Cargo and freight

A sling full of boxes dangles over the side of the red ship as it is lowered onto the ice
Cargo is slung and uploaded by crane onto the Aurora Australis from the ice (Photo: Felicity Jenkins)

The Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) provides cargo, logistics and biosecurity support for the Australian Antarctic Program (AAP).

AAD Head Office warehouse is the AAP's primary cargo delivery point. The Cargo and Biosecurity Centre (CBC) is the only delivery point for AAP transhipment, underbond and carnet cargo. The CBC consolidates and dispatches all AAP cargo that travels south by sea or air and processes clearances for all Return to Australia (RTA) cargo.

The AAD is subject to the Customs Act 1901 for all its cargo operations and is required to comply with Australian Border Force reporting timelines to allow conduct of its activities.

Cargo biosecurity screening

It is an offence under the AT(EP) Act to bring into, or keep in the Antarctic non-sterile soil, and animals, plants, viruses, bacteria, yeasts or fungi that are not indigenous to the Antarctic. A special exemption applies for food, and permits may be issued in regard to the importation of domestic plants, and laboratory animals and plants (Madrid Protocol, Annex III, Appendix B). It is the responsibility of a cargo consignor to ensure cargo is clean and free of any biological materials like live insects, seeds, soil, and live plants.

AAP cargo being shipped or flown to the Antarctic or sub-Antarctic is processed through biosecurity screening, to help reduce contaminants that pose a biosecurity risk. Cargo is inspected and fumigated to help ensure it is clean and free of any biological materials like live insects, seeds, soil, and live plants before export.

If you have any cargo that you consider should be exempt from biosecurity treatments, please email Supply Planning before your cargo is delivered to the AAD.

Export – Cargo going south

Cargo is required to be delivered to the warehouse or the CBC by the cargo required by date for your flight or voyage. The cargo required by date for each voyage or flight is included with other critical information in the shipping and flight schedules in the season shipping schedule.

Cargo required-by dates are set prior to voyage and flight departures to provide necessary time to process the cargo and to relate information to Customs and other stakeholders. If cargo is not manifested correctly then approval to load to either the ship or aircraft cannot be obtained, which will lead to delays in departure.

Details of intended cargo should be entered into the AAD electronic consignment system (external access).

If you are sending cargo that is subject to Customs control e.g. transshipment, underbond, carnet etc, please email the CBC.

Failure to deliver cargo by the cargo required-by date may preclude it from being packed to the nominated voyage or flight. If you know you are unable to meet these deadlines, please email Supply Planning.

Import – Cargo coming north (RTA)

All RTA cargo is entered into the AAD electronic consignment system before it is imported back to Australia. As with south-bound goods, all RTA cargo is subject to compliance with the Customs Act 1901, and the conditions of goods are regulated by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. Goods must be cleared by Australian Border Force and the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources prior to being released to the AAD. After goods are released to the AAD they are then dispatched to owners.

When returning cargo from Antarctica to Australia, different clearance processes apply to different types of cargo. Some clearances may be delayed due to conditions outside of AAD’s control.

Details of all RTA cargo should be entered into the AAD electronic consignment system (external access).