The globalization of shipping and the numerous legislative initiatives introduced within the European Union have increased the need for an updated legal framework on shipping law in Belgium. Since 2007, a Belgian Royal Commission has been reviewing and preparing the modernization of Belgian shipping law, as the legislation based on the Commercial Code dates back to the 19th century. Twelve years after the Royal Commission's establishment, and with the Council of Ministers approving the draft law and the Council of State adjusting it, parliament approved the new Belgian Maritime Code during a plenary session on 4 April 2019.

The Maritime Code introduces a new codification of maritime and inland shipping law. In private shipping law, Book II of the Maritime Code replaces sea and inland shipping, while it coordinates and updates separate laws for public shipping law. Overall, the new legal framework modernizes a major part of the legislative instruments on shipping, and combines all significant regulations into an updated structure which offers more legal certainty and consistency for current shipping-related sectors in Belgium. Following the Code's publication in the Belgian State Gazette, the new law will enter into force one year later.

If you are interested to learn more about the new Belgian Maritime Code, do not hesitate to contact the Brussels office of Dentons Europe LLP in case of further questions. Our lawyers are available to provide you with tailor-made advice on short notice.

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