Overseas cargo

All voyages to Antarctica, Heard Island and marine science voyages that touch the ice edge are regarded as overseas voyages.  If you are temporarily moving equipment from outside Australia to Antarctica you do not need to import the goods into Australia.

There are two options that you can take to avoid the Customs clearance delays associated with importing goods for use in Australia. These are Transhipment and Carnet.


Transhipment is the simplest and most straightforward way to move cargo to Antarctic destinations from overseas as officially the cargo is not landed in Australia - we are just a holding pond for it on the way south. The AAD Cargo Facility is a licensed Customs Bond Store, allowing us to hold cargo between destinations.

For a transhipment movement the consignor will need to supply basic information such as the total number of packages, a general description of contents, a total weight and total value. There is no requirement to provide detailed information for all contents as is necessary to import into Australia.

Transhipment is an excellent, low-fuss way to consign goods for temporary import, including consumable items. The goods will be returned on Transhipment but do not have to be in the same form as they were exported, as is the case for Carnet goods.

The trap with Transhipment is that the goods must be held in BOND and cannot be accessed prior to the voyage. Nothing can be added, removed, altered, calibrated, recharged etc.

For more information on Transhipment you should contact your local Customs Authority, Customs Agent or relevant AAD personnel.


A Carnet enables the goods to move from country of origin, through Australia to Antarctica and then return again without needing to supply the detail required for import clearance for domestic consumption in Australia.

If goods are shipped to Antarctica via Carnet we do need to make sure that the Carnet documents are completed properly on entry, re-export to Antarctica, re-entry to Australia and re-export home again. These Customs inspections can be coordinated by the staff at the AAD Cargo Facility.

The advantage of Carnet over Transhipment is that the goods can be accessed on arrival in Australia for calibration, charging etc. however Carnets do attract an extra fee. It is not advisable to use Carnets to move consumable goods as duty and GST is payable on any items that are not returned on the Carnet. It is best to use Transhipment for consumable items.

For more information on Carnets you can contact your local Chamber of Commerce/Industry or AAD personnel.