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 transport of cargo and provision of clothing and equipment to expeditioners for the Australian Antarctic Program is managed by the Supply Services Group (SSG) at the Division headquarters in Kingston. Procurements and contracts are also managed by the SSG.

The Kingston warehouse provides storage for equipment, freighting services, cargo receipt and numerous other activities in support of the Australian Antarctic Program (AAP). Also at Kingston, the Expeditioner Kitting Centre provides gear to everyone who travels south with the AAP. It typically kits out more than 500 expeditioners per year.

Located on the Hobart waterfront the Cargo Centre is the point of consolidation and dispatch for all cargo that travels south by sea or air in support of the AAp. It also processes all the Return to Australia (RTA) cargo on arrival. The Australian Antarctic Division is subject to the Customs Act 1901 for all its cargo operations and is must fit within reporting timelines to allow conduct of its activities.

Getting your cargo to and from a station

Cargo can be delivered to the Supply Services Group either at the Kingston Warehouse or the Cargo Centre at Macquarie Wharf. The most important factor in getting your cargo south is meeting the cargo required by date (CRBD). This date is set prior to voyage and flight departures to give SSG staff the necessary time to pack and manifest the cargo correctly and to apply for customs approval to load the cargo onto the ship or aircraft. This approval must be given before loading can commence.

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 Cargo Management System.

Cargo required by dates (CRBD)

Every voyage or flight has a cargo required by date to allow for the timely delivery of items. Cargo must be delivered by this date and failure to do so may preclude it from being packed to the nominated voyage or flight.

The CRBD for each voyage is included with other critical information in the shipping and flight schedules listed per voyage. For example, to obtain the Voyage 1 CRBD go to V1 in the season shipping schedule.

Cargo coming north (RTA)

All Return to Australia (RTA) cargo, both work and personal gear, is lodged through the station storesperson. As with south-bound goods all RTA cargo is subject to compliance with the Customs Act 1901, and it is vital that everything must be cleared through the Customs Integrated Cargo System (ICS) prior to the goods being released. Again details of cargo should be entered into the AAD Cargo Management System.

Cargo biosecurity screening

The AAD is committed to providing best practice cargo, logistical and biosecurity support services to the Australian Antarctic Program (AAP). All cargo being shipped or flown to the Antarctic or subantarctic under the AAP is required to be processed by AAD’s Supply Services Group (SSG) before being loaded to an aircraft or vessel for transport.

All cargo bound for Antarctica must pass through a biosecurity screening process, to ensure freedom from contaminants that pose a biosecurity risk, before it can be loaded onto the vessel or aircraft.

Qualified AAD and other agency staff will closely inspect cargo to make sure it is clean and free of materials like live insects, seeds, soil, and live plants before export. The AAD will also use a number of risk mitigation strategies to prevent biosecurity risks from entering Antarctica or the subantarctic. Among, but not limited to, these strategies is the treatment of goods by fumigation, insect spraying and trapping, rodent baiting and fogging. If you have any cargo that you consider should be exempt from biosecurity treatments you should notify SSG as soon as possible.