Types of cargo

Davis expeditioner marking cargo for return to Australia
Marking the cargo for return to Australia (Photo: Bill D)

Cargo can be broadly categorised as follows:

Please ensure that you provide all the necessary information to the AAD and that you follow the relevant instructions in relation to packaging requirements.

For all relevant packing instructions, contact the AAD cargo centre or consult our online guidelines.

Work equipment

All equipment owned by your employer or purchased for your work is considered to be work equipment by the Australian Customs Service (ACS). Work equipment cannot be consigned as personal effects.

When returning cargo to Australia, different ACS clearance processes apply to work equipment and personal effects.


For detailed guidelines on packing and sending samples, and other related information, please visit the samples page.

Unaccompanied personal effects

Any personal gear that you are returning from Antarctica is regarded as unaccompanied personal baggage and is not required to meet the same complex customs clearance processes as general cargo.

Upon lodging your personal effects with the station storesperson you will be required to complete a "B534" - Unaccompanied Personal Effects Statement. Personal effects cannot be cleared for release by Customs in Australia without this form. The Unaccompanied Personal Effects Statement is a form produced by Customs and AQIS to provide a declaration of the goods contained in your unaccompanied baggage.

When filling out these forms please be as accurate as possible and think seriously about the items that you need to declare – if in doubt declare it. All unaccompanied baggage is now x-rayed by Customs on arrival in Hobart. Customs and Quarantine Officers use this x-ray to confirm information declared on the forms.

Both Customs and Quarantine are interested in clearing our goods as rapidly as possible and provision of accurate information makes this process possible. Baggage is usually cleared within a week of arrival and can then be collected from M4 or dispatched according to instructions left with the cargo centre.

Accompanied personal effects

Your cabin baggage is included on the passenger declaration that you make to Customs on departure or arrival. Cabin baggage does not have to be consigned and manifested as cargo.

Dangerous goods

Dangerous goods (DGs) transported by sea and air are covered by various pieces of legislation. For relevant packing instructions, contact the AAD cargo centre or consult our online guidelines.

For UN numbers and other information on commonly shipped Dangerous Goods please consult our DG Quick Reference Table

Australia Post mail

Southbound mail: Mail to people in Antarctica is consolidated at AAD Head Office at Kingston and sent by courier to the Macquarie Wharf facility (it does not accept mail directly). There mail is held aside for inspection by Quarantine as part of the AAD's environmental management processes.

Quarantine officers manually inspect all mail, usually with the assistance of sniffer dogs, to ensure that no contaminants are sent to Antarctica. Items that have been removed from the mail in the past include food stuffs and wheat products. If you are unsure if an item is suitable to mail to Antarctica please contact us.

Please consult our guidelines before sending Australia Post mail to Antarctica and check the mail closing dates before sending your mail.

Mail from Antarctica: Mail from Antarctica is unloaded from the vessel and consolidated for collection by Australia Post. All Customs and Quarantine checks on this mail are performed at the mail centre prior to its despatch for delivery.