The maritime traffic is largely conducted by the steamers of the subsidized Austrian-Lloyd company, Trieste being the principal commercial centre; the coasting trade is carried on by small Greek and Turkish sailing vessels.
A majority of the ports, from which these roads are built, are small and difficult of access, and the coasting trade is restricted to vessels carrying the Brazilian flag.
There is a considerable coasting trade with other Burmese ports and with the Straits Settlements.
Briefly stated, these acts, which had been originated during the Protectorate of Cromwell, and continued after the Restoration, reserved the whole coasting trade of the country for British vessels and British seamen, and much of the foreign trade for British vessels, commanded and chiefly manned by British subjects.
The coasting trade is largely made up of products destined for exportation, or imports trans-shipped from the first-class ports to the smaller ones which have no direct relations with foreign countries.
In addition about 500 smaller vessels engaged in the coasting trade enter and clear from Boma and Banana every year.
With the destruction of the mainland cities by repeated barbarian invasions, and thanks to the gradual development of Venice as a centre of coasting trade in the northern Adriatic, the aspect of the city changed.
In the decline that followed the Civil War an apparent minimum was reached of 4,068,034 tons in 188o; but this does not adequately indicate the depression of the, shipping interest, inasmuch as the aggregate was kept up by the tonnage of vessels engaged in the coasting trade and commerce of the inland waters, from which foreign shipping is by law excluded.
In 1897 all shipowners engaging in the coasting trade of the colony were compelled to pay the colonial rate of wages.
In the coasting trade the exports are mostly pig-iron, codfish and some products of local industries and agriculture.