General Admiralty, Maritime, Road and Air Transport Law
We intervene in all matters related to transport, be it maritime (sea and river transport), road or air related. This includes al matters of civil responsibility due to accidents (such as collisions, road accidents, airplane and helicopter crashes) Transport is an important issue in Antwerp and in the whole of Belgium as we are a typical transit country. We are also regularly invited to write opinions and studies for political and administrative authorities, such as the European Commission, mostly on issues of Maritime Law.
With a freight volume of over 186 million ton in 2011, Antwerp is the second largest port in Europe and the tenth largest in the world.
The port is the European market leader for handling steel, project cargoes, fruit, forest products, coffee and tobacco. More than 200 forwarding companies based in Antwerp help to secure all these shipping contracts. Numerous stevedoring companies ensure smooth handling of the more than 15.000 seagoing ships and 57,000 barges annually that call at the port, where they have 160 km of quayside available for their loading and unloading activities. The port has over 5,4 million square metres of covered storage space, more than all the neighboring ports combined.
Antwerp also has the largest lock in the world: the Berendrecht lock, with a width of 68 m and a length of 500 m.
It goes without saying that we intervene in all other Belgian ports as well; through our membership of ALEXIA, an international Maritime Network, we maintain personal and sustained contacts with outstanding maritime lawyers in other Countries as well.
We intervene often on behalf of as well Belgian as foreign companies in need of legal assistance in Belgium. We handle all claims related to for instance CMR convention issues, late or partial deliveries, loss or destruction of cargo, issues involving the responsibility of the carrier, road accidents, etc.
We cover all aspects of air transport, as well cargo as passenger transport, including the responsibility for delay, for aircraft and helicopter crashes, etc.
We are founding member of ALEXIA, an International Maritime Network.
We intervene for ship arrests in all Belgian ports. Arrests in other countries can be done through our network of ALEXIA correspondents and colleagues.
A ship may be arrested for maritime claims only, meaning a claim arising out of one or more of the following:
(a) damage caused by any ship either in collision or otherwise;
(b) loss of life or personal injury caused by any ship or occurring in connection with the operation of any ship;
(d) agreement relating to the use or hire of any ship whether by charterparty or otherwise;
(e) agreement relating to the carriage of goods in any ship whether by charterparty or otherwise;
(f) loss of or damage to goods including baggage carried in any ship;
(g) general average;
(k) goods or materials wherever supplied to a ship for her operation or maintenance;
(1) construction, repair or equipment of any ship or dock charges and dues;
(m) wages of Masters, Officers, or crew;
(n) Master's disbursements, including disbursements made by shippers, charterers or agent on behalf of a ship or her owner;
(o ) disputes as to the title to or ownership of any ship;
(p) disputes between co-owners of any ship as to the ownership, possession, employment, or earnings of that ship;
(q) the mortgage or hypothecation of any ship.
However, even if the possibilities for a maritime arrest are limited by Treaty and by the Commercial Code, with some creative thinking a ship may also be de facto arrested for all other (non-maritime) claims, leading to the immobilization of the ship. There are indeed possibilities that are offered out of the frame of the Brussels convention, such as the seizure of bunkers.