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This document defines the information requirements that must be met to support assessment of non-commodity concerns associated with imported goods.
The policies that support the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources’ intervention on shipping containers under the Container National Co-ordination Centre activities, the External Container Inspection Regime and the Empty Container Scheme are not within the scope of this policy.
The department assesses the biosecurity risk posed by imported goods from two main perspectives: commodity and non-commodity concerns. Commodity concerns represent the inherent likelihood of those goods introducing an exotic pest or disease to Australia, and non-commodity concerns consider the transportation pathways and packaging, among other factors, in determining the level of biosecurity risk posed. In line with longstanding departmental policy, it is preferred that biosecurity risk be managed before importation. The subject of this policy is the required information and supporting documentation or certification to give the department confidence that these measures have been applied.
Although information is not routinely required for assessment for some goods , compliance with import requirements for non-commodity concerns remains the responsibility of the person in charge of the goods . For example, all timber packaging and dunnage remains subject to mandatory treatment or inspection requirements irrespective of whether timber packaging statements are routinely required for the applicable cargo type.
As non-commodity concerns relate primarily to packaging and transportation issues, the department has standard information requirements that must be met for each non-commodity concern. The department is mindful that differing cargo types (such as air versus sea cargo and containerised versus break bulk) are dealt with in different ways on arrival in Australia. As this allows non-commodity concerns to be dealt with in different ways, the department delineates its information requirements by cargo type to ensure that only the information essential for assessment is provided.
This document outlines:
- standard non-commodity concerns
- information required for each of the standard non-commodity concerns
- standard non-commodity concerns to be addressed by each cargo type.
This document forms the basis of the department’s assessment of non-commodity concerns for imported goods and is the technical reference that informs accredited person in their assessments of non-commodity concerns under Non Commodity for Containerised Cargo Clearance (NCCC) scheme.
This document refers to AQIS where AQIS remains current in IT systems and schemes.
The critical outcomes from the formulation of the non-commodity policy and requirements are:
- provide parameters to support the department in determining the level of non-commodity based biosecurity risk posed by an imported consignment and the appropriate level of intervention to be applied
- define information requirements to support the department in determining the level of non-commodity based biosecurity risk posed by an imported consignment
- define the parameters for acceptability of the information presented for non-commodity assessment.
During development and review of this policy these key stakeholder groups were consulted:
- Department of Agriculture and Water Resources
- National Compliance Division
- Compliance Assessment and Management
- Cargo and Mail
- Performance Targeting and Effectiveness
- Imported Food
- Assessment Services Group
- National commodity owners
- Plant Import Operations
- Biological Imports
- Live Animal Imports
- Operational cargo inspectors
- Cargo and shipping industry
- Australian Federation of International Forwarders
- Conference of Asia Pacific Express Carriers
- Customs Broker and Forwarders Council of Australia
- Department of Agriculture and Water Resources Cargo Consultative Committee
- Fertilizer Australia
- Food and Beverage Importers Association
- Imported Food Consultative Committee
- Freight and Trade Alliance (FTA)
- Australian Industry Working Group on Biosecurity
- Shipping Australia Limited.
|AQIS Entity Identifier (AEI)||The AEI is the treatment provider number for offshore methyl bromide treatment providers.|
|AQIS Entity Identifier (AEI) field||The AEI field is used to record the treatment provider number.|
|AQIS Identification Number (AIN)||The AIN is the treatment provider number for companies approved by the department who are registered for the Gamma Irradiation Offshore Treatment Providers Scheme and the Ethylene Oxide Offshore Treatment Providers Scheme.|
BICON is the department’s biosecurity import conditions system.|
|Break bulk||Break bulk is a cargo type that describes goods that are transported by sea but not in a shipping container or bulk in ship holds. Examples of break bulk cargo include machinery, vehicles and timber.|
|Bulk (in hold)||Bulk (in hold) is a cargo type where Non-containerised cargo goods are transported loose within the holds of ships designed for this purpose, for example grain or fertiliser.|
|Dangerous goods||Consignments which present a potential work health and safety risk; for example, explosives, gases, flammable liquids, flammable solids, oxidising substances, toxic and infections substances, radioactive material, corrosives and other hazardous material.|
|Dunnage||Dunnage is material used to support or stabilise a consignment during transport which is not attached to, or forming part of, the consignment.|
Examples of dunnage include used tyres, drums and timber. See
BICON for more information.
