Freight Rail, Safety, Standards & Regulation

Renewed push for coastal shipping

Port Botany. Photo: Sydney Ports

An improved set of coastal shipping regulations could remove freight from Australian roads and railways, federal infrastructure minister Darren Chester has said.

Around 15% of Australia’s domestic freight is moved by ship, but Chester believes “with Australia’s extensive coastline and broad network of ports, there is scope for this figure to increase”.

The Federal Government is seeking comment from ship operators, shipping companies and other stakeholders for how it can improve the legislation which regulates the coastal shipping sector.

Chester released the Discussion Paper on Coastal Shipping Reforms on March 21.

“Coastal shipping can take long-distance cargo off our highways and railway lines,” he said.

“However, it has become clear that limitations in the current regulatory system are working against that potential being realised.

“We need to address a range of administrative issues in the Coastal Trading (Revitalising Australian Shipping) Act 2012, which place unnecessary burdens on shipping companies and the Australian businesses that rely on coastal shipping.”

Chester said the intention of the discussion paper is to generate suggestions for how the act can be altered “without changing the basic structure of the current coastal trading regulatory scheme”.