Cargo Compliance Verification frequently asked questions

​​​​​​​Why are my goods being inspected?

Your consignment has been randomly selected for a Cargo Compliance Verification inspection. These inspections are conducted on containerised sea cargo imported into Australia at a very low rate (less than 0.5 per cent of consignments).

This inspection programme aims to:

  • ensure that import controls are operating effectively
  • provide information on emerging biosecurity risks, including from commodities which are not typically directed for inspection.

An effective biosecurity system helps to protect Australia’s industries and environment from exotic pests and diseases. 

These inspections are also a valuable opportunity to discuss biosecurity requirements with importers and their agents, including those who may have had limited interaction with us.

How are Cargo Compliance Verification inspections different to other inspection types?

Cargo Compliance Verification is randomly applied to consignments that would not typically be directed for inspection. This random selection allows us to reliably draw conclusions about the broader sea cargo population.

We recognise that your consignment would not usually have been inspected and will work closely with you to minimise disruption to the import process.

No fees or charges will apply for consignments that comply with biosecurity requirements. Fees and charges will only apply where remedial action is required. Standard document processing fees will still apply.

We will seek to conduct inspections at the importer’s premises, or a premises nominated by the importer, at a mutually convenient time.

What is the department looking for?

Biosecurity officers will look for biosecurity risk material—contamination with soil, animal or plant material—and check that you have the required paperwork.

They will inspect the commodity, packing materials, and cleanliness of the internal and external surfaces of the container.

What if the biosecurity officer finds something?

The action taken by the biosecurity officer will depend on the level of biosecurity risk identified. The issue may be resolved on-site or the consignment may require re-direction to an Approved ​Arrangement (AA) site for investigation or treatment. The biosecurity officer will discuss their concerns with you and the options available to you. 

Fees and charges will be applied if your goods do not comply with import requirements. In instances of significant non-compliance, the department may direct future imports for inspection until a history of compliance has been re-established.

What do I need to do?​

The department​ will contact you or your agent, via the Agriculture Import Management System (AIMS), if your consignment has been selected for inspection and provide you with information about what will happen next. 

You can help minimise delays by ensuring:

  • all containers are held at the agreed location with seals intact until a biosecurity officer is present to conduct the inspection
  • your staff are available to unpack the consignment within the nominated inspection time
  • all relevant documentation is available at the inspection, including documentation that specifies the commodities as consolidated on the Full Import Declaration
  • the work environment is safe for biosecurity officers visiting the premises.
Biosecurity is everyone's responsibility. We recomm​​end that you discuss Australia’s biosecurity requirements with your supplier to manage risks offshore.

Where can I get more information?

For more information about Cargo Compliance Verification please contact general enquires.

To report a biosecurity concern to the department, please complete the online form​.

For information on the biosecurity requirements for imported goods, please consult the Biosecurity Import Conditions system (BICON)​.​

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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