Prohibitions on in-bound international air cargo from Syria, Egypt, Bangladesh, Yemen and Somalia

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The Australian Government has imposed prohibitions on the carriage of air cargo that has originated from, or transited through, Syria, Egypt, Bangladesh, Yemen and Somalia. These new measures supersede previous prohibitions in place for the carriage of air cargo from Yemen and Somalia.

On 4 May 2016, the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport updated the security arrangements for air cargo from Bangladesh, giving Australian businesses more options for trade while maintaining a robust aviation security regime. From 11 May 2016, air cargo from Bangladesh will be able to enter Australia if it undergoes appropriate security screening at specific international airports immediately before arriving in Australia. The security screening requirements are consistent with those applied to air cargo departing Australia.

How is the Government imposing the international air cargo prohibitions?

The prohibitions were implemented through a legislative instrument made by the former Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development under subsection 65B(1) of the Aviation Transport Security Act 2004.

Aviation Transport Security (Prohibited Cargo) Instruments 2015

When did the prohibitions come into force?

The instruments came into force on Saturday 19 December 2015, and will remain in-force until the instruments are revoked.

The updated instrument for Bangladesh comes into force on Wednesday 11 May 2016, and will remain in-force until the instrument is revoked.

Are the prohibitions consistent across all five countries?

Airlines are prevented from carrying any air cargo that has originated from, or transited through Syria, Yemen or Somalia.

Air cargo that has originated from, or transited through, Egypt will be prohibited, except for items that are currently exempt from screening under Australian Regulations, such as diplomatic bags and smaller items of international mail.

Air cargo that has originated from, or transited through, Bangladesh is prohibited; unless it has undergone security examination at an approved last port of call before travelling to Australia or is otherwise exempt from examination under Australian regulations.

  • The approved last ports of call are: Dubai; Abu Dhabi; Doha; Singapore; Kuala Lumpur; Bangkok; Hong Kong; or Guangzhou
  • The approved examination methods are: X-ray; explosive trace detection; or physical examination.
  • The exempt items are: mail items under 500 grams; cargo under 250 grams and shorter than 5 mm; live animals; human remains; biological tissues; legitimately prepared dangerous goods; Commonwealth Government articles; and diplomatic bags.

Has a specific security threat been identified for flights to or from Australia?

The prohibitions are a preventive security measure, based on the Government's understanding of the threat and risk environment in these countries. There is no information to suggest that there is any specific threat for flights to or from Australia.

The prohibitions apply equally to air cargo carried on passenger and freighter aircraft.

Review of the prohibition

The Australian Government, through the Office of Transport Security (OTS), will continue to monitor aviation security developments, in cooperation with our international partners. OTS will provide advice to the Government on adjustments to Australia's air cargo security arrangements as necessary.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the prohibition apply to all cargo?

No the prohibitions only apply to air cargo. Cargo sent as sea, rail or land freight is not prohibited.

For Bangladesh the prohibition only applies to air cargo that is not examined at an approved last port of call.

One of my staff is travelling to Bangladesh for work. Can they carry samples back to Australia?

There are no prohibitions on passengers' checked or carried on bags.

I need to send urgent documents to Australia, can I do that?

It depends on the country of origin and the size of the items.

Airlines are prevented from carrying any air cargo that has originated from, or transited through Syria, Yemen or Somalia.

For air cargo originating from, or transiting through, Egypt and Bangladesh, the Government has granted an exemption for a limited range of items. This includes letter products and small items of cargo, defined as follows:

A letter product is an item of cargo that has all of the following characteristics:

  1. it weighs 500g or less;
  2. it contains only flexible items;
  3. its longest dimension is 360 mm or less;
  4. its second longest dimension is 260 mm or less;
  5. its shortest dimension is 20 mm or less.
  6. A small item means an item of cargo that weighs 250g or less, and is 5 mm or less in its shortest dimension.

If the cargo meets these requirements, then it can be sent to Australia as air cargo.

My international freight forwarder security screens all air cargo. Can we receive an exemption?

The prohibitions are a legal requirement of the Government implemented under specific provisions made by the Parliament. It is not possible for the Department to grant an exemption under the legislation.

Need more information?

All enquiries related to the restrictions should be directed to the Office of Transport Security at:
aircargosecurity@infrastructure.gov.au