27 September 2021
Who does this notice affect?
All importers and customs brokers who lodge imported cargo documentation to the department for biosecurity assessment.
What has changed?
The department has made enhancements to the Cargo Online Lodgement System (COLS) and the Cargo Workload Management System (CWMS).
COLS - late lodgements
Late lodgements are defined as those entries that are lodged just before the arrival date of the import and can sometimes occur after goods have arrived. Currently, the system does not consider whether a broker has submitted documentation very close to the arrival date, and in an increasing number of cases, to achieve prioritised processing of entries. Regrettably, we have seen a significant number (over 60% increase) of entries being lodged at or less than 12 hours prior to goods arrival. This has inadvertently disadvantaged those that lodge in reasonable timeframes, and resulted in us having to implement resource intensive manual processes in attempts to ensure equitable service.
This system enhancement will now allow the department to recognise when a broker is submitting documents for a sea freight shipment within 2 business days or less of their estimated arrival date, and class it as a ‘late lodgement’. In this case, the Broker or Importer will then be required to select a reason for the late lodgement before continuing with the submission. The department is very aware that there are sometimes valid reason as to why entries may be lodged within 2 business days prior to arrival. We will be able to take the late lodgement reason provided by the broker or importer and validate whether it is a legitimate late lodgement or not (eg for goods being imported on vessels with short voyage times of 72 hours, this would be considered a legitimate late lodgement). The department will then generate reports to provide us with actual statistics on the reasons and volumes of late lodgements.
CWMS - smart task allocation
This enhancement will enable tasks to be automatically allocated based on the percentage of tasks at each priority – ensuring those brokers and importers who submit early receive timely assessment of their lodgements. This enhancement will also reduce overheads for the Assessment team that are currently required to manually manage the queues for equity purposes as a result of the significant increase in late lodgements coming to us.
We will continue to work with the industry peak bodies following the implementation of these enhancements to ensure the changes are having the intended impact for both industry and the department.
For further information regarding enhanced COLS & CWMS functionality, contact import assessments or phone 1800 900 090.