Trudie Nichols


Trudie Nichols is a consultant  in our Durban office for the Ports, Transport and Logistics sector after having been a partner for over 5.5 years.

Trudie has legal and consulting experience within the Ports, Transport and Logistics sector. She has conducted due diligence investigations, risk assessments and provided advice to clients in relation to the existing and regulatory port legislation, legal frameworks and applicable legislation. She has drafted and reviewed concession, lease and service agreements and has advised both terminal users and operators on contractual and legal risks. She has also represented clients in relation to Occupational Health and Safety incidents as well as analysis of applicable environmental legislation in the port context.  Trudie has been invited to speak at international conferences on a range on issues applicable to ports, the blue economy, special economic zones, the port hinterland and port efficiencies.

She is a past chairperson of the Association of Woman in Insurance and a member of The Maritime Law Association of South Africa and the Association of Woman in Insurance.

She has a BA and LLB degree from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and Certificates in Proficiency and Intermediate Business Studies from the Insurance Institute of South Africa. She also has certificates in Negotiation & Leadership and The Art of Saying No from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.

Relevant experience

  • Conducted a viability study and provided PPP transaction advisory services (legal and risk assessment) to Transnet SOC Ltd in relation to the new Durban dig-out port (2012 – 2014).
  • Advising SAPREF Refinery in respect of regulatory, contractual, litigious and non-litigious matters related to the SAPREF Refinery, which is a National Key Point in the Port of Durban. This includes advising SAPREF on issues relating to its Single Buoy Mooring (SBM), National Key Point legislation, occupational health and safety issues, and the products used and manufactured by the Refinery.
  • On instruction from Alston & Bird LLP, USA, advised the Purchaser on all aspects relating to the SmartPorts Project for the Port of Durban.
  • Advising MSC Cruises SA in relation to the proposed Durban Cruise Terminal, including negotiation and revision of the port concession agreement, as well as advice on the provisions of the National Ports Act, governance matters, all environmental issues competition issues, financing of the project and all legal aspects pertaining to the RFP and coordinating the submission of a complaint bid (2016 – ongoing).
  • Advising a confidential client in relation to a LPG Terminal Port Facility in South Africa, including negotiation and drafting of a tank development and usage agreement and conducting relevant due diligences.
  • Advising a confidential international client in relation to the construction of a Desalination Plant in KwaZulu Natal.
  • Advising and representing the LBH Consortium, a consortium consisting of three Mozambique companies with their formal written Objections to the Award of the tender for the rehabilitation and development of the Port of Mocimboa da Praia. The tender was award to another consortium of companies in a manner which was considered to be unfair and lacking in transparency, legality, public accountability and without any technical or commercial justification. This matter is significant since the port in question provides support  services for operations related to LNG exploration in the Rovuma Basin and is particularly strategic for the off-shore exploration which is currently being undertaken.
  • Advising a Container Terminal Operator in one of South Africa’s Ports in relation to the criminal law and Compensation for occupational injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA) implications following on from a Board of Inquiry into a fatality at the Container Terminal.
  • Chairing a Board of Inquiry for another Container Terminal Operator in one of South Africa’s Ports into a fatality at the Container Terminal.
  • Headed up the legal team which formed part of the Lenders Technical Advisor (LTA) for two confidential development banks which were co-funding Phase II of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project. The LTA prepared a technical due diligence report for use as a high level review and identification of material risks that could be used by the Lenders in their approval activities.
  • Speaking at various international conferences on topics around the blue economy, Operation Phakisa and hinterland connectivity.

Awards & citations

  • Member of the team that was awarded the 2019 “Transportation and Infrastructure Team of the Year Award” by the African Legal Awards.

Publications & insights