Biosecurity considerations for imported gas project cargo

If you need to import plant and equipment into Australia for a major gas project, it is important to be aware that there are a minefield of quarantine issues that need to be addressed, and failure to comply with the strict biosecurity requirements can mean your project cargo may be re-exported back to its country of origin – at your expense.

Much of the plant and project modules being produced for major energy and resource projects within Australia are currently being manufactured in countries where quarantine standards are quite different to that of Australia. There is a high risk of contamination of project cargo before it leaves the country of manufacture, and both manufacturers and importers need to be aware that all project cargo is subject to the Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) Biosecurity requirements on arrival into Australia. Furthermore, due to the enormous size of some these modules, it is also impossible for them to be physically handled via normal Quarantine Approved Premises (QAP) in ports.

Australia has the highest quarantine standard in the world for protection of its unique flora and fauna, and biosecurity contamination can occur from something as simple as some grass seeds or a snail that is brought into the country on an import of project cargo. What may seem like simple breaches of biosecurity contamination can have a huge impact on Australia’s delicate natural environment, and DAFF Biosecurity is responsible for ensuring this high standard of biosecurity is maintained. The financial impacts on major projects through cargo being contaminated can be immense, both in the delays caused and the cost to deal with the quarantine issue itself.

“Whilst biosecurity requirements for project cargo may sound like quite a daunting proposition, there are many ways to ensure your project cargo meets and in some cases exceeds DAFF’s strict requirements,” says Skelton Sherborne Founder and Director Brad Skelton.

“We are talking multi-million dollar projects here, and plant and equipment re-export can cost the project proponent hundreds of thousands of dollars. The first step is to engage with a logistics professional that has bonafide ‘hands on’ biosecurity experience and expertise over the life of your project.”

A suitably experienced freight forwarder such as Skelton Sherborne can offer a better understanding of the logistics process, from the equipment manufacturer’s premises pre-export through to the shipping and arrival port logistics and biosecurity requirements. They can also present strategies to mitigate risk at overseas manufacturing premises and at the port of origin, and discuss how implementing a biosecurity management plan will assist you to meet the DAFF Biosecurity requirements on arrival into Australia.

“We have an experienced team of international quarantine/biosecurity consultants who are able to travel to overseas equipment manufacturers premises and implement detailed biosecurity management plans,” adds Mr Skelton. “These plans cover the entire project lifecycle – from the overseas location, to the vessel transporting the equipment, to its arrival in Australia. Our extensive experience in running QAPs ourselves puts us in a unique position to support industry with this service.”

Meeting these biosecurity guidelines will not only ensure the preservation of Australia’s unique flora and fauna, but also translates to faster biosecurity clearances through DAFF Biosecurity and project equipment arriving onsite without costly re-export potential or your equipment having to wait in long biosecurity washing queues.

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