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Vu Phuong Tran is a Partner and Head of Saigon Office. She has over 15 years of experience advising and representing clients on Ship Finance, Corporate Shipping, Investment and Employment. 

She has dealt with all kinds of ship finance and subsequently rising disputes, as well as regularly assisting foreign investors on commercial and investment activities in Vietnam (from the pre-licensing to post-licensing stage. Some examples include:

Ship finance: 

  • Ship building,
  • Sale and purchase,
  • Management agreement,
  • Charterparty,
  • Bill of lading.

Commercial and Investment:

  • Incorporation of the company,
  • Setting up joint ventures and partnerships,
  • Providing legal advice on all issues related to the companies business operation in Vietnam.

Trang has frequently represented and provided advice, assistance and support to:

  • Sellers,
  • Buyers and their banks,
  • Mortgagees in S&P and Shipbuilding deals in Vietnam,
  • In-house counsels of major shipping companies located within Vietnam,
  • Claim handlers of leading P&I Clubs,
  • H&M underwriters as well as their international correspondents.

Subsequently, Tran has been involved in the recognition and enforcement of approximately 20 awards rendered by the SIAC, ICA, HKIAC, JCAA, KCAB, AIAC, NYIAC and GAFTA and other ad-hoc arbitral awards at various courts in provinces in Vietnam (e..g., Long An, Binh Duong, Dong Nai and Ho Chi Minh) at provincial and high court levels. In addition to this, Tran has handled a wide range of dispute matters covering sectors in shipping, real estate, employment, shareholding, bankruptcy and international and domestic trade. 

By maintaining working relations with various governmental and regulatory agencies in Vietnam, Tran has access to the resources necessary to produce timely and effective results for our clients.

Ship Finance:

  • Assisted buyers and buyers’ banks in various S&P and Shipbuilding deals worth over USD 127 million, by attending Vinashin Hyundai Shipyard and its subsidiaries around Vietnam to take delivery of ships and sign the Protocol of Delivery and Acceptance, 
  • Aided a Scottish buyer in a S&P deal to take delivery of a ship from a local shipyard with a total value over GBP 12 million,
  • Helped a Russian buyer in a S&P deal to purchase 02 vessels from a local shipowner with a total value of USD 2.5 million,
  • Assisted a US buyer in acquiring a floating dock in Nha Trang from a local seller with a value of USD 6.2 million,
  • Aided shipyards and builders’ banks to negotiate with local and foreign buyers,
  • Assisted 2 buyers and their banks to negotiate with local shipyards on the terms of shipbuilding agreements and relevant licenses for operation of their ship/river cruises in Mekong River,
  • Helped US investors to negotiate with local investors on a joint venture agreement to build and operate a fleet of luxury river cruises for operation in Mekong River,
  • Aided a Malaysian investment company to buy 3 river cruises for operation in Mekong River,
  • Assisted one of the world’s largest dry bulk shipping companies in Germany, on how to conduct transshipment services in Vietnam and advise on the restrictions of Vietnamese law on cabotage activities in terms of the foreign shipping companies.

Recognition and Enforcement:

  • Successfully represented a Singapore company in achieving a Judgment of Ho Chi Minh City court for the recognition and enforcement of the 1st adhoc award in the territory of Vietnam,
  • Represented a Swiss buyer in applying for recognition and enforcement of three arbitral awards of the Grain and Feed Trade Association, against three local sellers in Kien Giang province, Vietnam. This marked the first time GAFTA awards were recognized and enforced in Vietnam,
  • Acted on behalf of a Swiss group in applying for recognition and enforcement of 7 awards at the International Cotton Associations in Vietnam with the value of these awards amounting to more than 21 million USD,
  • Successfully represented a Korean seller in obtaining decisions for recognition and enforcement of an SIAC arbitral award against a local buyer at the first instance and appeal courts,
  • Represented a BVI Company (operating in Hong Kong) in relation to the recognition and enforcement of an SIAC award worth millions of dollars,
  • Acted on behalf of a Swiss company in successfully negotiating and settling with a local company in respect of the judgment enforcement, with an amount of around USD 1 million.


