The fifth edition of this book aims to continue to provide those involved in handling shipping disputes with an overview of the key issues relevant to multiple jurisdictions. We have again invited contributions on the law of leading maritime nations, including both major flag states and the countries in which most shipping companies are located. We also include chapters on the law of the major shipbuilding centres and a range of other jurisdictions.
As with the previous four editions, we begin with cross-jurisdictional chapters looking at the latest developments in important areas for the shipping industry: competition and regulatory law, sanctions, ocean logistics, piracy, shipbuilding, ports and terminals, marine insurance and environmental issues. We once again feature offshore shipping and look at the key changes in the revised SUPPLYTIME 2017 form, published since our fourth edition.
Each jurisdictional chapter gives an overview of the procedures for handling shipping disputes, including arbitration, court litigation and any alternative dispute resolution mechanisms. Jurisdiction, enforcement and limitation periods are all covered. Contributors have summarised the key provisions of local law in relation to shipbuilding contracts, contracts of carriage and cargo claims. We have also asked the authors to address limitation of liability, including which parties can limit, which claims are subject to limitation and the circumstances in which the limits can be broken. Ship arrest procedure, which ships may be arrested, security or counter-security requirements and the potential for wrongful arrest claims are also included.
The authors review the vessel safety regimes in force in their country, along with port state control and the operation of both registration and classification locally. The applicable environmental legislation in each jurisdiction is explained, as are the local rules in respect of collisions, wreck removal, salvage and recycling. Passenger and seafarer rights are examined, and contributors set out the current position in their jurisdiction. The authors have then looked ahead and commented on what they believe are likely to be the most important developments in their jurisdiction during the coming year.
The shipping industry continues to be one of the most significant sectors worldwide, with the United Nations estimating that commercial shipping represents around US$380 billion in terms of global freight rates, amounting to about 5 per cent of global trade overall. More than 90 per cent of the world’s freight is still transported by sea. The law of shipping remains as interesting as the sector itself and the contributions to this book continue to reflect that.
The maritime sector has been taking stock after experiencing a bumpy ride during the past few years and, while the industry is looking forward to continued recovery, there is still uncertainty about the effects of trade tariffs and additional regulation. Under the current US administration, the sanctions picture has become ever more complex and uncertain.
Environmental regulation continues to be a hot topic in shipping and the maritime industry has made headlines during the past year by making its first major commitment to cut emissions. The shipping sector has signed up to reduce air emissions by an impressive 50 per cent by the year 2050 as compared with 2008 emissions levels. This, and the stricter sulphur limit of 0.5 per cent m/m coming in from 2020, is generating increased interest in alternative fuels, alternative propulsion and green vessel technologies.
The United Kingdom’s projected exit from the European Union is another key development. The UK is currently expected to leave the EU in 2019 but it is now likely that there will be transitional arrangements for withdrawal lasting until 2020. Some concerns have been expressed about the effects of Brexit on enforcement of maritime contracts. However, we expect the bulk of shipping contracts globally to continue to be governed by English law and that Brexit will not significantly affect enforceability. The vast majority of shipping contracts call for disputes to be resolved by London arbitration and London arbitration awards will continue to be enforceable internationally (both within and outside the European Union) under the New York Convention, as they are today. It is anticipated that reciprocal EU–UK enforcement of court judgments may also be agreed.
We would like to thank all the contributors for their assistance in producing this edition of The Shipping Law Review. We hope this volume will continue to provide a useful source of information for those in the industry handling cross-jurisdictional shipping disputes.
George Eddings, Andrew Chamberlain and Rebecca Warder