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Coastal Trading Licence - Australian Government


You will require this licence if you operate a passenger or cargo vessel and intend to engage in the coasting trade between Australian (interstate) ports.

There are several types of coastal trading licences:

  • General Licence (for Australian General Shipping Register vessels) provides unrestricted access to engage in coastal trading in Australian waters.
  • Transitional General Licence for foreign registered vessels continuing to legally operate under a licence originally issued under Part VI of the Navigation Act 1912.
  • Temporary Licence provides access to engage in coastal trading in Australian waters and is limited to the voyages authorised by the licence.
  • Emergency Licence can be issued during an event that endangers or threatens life property or the environment and that requires a significant and coordinated response, and if the required voyage cannot be undertaken by a vessel already authorised to be used to engage in coastal trading under licence.

Please note the Agency no longer accepts applications for Transitional General Licences.

The following kinds of vessels may be exempt from the requirements for this licence:

  • a vessel belonging to or operated by the Australian Defence Force or the defence forces of a country other than Australia
  • a Commonwealth vessel that is used wholly or primarily for non-commercial activities
  • a fishing vessel or fishing fleet support vessel
  • an inland waterways vessel
  • an offshore industry vessel
  • a recreational vessel
  • a salvage vessel
  • a tugboat.

Service type


A licence defines the need to obtain recognition / certification and registration to undertake a certain business activity.

Eligibility requirements

You may apply for a general licence to authorise your vessel to be used to engage in coastal trading if the vessel is registered in the Australian General Shipping Register and you are the owner, charterer, master or agent of the vessel. Your application must relate to one vessel only and must be in writing and be accompanied by the following:

  • your Client Reference Number (CRN)
  • evidence that the vessel is registered in the Australian General Shipping Register
  • a statement that each seafarer working on the vessel, when the vessel is used to engage in coastal trading, is or will hold Australian citizenship or a permanent visa or a temporary visa that does not prohibit the seafarer from performing the work he or she performs on the vessel
  • the application fee
  • any other information prescribed by the regulations.

If you are seeking to apply for more than one vessel a separate application must be made for each vessel. Conditions and reporting requirements may be placed on your licence.

Separate eligibility requirements may apply for transitional, temporary and emergency licences.


General licence - granted for up to five years; Temporary licence - valid for 12 months; Emergency licence - granted for up to 30 days


Fees Details for this service in table format.

Task Type Business Structure Description
Apply Application All

Please consult the Contact Officer for information on fees to be submitted.


Act(s) name

Coastal Trading (Revitalising Australian Shipping) Act 2012 Australian Government

Regulation(s) name

Coastal Trading (Revitalising Australian Shipping) Regulation 2012 Australian Government

Administering agency

Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts

Contact details

Contact Email, Phone and Address Details for this service in simple two column table format, header then data.