Cargo Examination Facilities

The Australian Border Force Container and Cargo Examination Facilities (CEFs) are examination facilities housing x-ray systems and other equipment to enable rapid physical examination of selected consignments. They assist the Australian Border Force (ABF) to detect prohibited goods, including illicit drugs, illegal firearms and other harmful goods as well as assisting in the verification of compliance with import and export requirements.

Approximately 90 per cent of containers selected for examination are x-rayed. The remaining 10 per cent are selected for more detailed physical examination.

The ABF plays a vital role in protecting Australia's borders from the entry of illegal and harmful goods. Counter terrorism and improved quarantine intervention remain top government priorities as well as intercepting illicit drugs and other things potentially harmful to the community.

In 2002, the CEFs were established, to significantly increase the level of intervention in relation to sea cargo.

The benefits of CEFs

CEFs allow the ABF to inspect a significant amount of cargo coming into Australia without slowing down processing times for the cargo industry. They enable more efficient detection and risk-management while allowing closer integration with industry processes.

CEFs provide the ABF with:

  • increased ability to detect prohibited, illicit and non-compliant goods in sea cargo
  • ability to sample trade for misreported consignments, revenue evasion, smuggling and fraud
  • rapid, safe and non-intrusive means of verifying container contents while providing Australian industry with faster clearance rates
  • a reduction in the time consignments remain under customs control
  • enhanced compliance with increasingly stringent international demands for secure trade without a major impact on legitimate container traffic flow.

The CEFs have proven successful, resulting in seizures of hundreds of kilograms of illicit drugs and precursor chemicals.

Location of CEFs

The four major CEFs are located in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Fremantle. These facilities house container x-ray machines capable of x-raying up to four sea cargo containers at a single time.

There are also smaller CEFs in Adelaide, Newcastle, Darwin and Townsville.