Shipping and Trade

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The shipping and trade global markets continue to face a challenging environment, with lower oil and commodity prices impacting demand in a market where the merchant is “king”. With almost record low freight rates, shipping companies are experiencing significant pressure to adopt more cost saving initiatives. Despite the challenges in the sector, we have seen a significant amount of draft reforms and legislation being introduced relating to operations.

HWL Ebsworth’s Shipping and Trade practice has been recognised for over 100 years as the leading practice in the maritime industry, both domestically and internationally. We specialise in all aspects of wet and dry shipping and practice in all areas of corporate, commercial, maritime, insurance and trade law. Our specialist team has significant industry expertise and experience dealing with Australian national laws and the range of international conventions that apply to maritime activity. The team consists of various national and international appointments, bringing great depth of expertise and knowledge to the group.

We assist a broad range of operators across the industry, including ship owners and operators, commercial/charter and recreational boat operators, ports and terminals, P & I Clubs, freight forwarders, customs and quarantine. The team regularly advises clients on ship financing, marine insurance, casualty response, admiralty proceedings (including ship arrests) and international arbitration. As a national, full service commercial law firm we draw on the expertise of partners in other practice groups including corporate and commercial, tax and competition, to provide clients with a truly holistic service offering.


  • Charterers: Acting for charterers following the grounding off Newcastle of the Panamax MV Pasha Bulker;
  • Numerous international ship owners and their P&I clubs: Defence of prosecution and civil claims arising from major oil spills;
  • MV Typhoon: Advising Singaporean owners on CTL and wreck removal from Christmas Island;
  • Malaysian ship owners: Acting on a major grounding on Great Barrier Reef and related salvage;
  • Various international owners: Advising the successful parties in the majority of Australian arrest cases;
  • Neptune Shipping: Acting for the client and its partners on sale of fleet to Roll USA Inc;
  • Anzon Petroleum: Acting in major recovery proceedings for loss of production income;
  • Trafigura: Advising on various upstream and downstream contracts; and
  • Diageo: Advising on various logistics contracts.

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