BCR is a 3PL provider and freight forwarding company that manages sea freight and air freight shipments in and out of Australia and the rest of the world on behalf of business customers. Part of our focus is to keep the market and our customers up to date on issues that may impact their air freight, sea freight and the speedy customs clearance of their shipments to and from Australia. We are noticing many more sea freight and air freight shipments are being held at the time of customs clearance as the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) conduct their risk assessment regarding the presence of asbestos. If required, DIBP may direct imported goods for asbestos testing in Australia, at the importer’s expense. This will likely result in lengthy and expensive delays and if asbestos is detected, the goods will be forfeited to the crown. Re-exportation is not an option.

Read on to learn more on the increased focus on imports that might contain asbestos and how you can be prepared.

Asbestos update on air and sea freight imports to Australia

In recent months, the DIBP has heightened its focus on the air freight and sea freight import of asbestos and asbestos containing material (ACM) as a result of increased media attention on imported building products that have been found to contain this substance. The DIBP has issued a DIBP notice (2016-30) and a Fact Sheet to assist Importers and Exporters of sea freight and air freight and Customs Brokers with managing the risk of asbestos at the border.

As Australia is one of the few countries with a total ban on the use of asbestos, it is our recommendation that you contact your suppliers and conduct your due diligence regarding any asbestos content in the goods you are importing or planning to import. It is our collective responsibility to ensure goods arriving at the border do not contain asbestos and to complete our due diligence to maintain our secure supply chain.

To do so, we encourage our customers to seek assurances from their suppliers and manufacturers that there is no use of asbestos in any stage of their manufacturing process.

The following list may provide adequate assurances from suppliers that their supply chain is free from asbestos:

  • Asbestos declaration (.doc)
  • Testing certificates
  • Material Data Safety Sheets
  • Illustrative Descriptive Material (IDM)

Customs Brokers are now required to confirm there is no asbestos content in a wider variety of goods being imported by their customers. Click here to review the required Community Protection declarations that Customs Brokers must make and their affected Tariff Classifications. Please review the list of Classifications against your current products. It is important to note that asbestos is used as a binding agent in a myriad of applications, not just in building materials, tiles or insulation.

If you are a current customer of BCR, please contact your Customer Service Team Member for more information. If you are not a BCR customer, please contact us today to learn how BCR can assist you and your company with sea freight forwarding, air freight forwarding, Customs related services and 3PL warehousing. More information on asbestos can be found below and further information from the DIBP website can be found here.

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a term for a group of six naturally occurring mineral fibres belonging to two groups:

  • Serpentine Group – comprised of only chrysotile (white asbestos)
  • Amphibole Group – comprised of amosite (brown asbestos or grey asbestos), anthophyllite, crocidolite (blue asbestos), tremolite, and actinolite.


Goods that might contain asbestos

Asbestos is still used outside Australia in many applications. The following imported goods are considered high risk for containing asbestos and ACM:

  • Asbestos bitumen products used to damp proof
  • Asbestos rope
  • Asbestos tape
  • Brake linings or blocks
  • Cement flat sheeting or panels
  • Cement pipes, tubes or fittings
  • Cement shingles or tiles (external or ceiling)
  • Clutch linings or brake disc pads
  • Crayons
  • Diaphragms
  • Ducts
  • Electrical cloth and tapes
  • Electrical panel partitioning
  • Fire blankets
  • Fire curtains
  • Fire-resistant building materials
  • Furnaces
  • Gaskets or seals
  • Gloves
  • Heat resistant sealing or caulking compounds
  • Heating equipment
  • Lagging and jointing materials
  • Mastics, sealants, putties or adhesives
  • Mineral samples for display or therapeutic purposes
  • Mixtures containing phenol formaldehyde resin or cresylic formaldehyde resin
  • Motor vehicle parts such as friction materials
  • Pipe spools
  • Raw materials from mining activities
  • Sheet vinyl backing
  • Sheeting
  • Textured paints or coatings
  • Tiles
  • Yarn and thread, cords and string, whether or not plaited

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 BrisbaneSydneyMelbourne, Adelaide and Fremantle (Perth).