  • Represented a Korean shipowner in protecting the carrier’s position in local courts against a shipper’s wrongful claim, arising from under some Bs/L for carriage of 80 containers of rice from Saigon of Vietnam to Tema of Ghana,
  • Acted on behalf of a local shipowner in a dispute over a bareboat charterparty against the charterers, with a total claim amount of over USD 250,000 at the District court of Ho Chi Minh City,
  • Represented a company based in Hong Kong in a lawsuit against a state owned company on a dispute involving the members of a joint venture company,
  • Represented a Swiss company in a bankruptcy proceeding at the Vietnamese court with value of millions of dollars,
  • Acted on behalf of foreign creditors in a complex bankruptcy proceeding at the local court, against a local shipyard with a claim totaling to hundreds of millions of dollars,
  • Represented a famous French group in a court proceeding on disputes relating to a real estate lease agreement and the development of supermarkets in Vietnam which held amounted to a value of USD 40 million.

Corporate, Investment and Other Laws:

  • Regularly advises one of Chinese largest group of companies on all aspects of Vietnamese laws in relation to the application for work permits/visas, drafting and registration of internal labour rules, the merging of a company, drafting labour contracts, assignment of employees, non-compete restrictions, legal risks associated with human resource outsourcing, employment health checks, employment disputes, agreement on proprietary information and inventions, corporate and individual income tax, advice on prevention and restriction on inappropriate conduct around the work area, advice on IT/admin-related assets management policy, etc.,
  • Frequently advises a Finnish assemble of companies on all aspects of Vietnamese laws in relation to the termination of labour contracts due to the change of structure, technology, merging of the company, application of discipline measures against employees who committed theft, site strategy projects, drafting and registration of internal labour rules, drafting labour contracts, collective labour agreements, etc.,
  • Assisted an enterprise owned by 100% capital of a BVI company to set up the first completely automated cold storage warehouse in Vietnam,
  • Represented one of the largest securities company in a USD 4.6 million share acquisition transaction with a Swedish company,
  • Advised a Hong Kong real estate development company in acquiring a 99% share in a Vietnamese real estate development company,
  • Producing due diligence reports prior to M&A deals and advising on fair trade, tax, labour, and intellectual property issues that arise during the course of M&A transactions,
  • Assisted a 100% foreign owned enterprise in applying for registration and extension of foreign loans of USD 5 million, 
  • Aided a Michelin group to set up a company in Vietnam and obtain the right to export and import tires, inner tubes and accessories of vehicles,
  • Advised famous Singaporean groups on the establishment of their resident representative offices in Vietnam, and assisted them on the registration of personnel and declaration of personal income tax and authority tax,
  • Guided many foreign investors on the establishment of a joint venture company in the distribution sector in regards to chemicals, computer equipment and other consumer goods, whilst also working with the Ministry of Industry and Trade and relevant People’s Committees in applying for investment certificates for such investments,
  • Advised a Vietnamese leading company on development and production of online games in its provision of digital information search tools,
  • Aided a famous US technology company on the legal matters concerning telecommunication services, internet information services and online social network services,
  • Conducted the separation of an enterprise owned by 100% capital of a BVI company, by transferring part of the assets, rights and obligations of the enterprise to establish 3 new limited liability companies,
  • Advised a Singaporean bank on the structure of granting an offshore loan of SGD 3.9 million to a local company, and how to secure the local company’s obligations under the loan agreement, as well as guiding internal procedures of the parties to ensure the effectiveness of the transaction,
  • Assisted a company based in Hong Kong to set up a local company where they could acquire the right to import and export flower seed, 
  • Helped a Singaporean company to set up a company providing services of consultancy on employment, occupational training, services of employment introduction to employees and supply and recruitment of labour upon request by employers,
  • Aided a Germany company in setting up a company producing and processing software products,
  • Attended the head office of a large milk company in Vietnam every day to provide legal advice on all aspects of Vietnamese laws,
  • Gave advice on projects to do with solar power plants in Binh Thuan and An Giang provinces,
  • Advised on bankruptcy procedures under Vietnamese laws.
  • The Vietnam Chapter of Getting the Deal Through 2013 & 2014 Editions (Law Business Research Ltd – Co-author).


  • Attended a Commodities Workshop hosted by Holman Fenwick Willan LLP and GAFTA, Vietnam.


  • Attended a conference on amendments of the 2005 Maritime Code of Vietnam, Vietnam,
  • Attended a conference on amendments of the 2005 Law on Enterprises of Vietnam, Vietnam.
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