The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) region spans geostrategic waterways of the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden and the western Indian Ocean. In ancient times, these routes were a conduit for African trade to and from Arabia, India and beyond. It is time for IGAD to maximise the potential of maritime trade by establishing a Regional Maritime Council that can revitalise maritime industries and promote economic integration. This policy brief provides an overview of the state of maritime trade in the IGAD region and the challenges to it. It is argued that for the region to realise improved maritime trade and transit, a holistic approach is required to address the numerous sea-based challenges and threats. It is thus imperative that IGAD establishes a Regional Maritime Council (RMC). The RMC will be a regional mechanism that brings together all member states, relevant entities, authorities and shipping associations to effectively streamline and boost regional maritime trade. It will do this by easing bottlenecks and moderating challenges facing maritime industries in the IGAD region.