DLA Piper’s Transportation Law practice has extensive experience advising and representing clients in all aspects of law relating to the transportation industry. We advise both foreign and domestic clients regarding transportation law, including purchases, sales, leasing or financing of aircraft or transport equipment, border security compliance requirements, and tax, customs and export controls issues as they relate to the aviation and transport sectors.

We have advised extensively on mergers and acquisitions in the transport sector and have a proven track record of successfully obtaining pre-merger clearances under Canada's competition, foreign investment and transportation legislation.

Our experienced transportation law lawyers are supported by the firm's extensive skills in areas of competition law, insolvency, litigation, technology and Internet transactions, and employment and labour law, as well as transportation infrastructure development.

Among our clients are air carriers, leasing companies, financiers, underwriters, international air and ocean freight forwarders and highway carriers, as well as warehouse and logistics services providers. We also advise manufacturers, producers, resource sector stakeholders, and exporters and importers of goods moving globally, whether by air, ocean vessel, rail, truck or inter-modally.

The Transportation Law team provides advice and representation to clients in the following areas: 

Aviation

For more information about our aviation expertise, please visit our Aviation Law page.

Rail

DLA Piper has one of the top railway law teams in Canada. We are frequently recognized by preeminent ‎guides (including Chambers Canada, the Legal 500 Canada, Best Lawyers and The Canadian Legal ‎Lexpert Directory) as leaders in the rail sector. ‎

Our rail team is on the cutting edge of the remedies enacted by Parliament to assist shippers and curb ‎market power abuse by‎ federally-regulated railways.‎ DLA Piper lawyers have served as counsel in the  ‎majority of final offer arbitrations and level of service arbitrations conducted since those remedies were ‎enacted. We regularly act for shippers in matters before the Canadian Transportation Agency (the ‎‎“Agency”), such as level of service complaints and challenges to railway tariffs. Our rail team has been ‎counsel on significant precedent-setting cases before the Agency, the Federal Court, the Federal Court ‎of Appeal, and the Supreme Court of Canada.‎

Some of our rail team’s experience includes:‎

  • Successfully litigating a case in the Supreme Court of Canada which established that shippers could ‎challenge the reasonableness of a railway company’s fuel surcharge notwithstanding the ‎existence of a confidential contract;‎
  • Obtaining an Agency finding that a railway company had breached its service obligations by failing ‎to supply a sufficient number of hopper cars to our client, and successfully defending that ‎decision at the Federal Court of Appeal;‎
  • Establishing before the Agency and the Federal Court of Appeal that shippers are entitled to move ‎traffic at prescribed, cost-based rates to the Coutts, AB / Sweetgrass, MT international ‎interchange;‎
  • Obtaining an arbitration order requiring a railway company to provide our client with significantly ‎more rail cars, and successfully defending that order at the Federal Court of Appeal;‎
  • Securing compensation for our client following a successful Agency proceeding in which the Agency ‎held that a railway company had breached its service obligations by failing to repair a rail bridge ‎damaged by fire. We successfully defended this decision at the Federal Court of Appeal, in a ‎case which established that railway companies may not unilaterally alter their service obligations ‎by tariff;‎
  • Successfully litigating a pair of cases before the Agency and the Federal Court of Appeal which ‎confirmed that railway companies’ level of service obligations are statutory and not contractual;‎
  • Representing a major industry group at the Agency’s first investigation of systemic rail service ‎issues, and successfully defending the Agency’s finding of level of service breach at the Federal ‎Court of Appeal; and
  • Assisting numerous shippers to obtain materially lower freight rates and enhanced service ‎conditions through the final offer arbitration and level of service arbitration processes.‎

Our rail team also assists other parties who find themselves adverse in interest to the Class I railways ‎from time to time, and who face many of the same issues as shippers, such as short-line railway ‎companies, ports, terminals, commuter rail authorities, and all levels of government. ‎

Surface

We provide legal advice in all aspects of the ground transportation industry and act for numerous international and Canadian trucking companies. We advise and represent several national and international vehicle credit and leasing organizations and automotive dealers. With respect to public transportation and infrastructure initiatives, we advise public transportation authorities and have acted for large infrastructure companies and financing companies on several bridge and highway public-private partnerships.

Specifically, we have:

  • Acted as counsel to the Canadian Finance and Leasing Association and several of its members;
  • Advised the Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority on the Gateway infrastructure program, various commuter services, and real estate requirements;
  • Advised a worldwide global logistics ground transportation provider based in Asia; and
  • Acted as Canadian counsel to the U.S.-based International Warehouse and Logistics Association.

Maritime

Our commercial and litigation marine law practice includes the following services:
  • Advice to insured and insurers regarding marine insurance policy coverage issues including, ship collisions both at sea and with respect to shore-based facilities;
  • All types of maritime commercial contracts, including shipbuilding, charter party, insurance and freight forwarding contracts;
  • Maritime bankruptcies and insolvencies;
  • Tax advice as it affects the shipping and marine industries; and
  • Advising passenger cruise shipping lines with respect to tax and customs compliance in connection to operations in Canadian waters.