"Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family." - Kofi Annan
29 March 2019 

TCO Gazette Links

News Headlines

VICT Extends Operating Hours
Victoria International Container Terminal has been praised for making their decision to extend Webb Dock operating hours. From Monday 1 April, VICT will be trialling landside operating hours to run 24 hours a day, five days a week, closing from 2pm Saturday until 6am Sunday and again on Sundays from 2pm until 6am Monday.

VICT is to review this arrangement after four weeks to determine if there has been sufficient uptake to continue with these operating hours. Container Transport Alliance Australia (CTAA) director Neil Chambers said landside logistics operators had wanted extended operating hours at VICT to allow for consistent night-shift operations.

“It is a characteristic of the larger-volume container transport operators in Melbourne to predominately conduct import pick-ups and export receivals at container stevedore terminals at night, ultilising the most efficient heavy vehicle combinations possible to increase truck utilisation rates,” Mr Chambers said.

“There has been some frustration expressed in the past that trucks needed to be diverted during day shift to do business with VICT because of their limited, predominately daytime operating hours.”

Mr Chambers indicated transport operators were still hurting from the VICT move to increase its landside infrastructure charge from $48 to $85 per full container. At least the commitment to extend operating hours offsets that tremendous cost increase to a degree. CTAA urges all container transport operators in Melbourne to take up the additional nightshift container slot capacity which will arise from these increased operational hours.

Dumping Duty Deception
An investigation into the importattion of Chinese aluminium products via Thailand has led to a Sydney fabrication company facing fines of more than $67,000 in penalties and recovered duty and GST.

The investigation by Australian Border Force (ABF) Customs Compliance Operations focused on an import declaration last December for almost 15 tonnes of aluminium sections shipped into Sydney in a shipping container. The investigation found three “false and misleading statements”, which included a false declaration regarding the origin of the goods, to avoid the payment of countervailing, dumping and Customs duty. The Australian Government imposes countervailing duty and dumping duty to fight the dumping of low priced overseas goods below their normal value.

The shipment was undervalued. According to the ABF, the false and misleading statements caused a shortfall of $35,722 in duty, and a further $4,676 in GST. As well as paying the under-declared duty and GST the company was penalised $26,791 – the equivalent of 75% of the duty shortfall. In total they were required to pay $67,189.

ABF Acting Commander Malcolm Phelps said the case was a reminder for businesses to correctly declare imports.

“At the end of the day importers who don’t pay the correct amount of duty and GST are depriving the Australian economy and ultimately Australian taxpayers,” Acting Commander Phelps said. In this particular case, considerable effort was made to route the consignment through Thailand to conceal the fact that the goods originated from China.

Acting Commander Phelps said ABF Customs Compliance Operations officers worked diligently to ensure importers complied with reporting and revenue collection.

“Failure to comply can result in severe penalties, or the suspension or cancellation of licences and potentially prosecution,” he said.

Man's Best Friend
It's true that dogs have a keen sense of smell; with dogs trained to sniff out prohibited items at the airport, track down criminals and detect cancer and seizures. Now, detector dogs have had their noses trained to sniff out our biosecurity risk, the brown marmorated stink bug.

Head of biosecurity Lyn O’Connell said the department was working with the University of New England to train the dogs to detect this serious pest in sea cargo.

“Detector dogs are a pivotal frontline defence against pests and diseases, intercepting around 60,000 biosecurity risk items at Australia’s international airports and mail centres in 2018,” she said.

“We have strong measures in place offshore and at the border to manage the risk of this pest arriving here and we’ll soon have the best noses in the business on the job to enhance our efforts. In Brisbane, we are currently trialling the use of detector dogs for the screening of imported cars. This is a first for biosecurity in Australia.”

Ms O’Connell said the dogs were another way biosecurity officers can detect and stop the pest in its tracks.

“It is an example of how we can expand our existing detector dog capabilities to address current or emerging biosecurity risks,” she said.

Further research will now be undertaken to support the training of new and existing detector dogs. This will also allow the department to conduct rapid response training for existing dogs to help manage other seasonal or emerging pest and disease risks.

The introduction of detector dog screening for sea cargo is another innovative step the department is taking to keep this pest out of Australia.

Currently the department’s detector dog operations has about 60 dogs working in international airports, sea ports and mail centres.

According to the Department of Agriculture, Water Resources, each dog can, detect on average between 3000 and 3500 biosecurity risk items during their working life.

Now what would we do without man's best friend?

A Biosecurity Hero
Izzy the sharp nosed detector dog has successfully stopped the arrival of 10kgs of undeclared meat and fruit at Sydney Airport, helping protect Australia’s borders aganist potential biosecurity risks.

