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The Maritime Transport Division ensures that citizens and businesses in all parts of PNG are provided with an accessible maritime transport that is economically efficient and sustainable in the long term. In conjunction with other Maritime agencies, it is responsible for the setting of policies to regulate the domestic shipping industry in PNG.

The Maritime Transport Division, within the Department of Transport is headed by the First Assistant Secretary. Formulating Maritime Policies and Market Regulations for the shipping industry including nomination of ports as ‘declared’ or ‘undeclared’ ports lies within the Department of Transport. Through the Maritime Division the Department of Transport is recognized as the legitimate representative of the PNG Government for maritime transport related matters and works in partnership with National Maritime Safety Authority in regard to International Agreements on maritime (Safety) matters and registration of vessels.

The responsibilities maintained by Maritime Transport Division include:

  1. Issuance of Coastal Trade License
  2. Issuance of Coastal Trade Permit
  3. Ensuring the Coasting Trade License and Permit conditions compliance for international and coastal vessels in accordance with the provision of the Coasting Trade Act.
  4. Monitoring the total number of vessels allowed to trade in these waters. The current practice is generally prohibiting overseas vessels from carrying domestic cargoes.

The functions consists in the delivery, to the applicant of the coasting trade licence or coasting trade permit granting the shipper the right to carryout coastal shipping activities for a specific time or period of 1 to 8 years maximum.  The licensing period depends on the prime functions, age and size of the vessel.

In 2013, the total number of licenses and permits issued was 206.

In 2014, the total number of licenses and permits issued increased to 253.

With regard to international transit, it is estimated that 3850 vessels per year  which made voyages between Australia’s east ports and Asian ports.  The traffic is principally bulk carriers, container vessels and general cargo vessels.

To date there are 916 coastal vessels  which have been licensed and are operating in PNG coastal waters.  These vessels include motor tugs and dumb barges.  The total numbers of vessels that have been issued with the coasting trade permits to undertake temporary voyage are 60.

Shipping Administration Branch

The Shipping Administration Branch purpose is to control and regulate the number of coastal vessels trading on specific routes within PNG waters, with the intention of encouraging competition, while maintaining strict control over the safety of all PNG registered vessels.

The responsibility of the Shipping Administration Branch is to receive and review the applications and to pass them to the Coasting Trade Committee (CTC).

The CTC is chaired by the First Assistant Secretary Maritime Transport Division and comprises Committee Members from the Shipping Industry and Government.

The Committee meets quarterly to grant, refuse and or defer the licence applications by way of recommendation by the Minister who signs the original licenses.

The Shipping Administration Branch deliberates and assesses the necessary requirements of the Merchant Shipping Act for ship-owners to correctly follow during lodgement of Applications for Permits and Licenses.