Astrea’s lawyers have many years of experience and expertise in the maritime and transport sector. In an open market such as Belgium and being close to one of the largest ports in Europe, transport, and maritime transport in particular, is undeniably a pillar of the economy.
The maritime sector in Belgium is characterized by the combined action of shipping companies, charterers, road transport operators, governments, shipping agents, terminal operators, stevedores, traders, brokers, insurers and merchants. Together, they generate 60,000 jobs in the port of Antwerp alone. This sector is highly international in character, and also has a number of very specific features, rules, forms of cooperation and common practices which are often challenging for outsiders to get their heads around.
The development of China as the world's largest economy (China now boasts seven of the ten largest ports in the world), economic trends with immediate consequences for the freight and ship-building markets, and other global developments, result in the fact that the maritime sector is constantly changing. This means we have to keep a finger on the pulse at all times.
Our team provides services in various legal disciplines. This integrated approach enables us to provide pragmatic solutions to the most complex issues in the maritime and transport sector.
Our clients include major shipping companies, shipbuilders, banks, insurance companies and insurance experts, P&I representatives, charterers, carriers, shipping agents, governments, other logistics service providers and their clients, and raw materials suppliers and traders.
The thorough, sector-specific knowledge built up by Astrea’s lawyers also enables them to understand and closely monitor all the new developments in this dynamic, constantly-changing sector.
Advice in connection with the establishment of joint ventures, strategic alliances, mergers and acquisitions, and the financing of navigation, transport and logistics service providers, etc. Advice regarding the sale, purchase and financing of ships and aircraft, shipbuilding, etc.
Maritime and transport law
Advice on the maritime and transport law (including road transport, shipping and container transport), charter parties, transport documentation, delivery, distribution, dispatch, shipping agency services and other logistics services.
Seizure and enforcement
We can help obtain seizure orders on movable and immovable property, ships and bunkers. Debt recovery, redemption of guarantees, privileges and mortgages are all part of our day-to-day practice.
Advice on the drafting of logistics service contracts (which may also include transport services), warehousing contracts, logistics technology contracts and general terms and conditions. Advice regarding liability, damage, performance of logistics contracts, unpaid invoices and so on.
Insurance and liability law
Advice about damage claims, cargo damage in all forms of transport (maritime, road, rail and air transport and inland navigation), general average, and hull-related claims – collisions, damage and transport insurance.
Property and environmental law
Advice about environmental risks, welfare and safety (e.g. regulations on the transportation of hazardous goods and waste). We can provide advice relating to concessions in port areas.
Advice about the regulations applicable to the maritime sector (e.g. registration of ships and aircraft, government inspections, international regulations) and relations with competent authorities, including port authorities.
Advice relating to daily and sector-specific employment law questions (such as the Dockworkers Charter), collective redundancies, negotiations with trade unions over redundancy programmes, transfer of personnel, etc. in the maritime and transport sector. We have previously acted in connection with harbour strikes and the breaking up of blockades.
Reorganization and restructuring
As a result of the financial crisis, we have assisted companies in the maritime and transport sector with reorganization, restructuring, debt rescheduling and insolvency applications.
Advice about disputes with the Belgian Customs and Excise Administration (relating to the value of goods, certificates of origin, intra-Community transport and non-discharge of T1 documents) and about disputes between customs agents and their clients.
We protect the interests of our clients in common law, administrative, arbitration and international courts and tribunals, in Belgium and abroad. Such disputes typically relate specifically to maritime and transport law, but also matters of commercial contracts and obligations, leases (including commercial leases), company law disputes, international trade (international sale and purchase transactions, commercial agencies, etc.), recovery of invoices and debt collection in the maritime and transport sector.
Our close contacts with major foreign law firms enable us to provide efficient, high-quality management of cross-border cases.
Wondering whether we can help? Get in touch via phone or mail, and we will send you more information about our services and fees.