According to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, Izzy is being hailed a hero after sniffing out the meat and fruit in a passenger’s luggage. Head of Biosecurity Lyn O’Connell praised Izzy’s efforts. “Izzy was doing some routine sniffing when she responded to a passenger’s bag and our biosecurity officers soon found out what had caught her nose,” Ms O’Connell said.

Failing to declare items such as meat and fruit were a threat to Australia as they could bring in diseases and pests. Illegally imported fresh fruit can harbour diseases and pests like the fruit fly and citrus canker that would cause severe damage to our horticulture industries. Meat in particular can carry foot and mouth disease and African swine fever, diseases that would cost the Australian economy billions and potentially take more than a decade to eradicate.

Ms O’Connell said the final collection of detected food was considerable. “They found almost eight kilos of nashi pears, two kilos of oranges, 325 grams of chicken meat and more than two kilos of pork products that included pig meat, sausages and trotters,” she said.

“Our dogs do a great job sniffing out potential risk items, but every passenger that travels to Australia has an obligation to follow our conditions,” Ms O’Connell said. “There is no excuse if you bring these or other biosecurity risk items to Australia,” Ms O’Connell said. “Either leave them at home, or just declare them.”

The passenger had thier undeclared meat and fruit products destroyed and were issued an infringement notice.

Endangered Iguanas Smuggled
A man is facing charges after he allegedly attempted to smuggle two endangered iguanas into Australia on board a cruise ship.

On 19 March 2019, the Australian Border Force (ABF) was notified by the vessel’s crew of a 49 year old Australian passenger who had been found to be in possession of two live Fijian Banded Iguanas. Two days later, ABF Maritime officers boarded the ship when it came into port in Sydney and conducted an examination of the man’s room and his luggage.

The iguanas were referred to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources to assess the biosecurity risks. ABF investigators interviewed the man, who allegedly acquired the reptiles during a stop in Vanuatu.

“Sadly there are people in Australia who are prepared to pay large sums of money for exotic and rare wildlife products – but these people should know we are alert to their activities,” ABF Regional Investigations NSW A/g Superintendent Fleming said.

“These iguanas are beautiful animals and it’s obvious why they are appealing to wildlife smugglers. Working with our partners, the ABF will continue to do all we can to put a stop to this cruel trade.”

Acting Head of Biosecurity Operations at the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, Mark Simpson, said illegal imports of exotic animals can introduce devastating pests and diseases and, as such, pose a significant biosecurity risk to Australia.

“Our biosecurity officers worked closely with our ABF colleagues throughout this detection to ensure the significant biosecurity risks were managed.

“Any breach of Australia’s biosecurity is a serious matter and this is another example of effective collaboration between our agencies to stop potential biosecurity threats at our border.”

The matter is subject to ongoing investigation. Offences relating to the importation of CITES listed wildlife under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 carry a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $210,000.

MDMA Concealment Busted
A joint operation by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Australian Border Force (ABF) has resulted in the seizure of 80 kilograms of MDMA allegedly destined for Sydney.

The operation also resulted in the arrest of a 21 year old US national. The man was arrested by AFP officers at Sydney International Airport this week as he attempted to board a flight home.

The MDMA was detected early February when ABF officers examined an electro-magnet that arrived into Sydney via air cargo from Germany. AFP forensic members found 83 bags of “a brown crystalline substance within the cavity of the device”. Investigators identified the 21 year old man as the intended recipient of the consignment, and he subsequently arrived on a flight into Melbourne on 13 February.

It is to be alleged he travelled to Sydney and made several attempts to collect the consignment. When those attempts failed, he attempted to board a flight to Hawaii.

AFP Detective Superintendent Nathan Barron said further investigation with domestic and international partners would further examine the role of organised crime groups.

“Investigators believe the man arrested was acting on behalf of a larger organised crime syndicate to ensure this MDMA arrived in Australia,” Superintendent Barron said.

Friday Funnies
We can't guarantee that these jokes are funny but we hope they'll ease you into the weekend!

I have a dieter inside me.
Inside me lives a skinny woman crying to get out.

If you’re American when you go in the bathroom…… and American when you come out, what are you in the bathroom?

I sold my vacuum the other day.
All it was doing was collecting dust.

Did you hear about the guy who invented the knock knock joke?
He won the "no-bell" prize.

Two windmills are standing in a wind farm.
One asks, “What’s your favorite type of music?” The other says, “I’m a big metal fan.”

Why does Snoop Dogg use an umbrella?
For drizzle.