Important changes to rules for air cargo going to or through the USA

The US Government has introduced rules that will change the way all Australian Exporters send airfreight to the US. The rules will come into force on July 1 and will not be delayed and cannot be avoided.

Currently, most of Australia’s out-bound international air cargo is examined after it has been consolidated onto crates, pallets or unit load devices. However, United States legislation requires all airlines transporting air cargo to, through or over the US on a passenger flight to examine 100% of air cargo at ‘piece-level’. While you may not export to the USA, if exporting to Mexico or Canada the cargo is likely to be transhipped via the US, which means that your cargo will be affected as well.

Piece-level examination means that each individual box, carton or other item in a shipment must be examined by technology or physically inspected before it is loaded onto a US-bound aircraft.

As such, from 1 July 2017, all US-bound air cargo will either need to be examined at piece-level or originate from a ‘Known Consignor’ in order to be exported by air to the US. An approved Known Consignor will be responsible for securing air cargo that originates from their business until that air cargo is provided to another regulated business.

The following info-graphic shows the two main options available to exporters who ship cargo on US-bound aircraft.


Option One: Becoming a Known Consignor. Known Consignors must demonstrate that they have security measures and procedures in place to meet international security requirements, and can secure their export air cargo from where it originates, until it is handed to another regulated business. There are currently 20 exporters registered as Known Consignors. Entry into the Known Consignor Scheme is by application, validation (an on-site inspection), and approval by the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development (the Department). To begin an application, please submit an expression of interest.

Option Two: Using a Regulated Air Cargo Agent. For infrequent exporters to the USA it may be more cost effective to use a Freight Forwarder who is accredited for Air Shipments and can arrange to have your cargo inspected. Check this list to see if your current Freight Forwarder is accredited.

You can’t avoid these changes if you wish to continue to send airfreight to the USA. Any cargo that arrives at the airport without meeting these rules will be delayed.

To find out more about the scheme, visit the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development website. Ai Group members seeking further advice may contact Louise McGrath, Ai Group’s National Manager – Business and International Advisory Services on 03 9867 0158.

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Having joined Ai Group in 2000, Louise has managed a number of trade-related projects including trade missions, business matching and the development of export-related training programs. Since 2009 she has led Ai Group's service delivery to our smaller associations, providing governance, policy and business development support, and is Executive Officer of the Australia Saudi Business Council and the Australian Russian Dialogue.

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