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International trade and most national economies depend heavily on the marine and shipping industry – a vulnerability exposed after the pandemic as activity rebounded. Shortages of shipping containers, a blockage in the SUEZ Canal, limited docking capacity at ports, and a sharp hike in freight costs sent shock waves through the global economy.

Resurgent inflation and supply chain disruption stiffen the headwinds facing an industry that must navigate the vagaries of the economic cycle and geopolitics, along with trade sanctions, spikes in commodity and fuel prices, and complex import-export laws. Environmental regulation is also tightening.

Incidents of piracy – both online and on the high seas – have a high profile, and cybersecurity is a growing concern, but one among many. For shipbuilders and shipping companies, profound risks arise from shortages of skilled and manual labour, escalating input and capital costs, delays to critical materials and equipment, and project cost and programme overruns.

Under fixed-price contracts, the under-budgeted cost of fitting out vessels with engines and other sophisticated systems can prove unbearable. Labour and other shortages also threaten the timely completion of drill ships and platforms for oil and gas clients. Changes in international maritime regulations can scupper overrunning vessel projects.

Market turbulence is propelling disputes and often complex arbitration cases across the industry.

Our Marine and Shipping expert, consulting and advisory services

As one of the world’s foremost firms in risk mitigation and dispute resolution, we are highly rated in both the Who’s Who Legal (WWL) Arbitration Analysis and Global Arbitration Review, and also the largest accredited corporate provider of expert services with the Academy of Experts.

We help the industry’s contractors and clients – public and private – and their legal advisers in a wide range of project and commercial disputes, as well as insurance claims, bankruptcies, fraud and regulatory breaches, and environment, social and governance (ESG) matters.

Our marine and shipping experts, consultants and advisors have carried out investigations and delivered testimony on every continent – before courts, arbitration tribunals and regulatory boards, and various international forums.

Engineering & Construction Quantum

HKA marine and shipping experts, consultants and advisors have worked on some of the world’s most complex engineering projects and disputes. The outcomes of many cases of litigation as well as mediation, arbitration and adjudication forums in various jurisdictions around the world turn on the analyses prepared by our quantum experts.

Forensic Technical Services

We employ leading marine and shipbuilding specialists in our technical services division, along with experts in disciplines ranging from electrical or mechanical engineering to metallurgy and cybersecurity. Given the breadth of our line-up, we can provide specialists with the expertise and authority to resolve most technical matters.

Delay & Disruption Analysis

Our specialists deploy a variety of methods to analyse the causes and effects when investigating overrunning projects. They draw on experience in project management, planning and critical path analysis gained in the engineering and construction sector as well shipbuilding.

Forensic Accounting & Investigations

From internal and supply chain fraud to alleged overcharging on navy shipbuilding contracts, our forensic accountants conduct investigations into financial irregularities and regulatory violations across industries and often borders – sometimes alongside our government contracts expert team. HKA has the capability to mobilise large-scale investigations promptly and efficiently without compromising analytical rigour and clarity.

Commercial Damages & Valuation

Our consultants produce robust assessments for the value of economic damages – from costs incurred due to equipment failures to losses arising from late commissioning of vessels – and of businesses, shares and assets. In disputes involving joint ventures, shareholders, mergers and acquisitions, and in insurance claims, we can provide incisive support and advice at every stage of the dispute resolution cycle, including expert witness testimony.

Our Marine and Shipping experts

The breadth and depth of HKA expertise is unmatched – and trusted by lawyers and clients worldwide.

Whatever your dispute, commercial or regulatory challenge, we can provide an expert or team with relevant experience and authority for most briefs.


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