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 Antarctic supply chain for the Australian Antarctic Program (AAP) is managed by the Supply Management Group at the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD).

The warehouse at AAD headquarters in Kingston, is the primary cargo delivery point in support of the AAP. The Supply Management Group carry out numerous supply activities at the warehouse including the storage for equipment, expeditioner personal effects, freight services, bio security screening and processing for all cargo that travels south by sea or air.

Located on the Hobart waterfront, the Cargo and Bio Security Centre (CBC) is the point of consolidation and dispatch for all cargo that travels south by sea or air in support of the AAP. The CBC also processes all the Return to Australia (RTA) cargo on arrival.

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

Cargo biosecurity screening

The AAD is committed to providing best practice cargo, logistical and biosecurity support services to the AAP. All cargo being shipped or flown to the Antarctic or subantarctic under the AAP is required to be processed by AAD’s Supply Management Group 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. Cargo is inspected to ensure it is clean and free of any biological 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. These include 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, please email Supply Planning before your cargo is delivered to the AAD.

Cargo going south

Cargo is required to be delivered to the warehouse or the Cargo and Bio Security Centre 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 the necessary time to consolidate, pack and manifest cargo correctly and to apply for customs approval to load the cargo onto the ship or aircraft. This approval must be given to the Australian Antarctic Division 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 AAD electronic consignment system (external access).

Failure to delivery 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 contact

Cargo coming north (RTA)

All Return to Australia (RTA) cargo, is entered into the AAD electronic consignment system before it is imported. As with south-bound goods, all RTA cargo is subject to compliance with the Customs Act 1901, and must be cleared through the Customs Integrated Cargo System (ICS) prior to the goods being released to the Australian Antarctic Division. Again details of cargo should be entered into the AAD electronic consignment system (external access).