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

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). All cargo should be delivered to the AAD at least 30 days prior to the cargo required-by date for the relevant AAP flight or voyage.

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. 30 days prior to scheduled arrival for the relevant AAP flight or voyage, all consignment information must be submitted in the AAD electronic consignment system (external access) and all cargo must be delivered to the AAD.

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 number.

Import – Cargo coming north (RTA)

All RTA consignment information must be entered into the AAD electronic consignment system (external access) Econ, 30 days prior to scheduled arrival for the relevant AAP flight or voyage.

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 (or owners), as listed in the corresponding Econ consignments.