EXPORTING product to the USA by air?  Then it’s probably worth looking closely at the new “Known Consignor” scheme before before new US air cargo inspection regulations kick in from July 1 next year.

The Known Consignor scheme will effectively provide an alternative to the “piece level” inspection of air cargo required under the new regulations  – with participants instead required to meet and maintain a high level of security to ensure their cargo is safe to load onto an aircraft.

Exporters can apply to the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development – with supporting documentation – to become a Known Consignor.  After receiving the application, the Department may conduct a site visit to confirm necessary security measures are in place.

Known Consignors will need to be able to demonstrate the measures they have in place are sufficient to ensure cargo cannot be tampered with before export. That is, their cargo is secured from packing all the way onto the aircraft.

The benefit for the exporter – and their carriers – is that cargo that meets these requirements will not require piece level examination further along the supply chain.

Currently, the majority of Australia’s outbound international air cargo is examined after it has been consolidated onto crates, pallets or unit load devices, but piece level examination means that each individual box, carton or other item must be examined by technology or physically inspected prior to loading on the aircraft.

This clearly has potential to create bottlenecks if exporters and their forwarders to not fully understand and act on requirements prior to shipment.  Hence, the Known Consignor scheme should substantially streamline the process.

If you are currently regulated by other agencies, such as the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources or the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, your existing business practices may help you meet Known Consignor requirements.

The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development is working closely with other government agencies to determine what elements of other regulatory regimes (such as the Australian Trusted Trader Programme) may be recognised as part of the Known Consignor scheme.

More information can be found by contacting the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development: knownconsignor@infrastructure.gov.au

– CargoHound