Cargo Online Lodgement System (COLS)

Lodging online

Customs brokers and commercial importers can use COLS to:

  • lodge documents for imported cargo online in PDF, JPG, TIF and Word formats (total size up to 10 megabytes) in support of:
    • full import declarations (food, quarantine & dual consignments)
    • other declarations, where directed by the department
  • check the status of your lodgement
  • request a reassessment. Fees apply for reassessment if additional documents are lodged or the assessment outcome is the same.
  • request a directions reissue
  • make an enquiry
  • make payments and check payment status
    • non-account clients can pay using broker systems before lodging documents or use the COLS payment screen
  • receive consistent, priority- based processing
  • retain electronic records

When submitting your lodgement, please provide your current contact details. We may contact you by phone, in the instance the assessment does not align with your expected outcome.

View user guides and how-to videos at COLS support. If additional support is required, call 1800 900 090 or use the inquiries form.  

Launch Cargo Online Lodgement System (COLS)

Cargo Online Lodgement System 

How industry can assist in preventing Document Assessment delays

The department has seen a significant increase in the number of industry members lodging documents for assessment within 1 day of vessel arrival.

  • 61% of new lodgements were made in COLS in 1 business day or less from the estimated time of arrival. Of those late lodgements 61% were sea freight.

We receive an average of 1500 – 2000 entries per day, and significantly higher numbers during peak periods. The late lodgement means that departmental officers are unable to conduct and turn around this high volume of assessments in such a short timeframe. 

This is further exacerbated by documents being submitted with errors that require officers to spend more time to assess the entry, and sometimes multiple times. 
These factors lead to an inability to meet service standards and result in delays for everyone. 

To avoid delays to the clearance of goods all industry members who submit documentation for import clearance via the Cargo Online Lodgement System (COLS) or other departmental approved systems should:

  • Ensure documents are lodged well in advance of arrival of the goods into Australia (between 5-7 days prior to a vessel’s arrival for sea freight and 24 hours for airfreight) as this will allow assessment to occur and any identified concerns to be addressed prior to the discharge of goods.
  • Ensure documents and other information is complete and accurate when lodged, and in line with the department's minimum documentary requirements and import conditions.
  • Only provide required documents for assessment.
  • Ensure any specific additional information is included in the ‘additional information’ field in COLS, or attached appropriately if using other departmental approved systems.
  • Regardless of the expected assessment outcome, nominate a valid Approved Arrangement (AA) inspection location, preferably with the AA registration number and name.  This includes consignments referred for CCV inspections which are permitted at non-AA sites; however, the location is still required to be nominated at time of initial assessment.

Please do not repeatedly call or email the department checking on the status of a lodgement for document assessment as this diverts staff that are assessing documentation and subsequently contributes to increasing delays.

Document assessment outside business hours

Requests to have documents assessment outside business hours must be made before lodging import documents using this form:

Download

Document Pages File size
Request to have import documents assessed outside business hours PDF​  3 280 KB

If you have difficulty accessing these files, visit web accessibility for assistance.

Onshore Treatment results outside business hours

Requests to have documents assessment outside business hours must be made before lodging import documents using this form:

Download

Document Pages File size
Request to have treatment results assessed outside business hours PDF​  3 225 KB

If you have difficulty accessing these files, visit web accessibility for assistance.

Last reviewed: 6 September 2021
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