The Australian fresh produce sector is preparing for changes to air cargo export regulations, which will be introduced next week.
From 1 March 2019 all international export air cargo from Australia must be examined at piece-level by a Regulated Air Cargo Agent (RACA), or originate from a Known Consignor, and use technology like x-ray, or be physically inspected.
The Department of Home Affairs says the changes are necessary to strengthen security.
"The Australian Government’s first priority is to keep Australians safe and secure," a spokesperson from the Department of Home Affairs said. "Aviation is an enduring and attractive target for terrorists. The Department has a strong and comprehensive aviation security framework that is continually revised to ensure that we remain ahead of the evolving threat."
The Australian Horticultural Exporters and Importers Association (AHEIA) has previously warned the move will have costly implications on Australian fresh produce industries, and has estimated total added costs to the industry could be up to A$0.22/kg, as well as up to a 24-hour delay at terminals.
The Department of Home Affairs says it has given the industry plenty of notice and that it has pro-actively engaged with industry to foster readiness for including writing directly to exporters.
"Security examination of export air cargo is not new," the spokes-person said. "All export air cargo is already examined prior to uplift onto an aircraft. The requirements being introduced on 1 March 2019 have been in place for United States bound cargo since July 2017. If businesses have questions about how the change will impact their current arrangements, they should contact their supply chain in the first instance."
The Cherry Growers Australia (CGA) are one of many industry groups that have advised their members to prepare themselves for the change, also advising that Currently, 30 per cent of Australian Cherries are exported to more than 30 countries in a highly competitive international market. It adds, that exporting cherries is a specialised market requiring attention and detail to cultural sensitivities, biosecurity, packaging, market access and entry and transportation. The type and variety of cherry exported is determined by market access and cultural tendencies accounting for preferences in taste, colour and flavour.
Exporters who have not already done so, should consider things like: packaging of products, handling of consolidated cargo, scheduling of deliveries, and how cargo is transported to reduce possible changes to delivery times and increased costs, therefore reducing delays. Businesses should also Consider becoming a 'Known Consignor'.
Further information about the change can be found on the Department’s webpage, www.homeaffairs.gov.au/about-us/our-portfolios/transport-security/air-cargo-and-aviation/air-cargo
Publication date : 2/22/2019