Unaccompanied Personal Effects (UPE) refers to the personal belongings and essential items expeditioners consign as cargo for transport to Antarctic and sub-Antarctic stations. UPE differs to expeditioners’ Accompanied Personal Effects (APE), which is carried with them as carry-on baggage, cabin baggage or checked baggage on their voyage or flight.

It is important to note that UPE might not always travel on the same transport as expeditioners; depending on the flight and shipping schedule, UPE may be sent separately on a resupply voyage or cargo flight. Due to this possibility, expeditioners are advised to carry necessary items, such as spare clothing, toiletries and medications, in their carry-on baggage to get them through until their UPE arrives on station.

Personal effects allowances

The amount of cargo that expeditioners can take to station varies by the length of their stay on station and may also be constrained by the transport options in a given season. The below information relates to the typical allowances; however, these may vary between seasons or may require splitting between transports. Expeditioners will receive specific information prior to their deployment. These allowances are in place for both southbound and northbound transports.

Accompanied Personal Effects – all expeditioners

Accompanied Personal Effects allowances vary per transport type, expeditioners will receive information ahead of their departure which will include specific limits and allowances for their transport.

Unaccompanied Personal Effects – summering expeditioners

If you are a summering expeditioner, you will typically have an allowance of 50kg for your UPE. However, please be aware that this allowance can vary depending on the length of your stay and the transport options available during a given season.

Unaccompanied Personal Effects – wintering expeditioners

Wintering expeditioners may have longer stays and require additional winter clothing and supplies, therefore, the wintering allowance is 250 kg; however, consignments cannot exceed 1 m³ in volume.

Consigning your Unaccompanied Personal Effects

Please ensure that you consign your UPE in the AAD’s electronic consignment system, eCon.

To maintain safety during transport, it is essential not to pack dangerous goods together with non-dangerous UPE. Dangerous goods include items like lithium batteries and some toiletry items. These items must be consigned separately to ensure proper handling and prevent any potential hazards. For more detailed information on identifying dangerous goods, please refer to our Dangerous goods page for more information.

If you need assistance with creating your consignment, go to our eCon system webpage.

Packing your Personal Effects

When preparing your UPE for transport, it is important to pack it securely in appropriate containers. Recommended options include sturdy cardboard cartons or plastic tubs and clothing and other nonfragile items can be packed into soft sided bags. Tubs made from brittle plastic or those with built-in wheels should be avoided, as they are likely to break during transport. Suitcases should be avoided as they are difficult to pack away in expeditioners’ living quarters. Ensuring your UPE is packed securely will protect your belongings throughout the journey. Packages should be clearly labelled with your name, contact number, station and package numbering (1 of 5, 2 of 5 etc).

Delivery to the AAD

Personal effects should be delivered to AAD’s Kingston Warehouse for processing and packing. For expeditioners employed by the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD), Supply Chain Operations can arrange the collection of your UPE from your home address and deliver it to the Kingston Warehouse. Go to the expeditioner forms page for the Personal Effects Collection Form.

Returning to Australia

Expeditioners will need to consign their UPE on a returning transport at the end of their time on station. As all cargo returning from Antarctica has to be imported into Australia it is crucial that the package and item information entered in eCon is accurate as this will be used as your packing list when declaring your UPE to customs for import.

Along with your consignment, you will also need to complete a Border Force unaccompanied personal effects declaration, known as a B534 form, in order to facilitate the import of your goods. This documentation will be lodged with Border Force by Supply Chain Operations’ Imports/Exports team. Please note that customs clearance can take several weeks, and the AAD does not have any control over the length of this process. You can help streamline this process by using clear descriptive language in your eCon consignment.

For example, a consignment that lists “Footwear (worn indoors only)” is less likely to require inspection than a consignment that just lists “Shoes”. Once your UPE has cleared customs it will either be made available for you to collect, or onforwarded to your home address if you are employed by the AAD.

UPE allowances for returning cargo remains the same as southbound consignments. Gifts received or personal projects completed in Antarctica, will be consigned as UPE, expeditioners must ensure limits do not exceed UPE allowances.


Expeditioners are able to consign their personal alcohol allocation for transport to stations as cargo on AAP resupply voyages. Alcohol must be consigned in eCon separately to personal effects consignments. Alcohol allowances are aligned with current Australian Government health guidelines on personal consumption, and are dependant on the duration of an expeditioner's stay as well as the transport options available.

More information can be found in the AAD’s Drug and Alcohol Policy, which can be located under the 'Community Living' heading in the Expeditioner Hub.


Mail can be sent to expeditioners staying at Australia’s Antarctic and sub-Antarctic stations through Australia Post or other couriers. Mail articles are limited to envelopes, postcards and small parcels and packages with a maximum weight of 1kg, and a maximum size of a standard shoe box. For more information on sending mail to expeditioners go to the Contacting Expeditioners webpage.