Australian Government - Australian Customs and Border Protection Service

To protect Australia's borders and foster lawful trade and travel.

CEF role in border protection

A container on track being x-rayed

Customs and Border Protection 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. Customs and Border Protection container and cargo examination facilities (CEFs) were funded under the Tough on Drugs and Protecting our Borders initiatives, to significantly increase the level of intervention in relation to sea cargo.

Combined with Customs and Border Protection sophisticated risk-assessment techniques and intelligence operations cargo examination helps to ensure the integrity of Australia's borders by:

  • Preventing the flow of illicit drugs, weapons and other harmful goods into Australia
  • Enabling a major increase in the volume of sea cargo inspected as an element in community assurance
  • Minimising losses to revenue from smuggling and other forms of revenue evasion in sea cargo
  • Protecting legitimate industry from non-compliant importers and exporters through detection and deterrence
  • Providing benefits to Australian business by improving the security of sea cargo trade

The CEFs state of the art technology enables Customs and Border Protection to accurately and rapidly examine a much larger percentage of cargo. Customs and Border Protection thereby fulfils its border protection role and assists industry by allowing the majority of cargo to be processed quickly.

Approximately 90 per cent of containers selected for examination are x-rayed, released within 15 minutes and returned to the wharf immediately. From the remaining 10 per cent selected for more detailed physical examination, the majority are returned to the wharf within 24 hours.

The CEFs have had major success, illustrated by results, including seizures of hundreds of kilograms of illicit drugs and precursor chemicals.