Shipping & commodities

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Gateley Legal

We provide a comprehensive shipping commodities service to a broad range of clients across the maritime and trade sectors.

What do we do?

We regularly undertake international shipping commodities work spanning several jurisdictions and have built up a trusted network of lawyers, technical experts and other professionals based in all the major marine jurisdictions of the world. This comprehensive network allows us to obtain fast, accurate and local knowledge on a cost-effective basis to protect the commercial interests of our clients across the globe.

Goods in transit

We advise clients in the industries involved in the carriage of goods by sea, road, rail and air. We act for freight forwarders, transport firms and their insurers, cargo underwriters, recovery agents and loss adjusters on domestic and international goods in transit matters. The team provides practical advice relating to goods in transit contracts and claims subject to CMR rules, under RHA and BIFA contract terms and marine cargo claims under bills of lading and charterparties.

Sale, purchase and ship finance

We advise ship owners on construction, sale, purchase and registration of commercial vessels and can co-ordinate the registration of vessels, ship mortgages and other security worldwide.

Gateley receives plaudits for its ‘client service delivery’ and the team regularly handles charterparty matters, ship sale and purchase disputes, marine cargo claims, superyacht matters and shipbuilding disputes.
Legal 500 UK, 2018

International trade and shipping commodities

We advise manufacturers, exporters and importers on sale contracts covering a wide range of commodities, such as oil and petrochemicals, grain and feedstuffs, edible oils, sugar and metals. Our practice includes advising on trade finance, letters of credit, cargo inspections, certification and collateral management agreements.

Membership (non-trading) of Gafta and FOSFA ensures that our experts have up-to-date knowledge of the standard contract terms of these and other trade bodies and keep in touch with current issues affecting the trade.

Maritime commercial contracts

We advise on, draft and negotiate a wide variety of maritime commercial contracts, including vessel charterparty agreements, terms and conditions of business (in general or for particular operations), warehousing, storage and distribution contracts and other commercial agreements.

Ports and harbours

Ports and harbours have their own specific legal issues relating to development, planning, operation, funding and environmental responsibilities. We have worked with port operators and users for many years, guiding them through the legislation that impacts them on a day-to-day basis. Advice on ports and harbours includes on:

  • commercial agreements between port operators and port users;
  • damage to port installations;
  • claims for damage arising from loading and discharging equipment;
  • marine casualties;
  • dredging;
  • pilotage;
  • warehousing contracts;
  • emergency response;
  • pollution incidents; and
  • regulatory matters.


Our specialist insurance and insurance disputes teams handle all aspects of marine and non-marine insurance. This includes advising on policy coverage, dealing with coverage disputes, pursuing recovery actions against parties responsible for policyholders’ losses and defending claims brought against policyholders.

Shipping disputes

Our expert shipping disputes team can advise on disputes arising at any stage of the transport and trading chain, whether goods are carried by sea, road, rail or air, in transit or warehoused.

When issues arise for our international trade and shipping commodities clients, we are experienced at handling arbitrations under the rules of the LMAA and major trade associations (FOSFA, Gafta, LME, RSA), or other international arbitration rules (such as those of the ICC and LCIA). We often advise on appeals to the High Court on points of law in this area.

Who do we help?

Clients include shipowners, charterers, P&I clubs, oil companies, cargo owners, underwriters, recovery agents and cargo inspection agencies.

Got a question? Get in touch.