mostly from shipyards in the Far East.

Download the chapter here

The Shipping Law Review: Hong Kong

Nicola Hui and Winnie Chung

Hong Kong is currently the ninth-busiest container port in the world, behind Shanghai, Singapore, Busan and a few other busy Chinese ports. In 2020, the port of Hong Kong handled an estimated 17.9 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of containers (a slight reduction compared with the 18.3 million TEUs in 2019) and provided about 300 container liner services per week connecting to about 420 destinations worldwide. As at January 2021, there were more than 2,594 vessels on the Hong Kong Shipping Register (set up in 1990),totalling more than 129.8 million gross tonnage, making it the fourth-largest register after Panama, Liberia and the Marshall Islands. In addition, Hong Kong remains a major centre for ship management, finance, insurance, logistics, terminal operations, maritime arbitration and legal services.

Download the chapter here

The Shipping Law Review: Singapore

Toby Stephens, Magdalene Chew, Edwin Cai and Vanessa Koh

With more than 130,000 vessels calling at the port of Singapore annually, Singapore is an extremely important global business centre, acting as a maritime gateway to Asia. According to the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), it is ‘the top bunkering port in the world’. As well as the business Singapore receives from the traffic passing through its ports, it is also home to more than 140 of the world’s top international shipping groups and has more than 4,500 vessels registered with the Singapore Registry of Ships. The most recent figures for Singapore’s seaborne cargo put the volume at 630.125 million tonnes, with container throughput at a notable 36.599 million twenty-foot equivalent units.

Download the chapter here

The Shipping Law Review: Switzerland

William Hold

Switzerland does not immediately come to mind when considering shipping law. Nonetheless, it has been in contact with the shipping industry for many years. Swiss companies and individuals financed many voyages to the New World and a Swiss insurance company was one of the co-insurers of the Titanic.

Download the chapter here

The Shipping Law Review: United Arab Emirates