What happens to your goods on arrival during the BMSB season?

For the 2020-21 BMSB risk season, heightened biosecurity measures will apply to certain goods manufactured in, or shipped from, target risk countries between 1 September 2020 and 30 April 2021 (inclusive), that arrive in Australian territory by 31 May 2021 (inclusive).

Target high risk goods shipped between 1 September and 30 April require mandatory treatment and will be referred for intervention if they arrive by 31 May 2021.

Industry are strongly encouraged to have their target high risk goods treated offshore and by an approved provider (where possible) prior to arrival into Australian territory to minimise clearance delays and associated industry costs that may be incurred for onshore treatment.

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Will the department be conducting onshore random verification inspections this season?

Throughout the BMSB season, all target high risk and target risk goods will be subject to onshore intervention through random verification inspections. Where BMSB is detected, the goods will be directed for onshore treatment (if permitted) or export.

Goods selected for a random inspection will be directed to an approved arrangement (AA) site for the inspection.

  • Break bulk goods will be directed for a break bulk inspection at the wharf,
  • Containerised goods will be directed for a seals intact and full unpack supervised inspection at an AA site.

If we suspect, or detect the presence of BMSB during the inspection, the department may use an inspection aid to further support the inspection process. During inspection, officers may at their discretion, use an inspection aid such as household aerosol insecticide spray.

Industry may be directed to have insecticide applied by an approved pest controller. This will be limited to consignments of large break bulk goods, including vehicles where BMSB or other indicators have been detected and reported as per vessel reporting requirements.

How can I book/change an inspection or advise information about my goods?

Industry can book an inspection, advise relevant shipping information about the goods including if shipped in an open top or on a flat rack container, or are classified as hazardous goods, and where relevant, advise the department of a change in location for an inspection using the attached Request for Inspection Form.

For approval to have an inspection conducted at a non AA, please contact the regional office on
1800 900 090 or lodge your request via COLS.

To advise any additional information for your goods please submit a request via COLS.

Can I use Automatic Entry Processing for Commodities (AEPCOMM) for goods subject to the seasonal measures?

Yes, you can. To assist you in lodging declarations under the AEPCOMM approved arrangement during BMSB season, the BMSB hitchhiker pests Biosecurity Import Conditions database (BICON) case has been updated to include AEPCOMM pathways and codes (available through your BICON AEPCOMM user access).

Use AEPCOMM:

  • For goods subject to target high risk BMSB measures.
  • To manage the clearance of other goods subject to biosecurity.

Please remember: For goods treated by an approved offshore treatment provider, enter their AEI number in the AEI field of the import declaration in conjunction with the applicable AEPCOMM code as specified in the BICON hitchhiker case.

There was also an underutilisation of the AEI field where goods had been treated by an offshore treatment provider. Remember – when you use AEPCOMM and AEI you can reduce processing delays.

By using AEPCOMM, this frees up critical resources to better manage the volumes of cargo during peak arrival periods.

Information about onshore treatment and treatment providers

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Where can I find a list of onshore treatment providers?

Onshore treatment of target high risk goods is permitted for goods shipped in sealed six hard sided containers. Treatment must be conducted at the container level as deconsolidation or removal of goods will not be permitted prior to treatment.

For goods shipped as break bulk, including those shipped in open top or as flat rack containers, onshore treatment is not permitted. Untreated break bulk will be denied discharge and be directed for export on arrival.
To find out where onshore treatments may be performed, visit our list of approved arrangement sites.

Can onshore treatment providers stack containers for treatment?

The following advice is provided to Biosecurity Industry Participants operating approved arrangements to manage the flow of onshore container treatments. Treatment providers conducting methyl bromide and sulfuryl fluoride fumigations should check the material safety data sheet (MSDS) and consult their local state fumigation licensing authority to determine if stacking containers for fumigation is permitted.

If permitted by the MSDS and under local state fumigation licensing regulations, Biosecurity Industry Participants may vertically stack containers to increase the current capacity of fumigation pads.

Treatment providers and AA sites seeking to vertically stack containers must ensure that they continue to comply with the requirements of the Methyl Bromide Fumigation Methodology and the Sulfuryl Fluoride Fumigation Methodology. Sections 3.3.5 and 3.3.6, which stipulate that shipping containers under gas must not be moved until they have been ventilated.

The fumigation of stacked containers may present additional risks. Treatment providers and AA sites remain responsible for the appropriate management of all risks associated with stacked treatments, including:

  • Safety of personnel working at heights to prepare containers in accordance with requirements and undertaking subsequent leak checking, and;
  • Ventilation of the containers at the completion of the fumigation.

For further information relating to stacking containers for treatment, please contact aa.canberra@awe.gov.au

What happens if my goods are not suitable for onshore treatment by a BMSB treatment provider?

The department has implemented the AA Class 4.7 – secure unpack for treatment of seasonal biosecurity hitchhiker pests for the BMSB risk season. The AA Class 4.7 enables secure unpack of containers for BMSB treatment when a department approved (Class 12) treatment provider has notified the department that in-container BMSB treatment will not be effective at the container level. Conditions for this class require container unpacks to be performed in a secure area to ensure BMSB does not escape into the Australian environment. The objective of the class is to remedy issues that originally prevented treatment at the container level and to enable the treatment to be carried out. The class does not authorise removal of goods i.e. the whole consignment remains subject to treatment.

