Australian Customs to increase cargo screening

Customs chief Mike Pezzullo stood alongside Immigration Minister Scott Morrison last week to unveil and $88 million upgrade to the screening and inspection of international mail and cargo arrivals.

The $88 million additional funding to the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) will ensure that there are increased inspections of high risk cargo along with mail.  There will also be an increase in the intensity of examinations.

Inspections of international mail will increase by 25 percent with air cargo inspections increasing by  33 percent.

Sea cargo will not be left untouched with the ports of Sydney and Melbourne having a 20 per cent increase in examinations.  An additional 1500 TEU (twenty equivalent units) containers will be physically examined by ACBPS officers.

With more equipment, new and updated technology and additional ACBPS officers, the examination of cargo will be enhanced.

The funding will also be utilized across a number of areas, which include:

•    $30.1 million to increase inspections of international mail to 50 million inspections per year (up from 40 million per year) and to increase inspections of air cargo to two million inspections per year (up from 1.5 million)
•    $24 million to expand the operations of container examination facilities in Sydney and Melbourne and increase the number of containers physically examined per year in those ports
•    $15.7 million in new technology including mobile x-ray and detection technology to provide increased capability, flexibility and agility in the inspection and examination of air and sea cargo
•    $8.5 million to expand the ACBPS Detector Dog Program to provide an additional 15 detector dog teams to support the increased inspection and examination of cargo
•    $5.7 million to create a new investigation squad which will work with existing law enforcement taskforces to investigate and arrest firearm and drug traffickers
•    $4 million to create a specialist examination capability to develop and enhance the ability of ACBPS officers to search and examine cargo.

This increase in screening of cargo will undoubtedly impact on your import shipments arriving into Australia.  Cargo examinations are a cost of business and additional time taken to inspect cargo should always be taken into account when arranging import shipments.

For any further details regarding this Customs upgrade, please kindly contact us.