your freight forwarder have your sea freight cleared before arrival, or are you waiting around even after the ship or plane has arrived?

According to the newest study by the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, sea freight should be classified as ‘released’ two hours before arrival and air freight 3.5 hours after reaching the destination port.

Learn more about the new Australian benchmark standard and how customs clearance has improved drastically in 2014.

Improvements to cargo release times

Prior to 2013, the industry average for clearing cargo delivered by sea freight was up to 3.5 hours after docking. In the recently produced Time Release Study (TRS) undertaken by the ACBPS during September 2013, this average dropped to 2 hours before docking.

Similarly, air freight cargo had a release time of 8.5 hours after landing in 2012, then an astounding 5 years improvement in 2013 – the biggest step up in the last 5 years. How does this happen? Australian Customs has employed a number of schemes to accommodate for the expected growth of the freight industry, learn more below.

Three facts that speed up cargo release

1) Early Reporting

The major factor contributing to improved time release is Early Reporting. The industry focus on reporting documents on average four days prior to landing, plus finalising all payments before the ship has docked, has helped the flow of air and sea freight through Australian ports.

Customs and Border Protection highlighted the link between early reporting and early clearance to traders and will continue preaching these benefits into the future.

2) Trusted trader Scheme

Industry members will not be the only players committed to streamlining trade processes. The Government has backed ACBPS implementation of a Trusted Trader Scheme for Australian importers and exporters. The scheme aims at providing quicker clearance benefits to members with an ‘honest’ background and a history of compliant behaviour.

These benefits would include less administrative paperwork, quicker clearance and reduced interventions for their freighted goods. An exports-focused program should be operational by July, 2015, with an imports scheme rolled out soon after.

3) Government Funding

Cash will also be flooded into this sector with increased government funding. The ACBPS will receive a grant to assist in border protection and cargo inspection, allowing for screening and clearance measures to be enforced more thoroughly.

The CEO of ACBPS, Michael Pezzullo, explained that these funds would help increase examinations of high-risk and dangerous cargo to “detect, disrupt and deter criminal activity” trying to breach our borders. A high importance will continue to be placed on disrupting illegal activity at Australian ports: to read more see full report here.

The future of Australian freight trade

Government and industry members are working together with a bigger picture in mind: to have free-flowing and safe border trade. The amount of time between cargo arrival and cargo release is a factor highly ranked by the World Customs Organisation for that countries trade performance.

With Australian air freight trade predicted to double over the next 15 years and sea freight volumes forecasted to double by 2020, across the country our ports will be busier. These developments and new schemes have been implemented to accommodate future growth, with a focus on improving clearance time across the industry.

Whether you are searching for a freight forwarder or looking to switch from an existing one, it is important to choose a provider that provides a high level of service. Keep in mind that problems do happen and your freight can be delayed because of inspections, flagged cargo and thorough checks usually made on new traders.

But if you are a regular shipper with a regular type of cargo, your freight forwarder should be able to meet these industry benchmarks for sea and air freight. Early Reporting and a reputable background with the ACBPS will put a freight forwarder in good stead to join the Trusted Trader Scheme roll out next year- meaning clearing your freight faster.

For more than a century, BCR has continued to help small, medium and large businesses achieve an optimum logistics solution with warehousing and transportation, including air freight and sea freight services to and from the major ports including Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Fremantle (Perth).