We combine in-depth industry knowledge with an understanding of the legal issues involved. Our work includes:

  • Mergers and acquisitions;
  • Privatisation, restructuring and commercialisation;
  • Development and financing of port infrastructure, installations and facilities;
  • Promoting or opposing infrastructure development proposals under NSIP and other relevant consenting regimes, including strategy, stakeholder engagement and representation at public and other inquiries;
  • Joint ventures, strategic alliances and other collaborative arrangements, including public/private sector partnerships;
  • Use of port and terminal facilities, including concessions, operating agreements, management contracts and outsourcing;
  • EU competition, state aid and internal market issues; EU public procurement law; access to port facilities and services; and the free movement provisions of the EU Treaty;
  • Real estate acquisition, development and management;
  • Strategic and case-specific environmental and planning/zoning advice;
  • Establishment and operation of port and other maritime authorities;
  • Drafting, enactment, interpretation of, and challenge to, legislation;
  • Regulatory compliance in relation to all aspects of port operation including port and marine safety, pollution control, pilotage, dredging and health and safety issues; and
  • Port information and management systems acquisition, integration and development.

We are a founder member of UK Port Advisers, which combines legal with other industry skills in order to advise clients worldwide on all aspects of port ownership, operation, development and regulation – for more information please visit www.ukportadvisers.com.


  • The privatisation of a public sector-owned UK port. Conducted due diligence and created a unique structure, involving the grant of a concession (using long leasehold interests and a management agreement), an asset sale and purchase and complicated share rights permitting the public sector body to retain a future profit participation.
  • Advised about proposals to develop a maritime industrial area and commercial port facilities in Greece.
  • Reviewed the strategic options for regeneration, development and possible privatisation of a state-owned commercial port. Conducted a major procurement exercise to select a partner, which involved advice on the application of the public and utilities procurement rules, planning and project managing the procurement exercise. Created and negotiated proposed transaction terms for outright privatisation or public/private partnership.
  • The privatisation of a former naval dockyard and its development as a new commercial port. The work required the commercial terms to be enshrined in a framework that was congruent with Government policy and included the creation of specific clawback rights entitling Government to participate in future profits.
  • A proposed joint venture for the development of a greenfield dedicated user terminal in Chile to support the needs of an extractive industry.
  • A joint venture between a port and one of the UK’s power generators for the construction and operation of one of Europe’s most modern multi-commodity bulk handling terminals and a rail loading facility.
  • Assisted a private sector port in connection with a wide range of internal market and state aid matters, including extensive advice on the proposed Directives on market access to port services and strategic advice on a potential state aid complaint to the European Commission.
  • The establishment through primary legislation of a new port authority for a group of ports in the Indian Ocean.
  • The preparation and promotion of various harbour revision orders to privatise a commercial port and to authorise a long term scheme of improvements at a UK port.
  • The development of a major new deep sea container terminal at a UK port. Created and managed the implementation of legal, environmental and other relevant strategies applicable to the project and its related large-scale habitat creation scheme, including drafting and promoting a harbour revision order. Significantly for a project of its size and type, consent was obtained very quickly without scrutiny at a public inquiry, as a result of our dealing with all third party representations.
  • Advised a UK port on the management and expansion of its substantial estate, comprising close to 1,000 hectares of industrial land, including dealing with all lettings, developments, acquisitions and advising in relation to renewable energy infrastructure, development consents (including GDO powers) and environmental management and compliance.
  • For a port authority devising, preparing and negotiating numerous development, land and related commercial and marine agreements for the establishment of new trades and terminals at the port, including motor vehicles, scrap metals, coal, afs, fertilizer, cement, aggregates and other dry bulks, fruit juice, petroleum products and aviation fuel.
  • Advised a port landowner on arrangements for the termination of long-term occupational interests on port land, including a complex scheme for land remediation backed by a bespoke environmental insurance policy, and the redevelopment of the site for a liquid biomass power station involving the re-use of port-infrastructure and facilities.
  • Instigated a judicial review of the UK Government’s interpretation of a European Union environmental Directive relating to the conservation of natural habitats impacting on port development and achieving a reference to the European Court of Justice, involving the consideration of the interpretation of the Directive and the assessment of extensive planning, environmental and other applicable regulatory regimes.
  • Acted alongside a UK commercial port from inception to inquiry in connection with the formulation of planning policy applicable to all future operation and expansion in successive emerging development plans.
  • Advised a major UK port on a succession of financings, most recently including £100m evergreen revolving facilities, with fixed and floating security over port assets and income and the provision of a certificate on title for a large real estate portfolio. Also advised on further project specific and non-recourse funding for the development of various terminals within the main port facility.
  • Advised a UK port operator in relation to a disputed maintenance agreement with Network Rail in relation to the rail freight facilities at the port, including making an successful application to the Office of Rail Regulation under section 17 of the Railways Act to secure a connection on preferred terms.