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International Trade, Transportation & Maritime



We help keep the goods moving, fueled by our deep understanding of global trade and decades of experience serving maritime clients.

Our approach

International trade is a linchpin of the global economy, with trillions of dollars in goods crossing borders every year. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is a stark reminder that the success of maritime transportation and trade is critical to industries and consumers around the world.

Our attorneys provide a full range of legal services to the domestic and international maritime and trade industries, working with all forms of transport and related logistics.

We guide clients as they work with:

  • Local port authorities
  • Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
  • Federal Maritime Commission (FMC)
  • U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), including their National Vessel Documentation Center
  • U.S. Maritime Administration (MarAd)
  • Applicable regulatory agencies in other countries

We’ve practiced maritime law for more than a century, and we’ve built strong relationships with regulators that we can use to our clients’ advantage.

Our attorneys provide extensive advice on maritime compliance issues, and prepare and file agreements and contracts with the USCG, FMC, and MarAd. We represent clients in maritime litigation and trials before the FMC, including such seminal cases as The Government of Guam v. American President Lines, Ltd. And Sea-Land Services, Inc. and Ceres Marine Terminal, Inc. v. Maryland Port Authority.

We also represent maritime and logistics companies in public and private M&A transactions, working with shipowners, charterers, financial institutions, underwriters, indenture trustees, and owner trustees.

Who we work with

  • Ocean carriers
  • Ports
  • Conferences
  • Jones Act carriers
  • Marine terminal operators
  • Maritime trade organizations
  • Non-vessel operating common carriers
  • Ocean freight forwarders
  • Domestic and overseas shipowners
  • Charterers
  • Suppliers of transportation equipment to shipowners and marine terminals
  • Marine logistics companies and their marine insurers

Our services and experience

  • Identifying exceptions to the Jones Act and solutions to establish compliance and defending Jones Act litigation. Our team includes a partner with extensive in-house experience at the Department of Homeland Security working on Jones Act and Coast Guard issues.
  • Extensive knowledge of the programs sponsored by the U.S. Maritime Administration under the Merchant Marine Act of 1936, as amended for the benefit of new builds and existing vessels.
  • Helping clients communicate with the U.S. Coast Guard National Vessel Documentation Center, assisting in complicated flag-in/flag-out processes with compliant and business-friendly results (including for Maritime Security Program (MSP) vessels) and in-depth assistance with the CSR Desk.
  • Representing purchasers and sellers in connection with acquisitions and dispositions of marine terminals and logistics companies and with joint ventures and strategic alliances.
  • Drafting, negotiating, and facilitating approval for vessel acquisition and disposition, as well as finance documents, trust agreements, time charters, bareboat charters, ship management agreements, crewing agreements, logbook entries, certificates of ownership, and continuous synopsis records, including for MSP replacement vessels.
  • Drafting and negotiating vessel escort and assist agreements, tugboat service agreements, agency agreements, and cargo and shipment agreements, including support regarding the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act (COGSA), taxes, import fees, customs, and border protection.
  • Representing stevedoring companies, terminals, and ports and the Pacific Maritime Association in OSHA, labor and employment, and ERISA matters.
  • Maintaining an industry-leading crane and other equipment acquisition and finance practice that works on virtually all maritime industry equipment acquisition and financing and deftly handles subsidy financing matters.
  • Representing terminal operators on terminal and port leases, leases of nearby logistics facilities, and the construction, renovation, and financing of terminal and lease facilities and dredging of channels.
  • Negotiating and resolving disputes relating to terminal services arrangements, including lift rates, volume commitments, service standards and responsibilities, and related matters.
  • Representing terminal and port operators and carriers on environmental compliance and related regulatory matters.
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