|FCL||Full Container Load (single supplier – single importer)|
|FCX||Full Container Load (multiple suppliers – single importer)|
|Hard frozen consignments||Consignments of goods which have been continuously maintained at –18°C (0°F) or below for a period of at least seven days.|
|Integrated Cargo System (ICS)||The ICS is the electronic system used to lodge import declarations with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.|
|ISO tanker||Steel cylindrical containers mounted in a rigid steel framework used to carry bulk liquids or chemicals. Also known as tank containers, tanktainers, bulk liquid containers (BL) or ISOtainer.|
|ISPM 15||International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures No. 15—Guidelines for regulating wood packaging material in international trade.|
|LCL||Less than a container load (multiple suppliers – multiple importers)|
|Person in Charge of the goods||In relation to goods, person in charge refers to the owner of the goods or a person (other than a biosecurity officer or biosecurity enforcement officer) who is in possession or control of the goods.|
|Reconstituted wood products||Wood products that as a result of the manufacturing process no longer contain solid wood. These include particleboard, chipboard, masonite, oriented strand board, medium and high density fibreboard. See BICON for more information.|
|Refrigerated containers (reefers)||A refrigerated container (reefer) is a temperature controlled container used in intermodal freight transportation of temperature sensitive goods.|
|Ships’ stores||Inventory carried on board a vessel/aircraft to meet its daily requirements, such as food, water, cleaning supplies, medical and safety supplies. This may also include goods being transhipped from one vessel to another which are held ‘under bond’. See BICON for more information.|
|Timber packaging||Timber packaging refers to all solid timber, or articles made thereof, used to support, secure or protect a consignment that constitute a part of the consignment (that is, attached to the consignment).|
Examples of packaging include pallets, crating, packaging blocks, cases, load boards, pallet collars, gluts and skids.
Packaging material made entirely from reconstituted wood or plywood/veneer is not required to be declared as timber packaging or dunnage as they are not considered to pose a biosecurity risk.
|Unacceptable packaging material||All packaging materials listed in BICON as being not permitted.|
Table 1 indicates how non-commodity concerns are addressed for each specific cargo type.
Table 1 Non-commodity concerns
Packaging and dunnage concerns
Unacceptable packaging material statement
ISPM 15 statement or treatment certificate (if timber declared)
Rural tailgate inspection
Unaccompanied personal effects
Bulk (in hold)
Break Bulk b
- ISO tank/Bulk liquid containers
a Transhipment does not include ships’ stores to be used on cruise vessels.
b outside the scope of the non commodity for Containerised Cargo Clearance Scheme (NCCC).
c FCL/X include flat rack, high cube containers and open top general purpose containers.
Cargo types exempt from standard non‐commodity information requirements
Goods that are being transhipped, other than ships’ stores to be used on cruise vessels, are exempt from all non-commodity information requirements.
Consignments of ships’ stores that are to be used on cruise vessels are subject to mandatory reporting to the department and are required to meet all non-commodity information requirements for the applicable cargo type.
Action: Because transhipments (other than ships’ stores) are not routinely reported to the department, no action is taken for these cargoes, unless broker volunteered.
Unaccompanied personal effects consignments
Unaccompanied personal effects are exempt from standard non-commodity information requirements because of commodity-specific clearance processes.
Action: Consignments must be identified as unaccompanied personal effects in the Integrated Cargo System (ICS) and are subject to mandatory referral to the department for clearance.
