JEAIL > Volume 10(1); 2017 > Articles
Research Paper
Published online: May 30, 2017

The ASEAN Single Shipping Market: Towards a Regional Cabotage Regime

Chinyere Ezeoke
Faculty of Law, University of Malaya, 50603, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Corresponding Author:

ⓒ Copyright YIJUN Institute of International Law
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


ASEAN's goal of establishing a single shipping market is consistent with its desire to create a highly integrated, connected and competitive region in which cross-border, intra-ASEAN establishment and provision of shipping services is permitted. However, the measures currently being mapped out for achieving the single shipping market have not included liberalizing cabotage. This article argues that abolishing cabotage by removing the prohibition on the ASEAN ship-owners to engage in each other's domestic shipping is a necessary requirement to fully achieve a single shipping market. It discusses the cabotage regimes in the four ASEAN States, namely Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand. It highlights the vessel registration, licensing and manning requirements of each State. Further, the article discusses the regulatory provisions that exclude foreign ship-owners from domestic shipping and the scope of the exemptions from cabotage. Finally, it makes recommendations on how the disparate regulatory provisions can be harmonized through the adoption of an ASEAN agreement on cabotage.

Keywords : ASSM, AEC, Maritime Cabotage, EU Regulation, Malaysia, Indonesia, The Philippines, Thailand

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