Navigating Stormy Relationships- Mediation for the Maritime Industry

In 2016, many headlines focused on the collapse of Hanjin Shipping, the slowdown of new build orders in the shipping industry and the decline of global trading. This has left many looking for ways to maintain control of their business outcomes in these turbulent times. When disputes arose, the maritime industry needed efficient and effective dispute resolution mechanisms.

Arbitration has been the long standing method for dispute resolution in the maritime industry. The Singapore Chamber of Maritime Arbitration (SCMA) was established to provide a framework for maritime arbitration in response to the needs of the maritime community. For many years the SCMA encouraged its arbitrators to not only have expert knowledge in arbitration but to also be prepared to use other dispute resolution methods such as mediation to resolve commercial conflicts. To that end, SCMA has recently updated their rules and model clauses, introducing an Arb-Med-Arb model clause to encourage parties to initiate arbitration, settle their disputes through mediation and finalise the settlements as consent arbitral awards, which are widely recognised under the New York Convention.

At SMC’s annual by-invitation-only event Unfolding Conversations on 28 September, maritime mediation was the theme of the night. Over 80 industry leaders sat down to observe a mediation role-play based on a real life shipping trade dispute and to see how the process of mediation complemented arbitration and provided flexible solutions that helped maintain parties’ business relationships. The panel discussion analysed the dispute resolution landscape in Singapore and encouraged the use of amicable dispute resolution mechanisms in the maritime industry .

As with the participants on that night, SMC encourages all businesses to look at mediation services and how you can benefit from non-confrontational dispute resolution mechanisms. For those in the maritime industry, please consider using SMCA’s model Arb-Med-Arb clause in your contracts to protect yourself from stormy business dealings. If your business has concerns relating to an existing or potential dispute, or would like more information on a suitable dispute resolution clause for a contract, please visit SMC's website at

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October 2016 Issue. For past issues, read more here.


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Singapore Mediation Centre | 1 Supreme Court Lane, Level 4, Singapore 178879 Tel +65 6332 4366