Maritime and Transport Law
Maritime and Transport Law’s Annual Report 2018
In this annual report from the Maritime and Transport Law Team, we summarise the key legal trends for the Danish transport industry in 2018. We also look at the trends that will have an impact on the industry in 2019.
In 2018, one of the key trends was the ongoing transition among transport companies to a more digital business model. This fundamental change in the transport industry necessitates broader cooperation among industry players. We experienced a keen interest among our clients in the transport sector in 2018.
There were many examples of such collaborations in 2018, from the development of digital platforms in container shipping to partnerships between suppliers and shipowners for the testing of unmanned vessels. NJORD advised Færgesekretariatet (the Danish Island Ferry Secretariat) on the development of a new island ferry in a cooperation spanning several industries with a focus on new technology and with considerable political support:
2018 was an exciting for the road transport segment and, many will say, a demanding year that offered much new regulation and case law.
The industry is facing many challenges concerning the free movement of labour, "social dumping“, and wage and employment conditions. To address these challenges, new regulations of cabotage transport, restrictions on parking along the motorways and most recently also the so-called “road haulage light” rules, were adopted in 2018.
The controversial Kurt Beier case once again shed light on the conditions for drivers, and the new rules on driving and rest time finally came into force, which meant that the many pending court cases could now be completed. Unfortunately, new EU legislation (the "Mobility Package“), which was intended to solve many of the industry's challenges, was rejected following extensive negotiations. The future of the Mobility Package must now be determined before the European Parliament election in May. If nothing is resolved, the drafting of the Mobility Package will have to go back to the drawing board. Regulation on road transport is therefore expected to remain a significant trend, which NJORD will follow and report on in 2019.
In 2018, consolidation within the transport industry continued. NJORD assisted clients in some very large transactions and several smaller ones. Some transactions were abandoned due to issues uncovered during the due diligence phase, while others were completed. The trend is expected to continue into 2019, kicked off by DSV’s aggressive bid to acquire Panalpina.
The problems with bad bunker fuel hit a lot of shipping companies in 2018 and resulted in many large claims for damages. The topic was also intensively covered by the shipping media. NJORD wrote an in-depth article on the problem, focusing on the possibility of raising claims against the contractual bunker suppliers. The article was featured in media across the globe. The issues within the bunker industry are expected to continue into 2019.
Cybercrime og GDPR
Also, the transport industry awaits with great interest how Brexit develops, as it may have great significance for regulation and trade with one of Denmark's major export markets. Cybercrime is becoming increasingly important to the transport industry, and we have begun to see the first court cases about cyber insurance policies. The same applies to GDPR, where we follow the development and host seminars focusing on the issues that are particularly relevant to shipping companies.