Coastal Trading

On 1 July 2012, the Coastal Trading (Revitalising Australian Shipping) Act 2012 (the Act) created a new licensing regime to regulate access the coastal trade which replaced the previous permit system that was established under Part VI of the Navigation Act 1912.

The Act regulates coastal trade by granting licences to authorise vessels to carry passengers or cargo between ports in Australia. The licensing system established under the Act sets out three licence types; general licences, temporary licences and emergency licences. Licences are issued for interstate voyages however; licence holders can choose to apply the Act to intrastate voyages by submitting a section 12 declaration. Applications for licences and reporting requirements must be submitted online through the Coastal Trading Licensing System (CTLS).

In addition to the existing coastal trading system, the Australian Government established the Australian International Shipping Register (AISR) for Australian shipowners who predominantly engage in international trading. Eligible vessels registered in the AISR are able to access a range of tax incentives offered by the Australian Government.

All domestic movements of cargo or passengers on interstate voyages must be authorised by one of the below licence types. Using a vessel to engage in coastal trading without a licence is an offence and may lead to a penalty being imposed.

Coastal Trading Enforcement Strategy

General Licence

A General Licence (for Australian General Shipping Register vessels) provides unrestricted access to engage in coastal trading in Australian waters for five years.

Temporary Licence

A temporary licence provides access to engage in coastal trading in Australian waters—this licence is valid for 12 months and is limited to the voyages authorised by the licence.

Emergency Licence

An Emergency Licence provides access to engage in coastal trading in Australian waters in identified emergency situations—this licence may be granted for up to 30 days.

Declaration under section 12

A declaration under section 12 of the Act applies to a vessel engaging in carriage of cargo or passengers for intrastate voyages within Australia which can be submitted through the Coastal Trading Licensing System.

Statutory Declaration

A statutory declaration is required under section 43 (ba) of the Act for applications to vary a Temporary Licence for Energy Security Situations.

Transitional General Licence

Transitional arrangements for owners of foreign vessels that held a licence issued under Part VI of the Navigation Act 1912 at 30 June 2012 have been provided for through a Transitional General Licence. Transitional General Licences are continued in force by the Coastal Trading (Revitalising Australian Shipping) (Consequential Amendments and Transitional Provisions) Act 2012. Applications for this licence type are no longer accepted.

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Last Updated: 31 October, 2016