Marine Ports and Terminals


Robinson+Cole’s Marine Ports and Terminals Team is committed to representing the legal interests of our port, terminal, and marine transport clients across a spectrum of environmental, land use, litigation, construction, real estate and business matters. With a national practice and offices spanning the East Coast from Massachusetts to Florida, Robinson+Cole is positioned to advise our port industry and marine transport clients on a host of the complex legal issues they confront, on land or at sea.

Our Services

Our Marine Ports and Terminals capabilities include the following:

• managing all aspects of coastal development and permitting, including Section 404 permitting by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 
• representing clients in all manner of environmental investigation and remediation projects, including contaminated sediment cleanups
• litigating claims involving a variety of business disputes and environmental media, including toxic torts, and defending civil and criminal enforcement matters
• counseling clients with waterfront and water-dependent facilities regarding climate change-driven issues impacting coastal development as well as environmental compliance and risk
• representing clients in all areas of admiralty and maritime law
• assisting clients with crisis planning and management, including vessel casualties, oil spills, and incidents unique to waterfront operations
• managing the legal aspects of port and terminal renovation and construction projects
• counseling clients on data privacy and security laws and regulations, as well as data breach preparedness and response
• representing landlords and tenants in complex leasing transactions involving shorefront commercial space
• counseling employers on all facets of the employment relationship, including immigration, litigation, benefits, and labor relations

Coastal Management, Development, and Permitting

We advise clients in all aspects of coastal management, development, and permitting, including federal permitting by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899, and Section 103 of the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act; federal flood plain mapping and amendments regulated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency; state and federal permitting; and standard zoning, subdivision, and inland wetlands regulations.

Admiralty and Maritime Law

We represent insurance companies, banks, lending institutions, finance companies, and marinas in connection with ocean marine and inland marine insurance claims, ship and yacht financing, preferred ship mortgages, arrest and foreclosure disputes, lien priority disputes, coverage disputes, and subrogation. Our experienced team of lawyers and paralegals can expeditiously obtain vessel arrests and maritime attachments. We also litigate and arbitrate a broad range of admiralty and maritime claims, including charter party disputes, cargo, hull and machinery, maritime personal injury, and marine product liability.


Our group of environmental lawyers (one of the largest in the Northeast) provides sophisticated, practical, and cost-effective advice to port, terminal and ocean-going clients facing a broad array of environmental, health, and safety (EH+S) challenges and needs. Whether in federal or state court; obtaining a permit; responding to a release or an inspection; or providing risk management guidance or advice on complex regulations, we bring a deep knowledge of EH+S law and a business sensitivity that adds value for our shoreline dependent clients. Our litigation experience ranges from statutory actions under state and federal programs to common law claims involving contaminated properties. We have litigated issues under a full range of environmental laws, including the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA a/k/a Superfund); the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA); the Clean Water Act; the Clean Air Act; the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA); and others, including their state equivalents. Our toxic tort experience includes mold, lead paint, and asbestos litigation. Our compliance and permitting services make us integral counselors and representatives in state and federal permit application and related proceedings.


Business litigation encompasses claims of contract breach; business torts such as fraud, misrepresentation, conversion, and interference with contracts; unfair and deceptive trade practices; RICO violations; securities and antitrust violations; and intellectual property claims. Over the years our litigation lawyers have been involved in a number of ancillary port and terminal issues, including emergency response and fire and explosion investigation matters. In addition, we regularly partner with clients in appropriate instances to bring loss recovery actions. We work with our clients to minimize litigation risks, reduce dispute resolution costs, and preserve important business relationships. Our goal is to protect our clients’ rights while conserving their valuable time and resources. As part of this goal, and if appropriate, we guide our clients in considering alternative dispute resolution, including mediation and arbitration.


From acquisition and compliance to renovation and construction to operation and maintenance, our lawyers are experienced in the unique pressures faced by ports and terminals when they undertake capital improvements, including funding, timetables, and community outreach.

Real Estate Leasing

We represent landlords and tenants in complex leasing transactions of shorefront commercial space nationwide. Our leasing experience includes industrial and warehouse facilities in a variety of arrangements, including ground leases, subleases, multi-tiered arrangements, umbrella leases, and equity and cash flow participation leases. We also handle structuring and implementing commercial leasing programs for office building owners, and we are well versed in green building leasing issues and provisions.

Data Privacy + Security

Clients benefit from our broad-based knowledge of data privacy and security laws and regulations, as well as data breach preparedness, response, notification, remediation, coordination, and litigation, including investigations by federal and state authorities. Our lawyers are well versed in data mapping and development of enterprise-wide privacy and security plans, compliance with various privacy and security requirements, and industry-specific regulations.

Employment and Labor

We offer a full array of employment law services to employers, including counseling, litigation, immigration, benefits, labor relations, and training. We can assist clients not only with addressing pressing legal concerns but also with proactively examining policies and practices to minimize future issues and increase compliance with the laws applicable to the employee-employer relationship. Our labor relations practice only represents management in all aspects of labor relations. We counsel, advise, and represent unionized clients in developing labor relations strategies. We negotiate collective bargaining agreements and represent our clients in contract administration, grievance handling and arbitration, strike consultation, and National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and court proceedings.

Our Team

Practitioners on the Marine Ports and Terminals team consist of skilled litigators, maritime, environmental, regulatory and transactional lawyers. We work collaboratively across practice groups to create uniquely experienced teams of lawyers that handle matters efficiently and proactively. Our lawyers have guided clients through a host of complex matters specific to ports, terminals, and marine transportation.  

    • Experience
      • Represent the Connecticut Port Authority for all general corporate matters and serve as its outside general counsel. Representation includes the drafting of Operating Procedures, Navigable Waters and Marine Pilots Procedures, board of director resolutions and agendas, and proposed legislation.

      • Represent Waterson Terminal Services, LLC, the management company of ProvPort, which operates the Port of Providence. Representation has included preparation of the services guaranty and amendments to the terminal operating agreement; general corporate and financial matters, including working capital loans and an equity sale to a private equity fund that took a position in the company; labor and employment representation, including union negotiations for the ILA 1329 contract and National Labor Relations Board investigations; appearances before the Narragansett Bay Commission and other agencies concerning environmental matters at the port, which is located on the site of a closed landfill; all contract work at the port, including real estate acquisition and leasing matters, the docking and stevedoring of ships, and the negotiation for short-term stevedoring contracts at the port and collections for unpaid stevedore services.

      • Served as litigation and environmental counsel to the Bridgeport Port Authority (BPA) in a condemnation appeal relating to a brownfield at the harbor slated for reclamation and redevelopment. Robinson+Cole asserted a counterclaim of environmental cost recovery and negotiated a settlement during a bench trial. Representation also included advice on site remediation post-closing and leases of the acquired parcel. We also assisted the BPA in its acquisition of property adjacent to the Bridgeport-Port Jefferson Ferry Terminal and plans for the construction of a parking garage on the land.

Our Team