Air freight consignments
Air freight consignments are exempt from standard non-commodity information requirements because surveys have indicated that non-commodity concerns are minimal within this class of goods.
Action: Non-commodity concerns for air freight consignments are addressed through ongoing surveillance of air freight facilities and are addressed on a case-by-case basis.
Bulk (in hold) cargo
Bulk (in hold) consignments subject to biosecurity intervention require a ship cleanliness certificate and/or ship surveyor’s inspection report attesting to the cleanliness of the hold/s prior to loading.
Action: Where bulk (in hold) cargo requires a ship cleanliness certificate and/or ship surveyor’s inspection report and one cannot be presented, the cargo may be refused discharge or may be subject to increased intervention including sampling, inspection, treatment or export.
Break bulk consignments
Break bulk consignments are exempt from standard non-commodity information requirements.
Non-commodity concerns for break bulk consignments are addressed through ongoing surveillance of port facilities and are addressed on a case-by-case basis.
Rural destination concerns only
Unpack destination—rural area
All containerised goods destined for unpack in a rural area is subject to a rural tailgate inspection before delivery. This inspection must occur at an Approved Arrangements site at the port of discharge. Rural areas are determined based on the destination postcode that the goods will be unpacked.
The classification of rural areas can be found on the
Note: Rural tailgate inspections generally require internal and external inspection, but dangerous goods only require an external inspection.
Action: All containerised goods destined for unpack in a rural area must undergo a rural tailgate inspection before delivery.
Bulk liquid containers (ISO tankers/tank containers)
The department considers all ISO tankers to be FCL consignments, but they are exempt from packaging statements and cleanliness statements because of their restricted usage, design and construction. Only rural destination concerns are considered for ISO tankers.
ISO tank containers must be identified as such on the bill of lading with a statement to that effect (this may also be represented by the international standard codes as per
Action: Consignments not covered by an acceptable indication of the container being an ISO tank (tank container) on the bill of lading may be directed for inspection to confirm that the container is an ISO tank.
Hard frozen containers
Refrigerated containers (reefers) containing goods that are hard frozen may be granted exemption from packaging statements and cleanliness statements. For this exemption to be granted, the temperature must have been continuously maintained at –18°C (0°F) or below for a period of at least 7 days.
The hard frozen statement should read: ‘The goods packed in the container(s) listed on this document, have been continuously maintained at –18°C (0°F) or below for a period of at least 7 days’.
The department will accept this statement on:
- bill of lading/waybill
- packing list or invoice
- beneficiary certificates
- government-to-government certification
- delivery order issued by the relevant shipping company
- as part of a declaration made by a customs broker accredited under Department of Agriculture and Water Resources Broker Accreditation Schemes.
In the absence of a hard frozen statement, an appointed officer will use the shipped on board date on the bill of lading as commencement of the 7-day minimum period. Where the shipping period is less than 7 days, additional documentation may be presented that indicates that the consignment was hard frozen before the voyage covered by the current bill of lading or port discharge, such as a temperature statement printout from the reefer.
Action: Consignments not meeting hard frozen container requirements must meet all non-commodity requirements for the relevant cargo type.
Non-commodity concern statements (containers)
This section outlines the requirements for each non-commodity statement that can be presented to the department to assist with the clearance process.
Various cargo types require a statement to be made indicating whether the container has been cleaned prior to loading. Cleanliness statements are not required for LCL consignments.
A container cleanliness statement should read: ‘The container(s) covered by this document has/have been cleaned and is/are free from material of animal and/or plant origin and soil’.
For annual packing declarations only, the container cleanliness statement should read: ‘The container(s) covered by this document will be cleaned and will be free from material of animal and/or plant origin and soil’.
