Transhipping through Australia

​​​​​Australian ports are used by the shipping industries to tranship goods through Australia to another country or for use outside Australian waters.

The Department of Home Affairs (Home Affairs) definition of transhipment is 'the transfer of goods without payment of duty and taxes from the importing ship or aircraft to another ship or aircraft engaged in international travel for the purpose of shipment overseas'. The goods do not pass out of customs control from importation until exportation from Australia.

Examples of transhipment activities that are of interest to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (the department) include:

Transhipped ship’s stores

Transhipped ship’s stores are defined by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources​ and the Department of Home Affairs as 'stores for the use of passengers or crew of a vessel'.

Ship’s stores are one of those groups of commodities that can include goods that pose a high biosecurity risk to Australia, some of which wouldn’t normally be allowed import into Australia. Australia's unique environment and important agricultural industries are free from many pests and diseases found in other parts of the world. Therefore, without appropriate controls, the transhipping of ships stores, can create a pathway for the introduction of exotic pests or diseases.

Refer to the Biosecurity Import Conditions system (BICON) for information on the biosecurity management of transhipped ship’s stores.

Transhipped ship’s stores notification form

The Transhipped ship’s stores notification form​ is to be used when notifying the department about the pending arrival of transhipped ship’s stores (sea or air).

Ship’s spares

Ship’s spares are defined as 'parts or accessories that are required for the maintenance or general operation of a vessel'.

Examples of ships spares include engines or engine components, seals, bearings, lubricants, new filters and o-rings. These items are generally not derived from, nor contain, animal or plant products.

However, if ship’s spares do contain components of biosecurity concern or are used spare parts, then consignments must be referred to the department for assessment as per usual reporting processes.

Further information

For information about a specific consignment, contact your local department office.

For Department of Agriculture and Water Resources related i​nquiries about transhipped goods, please email imports or phone 1800 900 090.

For Department of Home Affairs relate​d inquiries about transhipped ship's stores see the Department of Home Affairs website​ or contact:​

Phone: 1300 363 263 (within Australia) or +61 2 6275 6666 (outside Australia)
Email: Department of Home Affairs

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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