Cabotage application available online

Shipping companies can apply for their cabotage approval online via In addition, companies can register their interest in transports online. This way, the Generaldirektion Wasserstraßen und Schifffahrt (GDWS) optimizes their service for sea cabotage.

Cabotage is about the carriage of persons or goods with ships under foreign flag in German coastal waters. A cabotage approval is required when persons or goods are intended to get transported commercially from one place to another within German territory using German coastal waters (12 nautical mile area) on ships without a European flag (except Norway).

During the application process, the GDWS checks whether EU-flagged ships are available for the intended transport (a shipping space capacity verification). If this is the case, the cabotage application is denied.

This online option for cabotage applications and registration of carriage capacity, e.g. dry cargo ships, dredgers and construction site traffic, improves the economic chances of companies with EU-flagged ships.

The new online service has been programmed by the IT department of BG Verkehr and can be found under the heading "Flag · Register".