The department will accept cleanliness statements on:
- cleanliness declaration
- packing declaration
- packing list
Where there are multiple FCX consignments that can demonstrate that they have been packed by the same supplier, the department will accept a single supplier packing declaration or cleanliness declaration provided the container number is used as a link to the consignment.
Action: FCL/X consignments not covered by an acceptable container cleanliness statement will be directed for inspection (except dangerous goods consignments) to verify the container’s cleanliness and compliance with the department’s packaging requirements.
Unacceptable packaging material statement
Various cargo types require a statement indicating whether unacceptable packaging material (for example, straw, bamboo, peat, hay, chaff and used fruit and vegetable cartons) has been used in the packaging of the consignment. Each of these packaging materials are not permitted.
The unacceptable packaging material statement should read as: ‘Have unacceptable packaging materials or bamboo products been used as packaging or dunnage in the consignment covered by this document?’ Yes/No.
The department will accept unacceptable packaging material statements on:
- packing declaration
- packing list
Where the department’s template is not used, the unacceptable packaging statement must declare that unacceptable packaging material has not been used in the consignment.
Action: No further action is required for packaging concerns where an acceptable unacceptable packaging material statement is provided. In all other instances, consignments will be directed for inspection and/or treatment.
Timber statement and ISPM 15 statement or treatment certificate (if timber declared)
If timber packaging is declared and an acceptable unacceptable packaging material statement is provided, no further action is required. In all other instances, consignments will be directed for inspection and/or treatment.
Timber packaging/dunnage statement
Various cargo types require a statement indicating whether timber packaging or dunnage has been used in the packaging of the consignment as indicated in the table in
section 1 of this policy.
The timber packaging/dunnage statement should read as: ‘Has timber packaging/dunnage been used in consignments covered by this document?’ Yes/No.
Note: Packaging made entirely from reconstituted wood or plywood/veneer is not required to be declared as timber packaging or dunnage as they are not considered to pose a biosecurity risk.
The department will accept timber packaging/dunnage statements on:
- packing declaration
- packing list
Where timber packaging/dunnage has been declared within a consignment, either an ISPM 15 statement, treatment certification or appropriate treatment document are required to accompany the consignment.
The ISPM 15 statement should read: ‘All timber packaging/dunnage used in the consignment has been treated and marked in compliance with ISPM 15’.
The department will accept ISPM 15 statements on:
- phytosanitary certificate
- packing declaration
- packing list
A treatment certificate/phytosanitary or government treatment certificate (not ISPM 15 treated) that meets the department’s treatment requirements as outlined in the import conditions for timber packaging and dunnage will also be accepted.
Action: Where no evidence is provided that the timber/dunnage has been treated, the consignment will be directed for inspection and/or treatment.
Consignments containing dangerous goods
Consignments of containerised dangerous goods are exempt from inspections for packaging and internal container cleanliness concerns. This exemption is given because of the work health and safety related risk associated with these types of consignments.
The person in charge of the goods or broker is responsible for notifying the department of any potential hazards associated with the dangerous goods in the consignment.
External container cleanliness
The cleanliness of the external surfaces of both empty and full shipping containers leaving the wharf is randomly assessed and managed through wharf-gate inspections. Failed external inspections can be sent for external cleaning at an Approved Arrangement site, then re-inspected by department officers or by approved premises staff. The internal surfaces of empty containers can be managed under an Empty Container Scheme. Further information about the scheme can be found on the
Previously accepted statements
Where application of this policy would prevent a previously acceptable document from being accepted, the appointed officer is to consult their supervisor/manager before contacting the
Compliance Assessment and Management Section for clarification.
The department will review this policy every 3 years or as required.
The department welcomes feedback at any time and may conduct a review earlier if required to ensure the requirements outlined in this document reflect current business practices.
Minimum document requirements
Each statement must be made on a document that complies with the minimum documentary and import declaration requirements policy. Example templates of acceptable documentation are provided on the
Approved arrangement documentation
This policy document should be read in conjunction with these schemes: