Preparing for import

​Before your goods leave the country of origin, they should be packaged and treated to meet the import requirements set by the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.

To make sure your goods are cleared with minimal delay, follow these steps:

Use a clean container

  • Ensure your container is free of contamination inside and outside, including soil, grain, snails, insects or plant and animal material.
  • A cleanliness declaration is required for all containers imported into Australia.
  • All contaminated containers and goods entering Australia will be treated. Delays will occur and charges apply.
  • Check that your containers meet the sea container cleaning standards.
  • You may be eligible to join the sea container hygiene system.
  • Watch our sea container cleanliness video for tips on keeping your container clean.

Provide a packing declaration

  • Provide an accurate and detailed packing declaration.
  • The packing declaration should provide details of container cleanliness and whether straw and timber have been used as packing materials.
  • Failure to provide this information will result in the container and goods being inspected at an Approved Arrangement site. Delays will occur and charges apply.

Timber packing to be treated and bark free

  • All timber packaging in the container must be treated in an approved method.
  • The timber must be free of bark.
  • If timber dunnage has been used in the loading of the goods, it must be accompanied by a valid treatment certificate.
  • Failure to meet these requirements will result in the container being sent for treatment. Delays will occur and charges apply.

Treatments can be performed offshore

Choose packing materials carefully

  • Use packing materials such as synthetic foam, plastics, metal frames, inflated dunnage, wood, wool, shredded paper, and other similar materials.
  • Do not use straw as it is prohibited, or fruit, vegetable, meat or egg cartons, or second-hand bags or sacks. These types of packing materials will be removed and destroyed. Delays will occur and charges apply.

More information

Requirements for containerised and non-containerised (for example break bulk and air freight) cargo can be found in the department’s Non-commodity information requirements policy.

For further information on packing and preparing goods, you can read the department’s guide to the importing process.

Last reviewed: 23 July 2021
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