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Jonathan Benner

Senior Counsel

Washington, D.C.
202 585 6985 202 585 6985 direct

Jonathan focuses on regulatory issues and litigation affecting domestic and international maritime and shipping matters, as well as international trade regulation issues related to the global movement of goods and commodities.

A leading lawyer in complex shipping matters, Jonathan represents liner and bulk vessel operators, maritime trade associations, international marine insurers, port authorities, terminal operators, cruise operators and investment entities. His practice includes representation of major U.S. ports in addressing legal and regulatory issues concerning environmental controversies and improvements to port infrastructure.

He is the go-to lawyer for high-profile environmental litigation centered on the operation of vessels, particularly tank vessels, and port air quality and infrastructure construction issues. These cases include constitutional challenges in various federal courts to state and local regulation of maritime activity. One of these cases, Intertanko v. Locke (consolidated for argument with United States v. Locke), 529 U.S. 89 (2000),is a lead case in maritime constitutional preemption issues. Jonathan successfully argued this case for international shipping interests before the Supreme Court of the United States. He also prevailed in constitutional litigation challenging the validity of certain types of local port charges levied against cruise vessels.

Chambers Global (by Chambers &Partners) describes Jonathan in its national and global rankings of shipping lawyers as "a premier practitioner [who] has earned credibility and respect within the industry sector... 'he combines excellent strategic sense and top-notch negotiation skills with a strong presence in court'."

Prior to entering private practice, Jonathan was a trial attorney, appellate attorney, and General Counsel of the Federal Maritime Commission.

Thompson Coburn Publications

What every shipper should know about OSRA 22

U.S. Releases guidance addressing sanctions evasion practices in maritime, energy and metal trading sectors

A critique of current federal regulation of marine terminal operators


"Shippers, are you ready for SOLAS' verified container weight mandate?"
April 4, 2016