Domestic and international cargo in Canada’s coasting trade

Learn how the rules for foreign vessels providing feeder services, specifically the transportation of domestic and international cargo, are changing under amendments to the Coasting Trade Act (CTA). The amendments take effect when the Canada-European Union (EU) Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) enters into force in 2017.

On this page

Amendments explained

For combination cargo destined for both the domestic and international market, a coasting trade licence would be required for the domestic component of the activity undertaken by the vessel. Specifically:

  • A situation may arise whereby a qualifying entity and vessel may wish to provide domestic services in Canada through the transportation of combination cargo that is both domestic (destined for the domestic market in Canada) and international (destined for the foreign market, for example, import or export cargo):
    • For example, a qualifying European Union (EU) entity using an EU-registered vessel could carry a combination of domestic and international cargo from the Port of Montreal, Québec to the Port of Halifax, Nova Scotia, where the domestic cargo (destined for the domestic market; not part of one leg of an exportation of goods from Canada) is unloaded in Halifax and the remaining international cargo is transported to its international destination.
    • In this case, the activity of moving the cargo that will remain in the domestic market from the Port of Montreal (loaded) to the Port of Halifax (unloaded) would be outside of the scope of the new provisions under CETA and would be considered cabotage.
  • Another possible scenario could be that after travelling from the Port of Montreal with both international and domestic cargo, the vessel unloads its international cargo in Halifax and transports domestic cargo to another port in Canada. In this case, the activity of moving the cargo that will remain in the domestic market from the Port of Halifax to another port in Canada would be outside of the scope of the new provisions under CETA and would be considered cabotage.

Read our list of coasting trade terminology and definitions.

Contact Transport Canada’s Domestic Marine Policy Group

Email: tc.coastingtrade-cabotage.tc@tc.gc.ca

Date modified: