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 AAP uses an electronic consignment system called Econ, to report all AAP cargo movements. Cargo is classified as goods carried on a ship, aircraft or motor vehicle. The AAD facilitates the import and export of AAP cargo and relies on the consignment information entered in Econ, 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

Australia has an obligation under the Antarctic Treaty System, several international agreements and national legislation to protect the Antarctic environment. The AAD is strongly committed to the comprehensive protection of the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic environments. Biosecurity means protecting the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic environments (that the AAD operates in) from the risk of introducing invasive, non-native species. It is the responsibility of a cargo consignor (owner or sender of cargo) to ensure cargo is clean and free of any biological materials like live insects, seeds, soil, and live plants, to help mitigate the risk of introducing non-native species to the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic environments.

AAP cargo being shipped or flown to the Antarctic or sub-Antarctic is known as southbound cargo. Southbound cargo is processed through biosecurity screening, to help reduce contaminants that pose a biosecurity risk. External packaging of cargo is inspected. After inspection and packing, cargo is fumigated to help ensure it is clean and free of any biological materials like live insects, seeds, soil, and live plants before export. Cargo returning to Australia from the Antarctic or sub-Antarctic is known as Return to Australia cargo (RTA). RTA cargo is also processed through biosecurity screening and fumigation.

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

For further information, please refer to AAD's biosecurity protocol.

Reporting requirements

All AAP cargo must be reported in the AAD electronic consignment system (external access) at least 30 days prior to the scheduled departure for the relevant AAP flight or voyage. As a cargo consignor you are obligated to correctly and accurately describe the goods that you send/pack to the AAD. You are also obligated to declare any cargo items containing Dangerous Goods (DGs). DGs can include everyday items such as toiletries, aerosols, tools, lithium batteries and perfume. For further information please refer to the Dangerous Goods page.

If cargo is not reported correctly and accurately, it may be precluded from being packed to the nominated transport and may cause delays in cargo clearances or cargo delivery.

All RTA cargo is subject to compliance with the Customs Act 1901, and the conditions of goods are regulated by the Department of Agriculture. Goods must be cleared by relevant external agencies prior to being released to the AAD. After goods are released to the AAD they are dispatched to receivers (or owners), as listed in the corresponding RTA Econ consignments.

Delivery requirements

All AAP cargo must be delivered to the AAD at least 30 days prior to the scheduled departure for the relevant AAP flight or voyage. These deadlines provide the AAD necessary time to process, pack and report cargo movements to our external regulatory bodies. Cargo may be precluded from being packed to the nominated transport if these delivery deadlines are not met. If cargo is not packed correctly, then approval to load cargo to either a vessel or aircraft cannot be obtained and may lead to delays in departure.

If you are unable to meet the delivery deadline, please contact Supply Planning with the relevant Econ consignment number as soon as possible. Cargo that cannot meet the delivery deadline is considered 'late' cargo. Late cargo must be delivered to the AAD at least 10 days prior to scheduled arrival for the relevant AAP flight or voyage and will require pre-approval from AAD's Supply Services Group.

All international cargo held by the AAD for on forwarding e.g. transhipment, underbond or carnet cargo, must be addressed to the Cargo and Biosecurity Centre (CBC). Please contact Supply Planning before arranging delivery of this cargo as prior notification is required.