Cargo and freight

Warehouse full of stacked and sorted cargo.
Cargo that has been consigned and packed, ready for transport to Antarctica. (Photo: Mick Clarke)
A sling full of boxes dangles over the side of the red ship as it is lowered onto the ice

The Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) provides cargo, logistics and biosecurity support for the Australian Antarctic Program (AAP). The AAD uses a system called Econ for the creation and reporting of AAP cargo. Cargo is classified as goods carried on a ship, aircraft or motor vehicle. The AAD manages the import and export of AAP cargo and relies on the consignment information entered in the Econ system to meet our regulatory and reporting requirements.

AAD Headquarters (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.

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 contact Supply Planning before your cargo is delivered to the AAD.

International cargo (held by the AAD for on forwarding)

Cargo that is transhipment, underbond or carnet cargo, must be addressed to the Cargo and Biosecurity Centre (CBC) and should be delivered to the AAD prior to the cargo required-by date for the relevant AAP flight or voyage to Antarctica or sub Antarctic.

Please contact Supply Services before arranging this cargo as prior notification is required.

Export – Cargo going south

Cargo required-by dates are scheduled prior to voyage and flight departures to provide necessary time to process, pack and report cargo movements. If cargo is not packed and reported correctly then approval to load to either a vessel or aircraft cannot be obtained and may lead to delays in departure. All consignment information should be entered into the AAD electronic consignment system (external access) Econ, prior to cargo required by date for the nominated transport (30 days prior to scheduled departure).

Failure to deliver cargo by the cargo required-by date may preclude it from being packed to the nominated voyage or flight. If you are unable to meet these deadlines, please contact Supply Planning with the relevant Econ consignment reference number.

Import – Cargo coming north (RTA)

All RTA consignment information must be entered into the AAD electronic consignment system (external access) Econ, prior to cargo required by date for the nominated transport (30 days prior to scheduled departure).

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 relevant external agencies prior to being released to the AAD. After goods are released to the AAD they are then dispatched to receivers, as listed in the corresponding Econ consignments.