Requests for secure unpack for treatments of seasonal hitchhiker biosecurity pests will be sent by industry to the ACC treatment team via email (treatments@awe.gov.au) for actioning.

Once a department approved (Class 12) treatment provider has notified the department that in-container treatment will not be effective, the department must either:

  • Direct the goods to an AA Class 4.7 site for a secure unpack, or;
  • Have the goods exported.

Note: The AA Class 4.7 cannot be used as a first option for treatment or for the purpose of splitting the consignment to treat select lines. Only after the initial Class 12 treatment provider notifies the department that the goods cannot be treated will a consignment be directed to a Class 4.7 treatment provider.

Please also note, the uptake and registration of new class 4.7 approved arrangements is a commercial decision, therefore there may be limited or no availability in some states.

Goods treated by a registered and approved offshore treatment provider under the Offshore BMSB Treatment Providers Scheme

Treatments conducted by an approved offshore treatment provider may be verified and matched by the department using an Offshore Treatment Certificate Register provided by the offshore treatment provider.

  • If there is a valid treatment certificate provided by the treatment provider and the documents match, the goods will be released from BMSB intervention if there are no other biosecurity concerns. However, the goods may be subject to random verification inspection.
  • If there is no valid treatment certificate provided by the treatment provider, the goods will be subject to documentary assessment due to ‘no match’. This will require the following:
    • A valid treatment certificate must be provided by the offshore treatment provider to the Offshore Treatment Certificate Register, and;
    • The Customs Broker is required to provide a valid treatment certificate through the Cargo Online Lodgement System (COLS) for assessment.

Goods treated by an unregistered offshore treatment provider in a target risk country

Treatments conducted by an unregistered* offshore treatment provider in a target risk country will not be accepted. Where goods are not treated by an approved offshore treatment provider, they will be assessed on arrival as being untreated, and will be directed for onshore treatment (if permitted), or will be denied discharge and directed for export on arrival.

* An unregistered treatment provider is a provider who has not registered and been approved for the Offshore BMSB Treatment Providers Scheme.

Goods treated by an unregistered offshore treatment provider in a non-target risk country

Treatments conducted by unregistered* offshore treatment providers in non-target risk countries will be accepted. These goods will be referred for documentary assessment. Customs Brokers must provide a valid treatment certificate through COLS for assessment by the department.

Treatments conducted by an unregistered* offshore treatment provider in non-target risk countries will be assessed to determine if they are valid.

  • If the certificate is valid and meets our requirements, the goods will be released from BMSB intervention if there are no other biosecurity concerns, however may be subject to random verification inspection.
  • If the certificate is not valid, the goods will be assessed as being untreated and will be subject to onshore treatment (if permitted), export or destruction.

* An unregistered treatment provider is a provider who has not registered and been approved for the Offshore BMSB Treatment Providers Scheme.

Addressing all other biosecurity requirements in addition to BMSB risk

Goods will be subject to all other biosecurity requirements, which may include documentary assessment and/or inspection after the BMSB risk has been addressed.

What happens if my goods are not compliant on arrival?

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Break bulk goods including those shipped in open top or on flat rack containers

Untreated target high risk goods shipped as break bulk, including those shipped in open top or on flat rack containers, will not be permitted to discharge from the vessel and will be directed for export.

Untreated target high risk break bulk goods, including those shipped in open top or on flat rack containers, that have already been discharged from the vessel will require containment of the risk (such as envelope tarping) within 24 hours, held at the wharf and will be directed for export within 48 hours of arrival. If the goods are not able to be exported within 48 hours of arrival, daily monitoring and inspection of the goods will be required until they are exported. These activities will be conducted by a biosecurity officer and fee-for-service charges will apply.

All export activities will be supervised by a biosecurity officer and fee-for-service charges will apply.

Containerised goods shipped in sealed six hard sided containers

Onshore treatment of target high risk goods shipped in sealed six hard sided containers is permitted. Untreated target high risk goods shipped as containerised cargo will be directed for export if they cannot be treated at the whole container level or if the importer has chosen to export the goods.

Goods that are to be exported may be directed to move to an AA site pending export. However, the goods must be exported within 7 days of arrival at the AA site.

All export activities will be supervised by a biosecurity officer and fee-for-service charges will apply.

Containerised goods shipped as Less than Container Load (LCL) in Freight of all Kinds (FAK) containers

Goods shipped as LCL consignments in FAK containers from target risk countries will be managed at the container level for BMSB risk. If the container has untreated target high risk goods, they will be directed for onshore treatment at the container level on arrival. Deconsolidation or segregation of the goods is not permitted prior to treatment. Offshore treatment of LCL consignments and FAK containers with target high risk goods from target risk countries is preferred. The container will be directed for export if treatment of the goods is not possible.

All export activities will be supervised by a biosecurity officer, fee-for-service charges will apply.

Where can I find fees and charges information?

Under the Biosecurity Charges Imposition (General) Regulation 2016 and the Biosecurity Regulation 2016, fees are payable to the department for all services. Details on how the department applies fees and levies can be found in the charging guidelines.

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Compensation of fees and charges

Provisions of compensation by the department is covered under the Biosecurity Act 2015 (the Act). The compensation provisions do not provide for the payment of compensation to reimburse a cost-recovery charge for assessment and inspection activities that is due and payable under the Act. The Act also doesn’t cover compensation for fees charged for storage or handling by industry or operators.

Last reviewed: 24 June 2020
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