Ship owners today face both an increase in operating costs and plummeting freight rates due to a massive influx of new shipping vessels, not to mention the continuing threat of international piracy and pressure from environmental groups to curb emissions on the high seas. Financing has become an increasingly critical issue for shipbuilders as weakness in the European banking sector has squeezed access to capital and other government loan programs have been depleted.

Ports and terminals, on the other hand, have seen a flurry of activity, and manufacturers and distributors continue to depend on water transportation as a reliable way to move products and raw material across their global supply chains. The expansion of the Panama Canal has created a flow of capital into the construction and improvement of port facilities in both North and South America.

McGuireWoods’ maritime practice serves a wide range of maritime clients, including:

  • Barge owners
  • Bridge owners and operators
  • Cargo owners and shippers
  • Coal companies and other energy companies
  • Lenders involved in vessel financing and leasing
  • Ocean transportation intermediaries
  • Offshore wind developers
  • Port authorities and terminal owners and operators
  • Shipyards and marine contractors
  • Tug companies
  • Vessel owners and charterers

Our lawyers are well-versed in the intricacies of maritime law, which calls for extensive knowledge of state, federal, and international rules and regulations that span issues ranging from vessel safety and flags of convenience to marine insurance and complex charter arrangements. They also understand the implications of demurrage and other issues that impact the cost of moving cargo from rail and trucks to vessels.

We assist our maritime clients in the following areas:

  • Acquisition and registration of domestic and foreign flagged vessels
  • Cargo Damage claims
  • Charter agreements for a wide range of vessels
  • Construction projects relating to port and related infrastructures
  • Contract negotiations and dispute resolutions
  • Vessel construction and repairs
  • Insurance coverage
  • Litigation relating to uniquely maritime issues such as COGSA and the Jones Act
  • Oil pollution and environmental matters
  • Compliance with international treaties and federal, state and local laws
  • Representation before the United States Coast Guard, Federal Maritime Commission and Maritime Administration
  • Risk analysis and review of supply chain strategies
  • Vessel documentation and financing



    Terminal operator

    Representation of terminal operator in the construction of $500 million dollar container terminal.


    Major Danish bank

    Acting for major Danish bank on a UK commercial property finance transaction in relation to Norwegian-owned shipping company.


    Leading US ocean shipping and integrated logistics company

    Represented a leading U.S. ocean shipping and integrated logistics company in a $314 million tender offer.


    Defended client in criminal price fixing investigation by the DOJ and follow-on civil litigation.

    Representation of a domestic ocean container shipping company in a criminal investigation by the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice of price-fixing of ocean transportation rates  and defense of related treble-damage actions brought by customers seeking to recover damages as a result of the alleged conspiracy.


    Port terminal operator

    McGuireWoods persuaded the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit to affirm a grant of summary judgment previously obtained by the firm on behalf of APM Terminals in an Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) lawsuit.

Team Leaders

Full Team
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