THE AUSTRALIAN government is introducing enhanced air cargo security screening requirements for all outbound air cargo. This includes our world-class agricultural exports. The Department of Home Affairs is expanding air cargo export requirements in response to evolving threats. Around two-thirds of Australia’s agricultural products are exported around the world. It is essential we ensure Australia’s export pathways are safe and secure.

By 1 March 2019, all export air cargo must either originate from a Known Consignor or be examined at piece-level by a Regulated Air Cargo Agent (RACA), regardless of destination. These arrangements have been in place for air cargo heading to the United States since 2017. These changes may cause delays and affect your business. You can prepare for this change by talking to a RACA, freight forwarder or export service provider.

If you can show that you can secure your goods from the point of packaging until it is handed to another regulated business, you may be able to become approved as a Known Consignor. Cargo originating from a Known Consignor is considered cleared and does not need a piece-level examination by a RACA prior to uplift. The Department of Home Affairs will process applications as quickly as possible. If you are interested in the Known Consignor scheme please make contact with Home Affairs quickly as there is high demand for new approvals.

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We encourage our exporters to ensure they are ready for these changes. The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources controls exports of agricultural products, including assuring our trading partners that Australian agricultural export commodities meet importing country requirements.

All export air cargo must comply with both security and importing country requirements prior to uplift onto an aircraft. An important part of managing these changes will be ensuring that the supply chain you use is able to comply, while maintaining your product’s requirements for market. This includes temperature, exposure, and packaging and sealing. Depending on your situation you may need to make changes to your current arrangements ahead of 1 March, which is why it is important to talk to a RACA, freight forwarder or export service provider early and consider your options.

Over three hundred thousand tonnes of perishable agriculture and seafood products were exported from Australia by air last year, including red meat, horticulture, seafood and dairy. These exports make an important contribution to our economy and to rural and regional communities.

International trade and access to premium overseas markets is big business for Australia. I look forward to seeing Australia’s export system continue to serve our primary industries. The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, along with the Department of Home Affairs and Austrade, are working to ensure our exporters can continue to grow our multi-billion dollar air cargo exports. More information about the Air Cargo Security Screening changes is available on the Home Affairs website at: www.homeaffairs.gov.au/about/transport-security/air-cargo-security

* Marion Healy is Acting Deputy Secretary of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources

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