Known Consignor in Australia: All You Need To Know

Known consignor is a popular term in the air cargo world. If you are in the industry, particularly as a regular importer or exporter, you certainly should know about its benefits.

Also, if you read our article on air cargo security you may have noticed a mention of Known Consignors. 

In this article, you will find out:

  • the eligibility to become known consignors
  • the step-by-step process to become one
  • and the serious benefits to airfreight importers and exporters. 

What’s a Known Consignor?

Known Consignors are approved people able to export air cargo from Australia without further examination prior to export. They are eligible to issue their own Security Declarations and avoid X-ray and inspection fees that come with exporting airfreight under new security regulations.

Known Consignors must meet and maintain a high level of security to ensure cargo is safe to load onto an aircraft, as well as prove they can secure the cargo from origin until it is handed to another regulated business.

Since 1 March 2019, all air cargo being transported overseas from Australia needs to be examined at piece-level (box, carton, etc) by technology or physically. As a result, exporters will need to:

  • Use an Australian Government approved RACA* who can examine their air cargo at piece-level; or
  • Be approved as a Known Consignor, so they can secure air cargo originating from their business.

*A Regulated Air Cargo Agent (RACA) is responsible for examining international outbound air cargo before it is uplifted onto an aircraft. Unless cargo originates from a Known Consignor, it must be examined and cleared by a RACA before being loaded onto an aircraft.

air cargo plane flying

Who is Eligible to Apply to the Known Consignor Scheme?

For eligibility to the Known Consignor scheme your business must:

  • Export cargo from Australia by air.
  • Have an Australian Business Number (ABN) or Australian Company Number (ACN).
  • Originate the cargo and know what is in each box, package or carton being exported and meet one of the following:
    • Your business makes, manufactures, assembles, or otherwise produces goods to be transported for export by aircraft as cargo. For example, you may export meat or fresh fruit as air cargo.
    • Your business is the owner or person in control of the goods when they become cargo ready for export by air. For example, you might package goods into boxes and cartons and then consolidate these into a consignment on a pallet at your facilities from goods made elsewhere.

How Much Does It Cost To Become A Known Consignor?

There are no fees to become a Known Consignor, and if you export regularly, applying to become a Known Consignor could be of substantial benefit. However, you may want to consider some costs related to becoming eligible, such as:

  • Information security and purchase and installation of security-related equipment
  • Secure packing, handling, storage and transportation of secured air cargo
  • Security awareness training for staff and security procedures
  • Development of response procedures in case security is breached
  • Vetting of employees to ensure they are of suitable character and requirement of key staff to hold Aviation Security Identification cards (ASIC)
  • Quality control procedures in place to monitor and manage compliance
  • Detection and resolution of suspicious activity
  • Physical access control

Known Consignor Scheme Application

Once you have met the eligibility criteria, the process to become a known consignor is quite straightforward, as detailed in the steps below.

Step 1

To apply you can visit the Department of Home affairs and complete an application form

The application form includes a series of questions about your security measures, to ensure you can meet the requirements of the scheme. 

Once completed, submit your application form by email to .

Step 2 

The Department will assess whether your business meets the criteria to become a Known Consignor. The department may also wish to inspect your site prior to approval. Thereafter, confirmation of your status will be issued within 90 days and will last between 1 and 5 years. 

Step 3 

If your business is approved as a Known Consignor, you will need to comply with several ongoing obligations, known as your Known Consignor Security Program

cargo being loaded into air cargo plane

Your Obligations

In order to maintain your Known Consignor status, you must:

  • Comply with a Known Consignor Security Program provided by the Department of Home Affairs 
  • Protect the security of air cargo that originates from your business until the air cargo is provided to another regulated business
  • Only issue a Security Declaration in relation to cargo you originate
  • Provide your employees with ongoing security awareness training
  • Be subject to periodic compliance checks by the Department

Known Consignor Security Program

The Known Consignor Security Program sets out the security requirements all Known Consignors must comply with. This includes requirements for:

  • Security of facilities
  • Security of personnel
  • Training for personnel
  • Clearing cargo
  • Ensuring the chain of custody for cargo
  • Oversight of the measures, procedures and requirements listed above

Your Known Consignor Security Program must list all sites where you will be originating Known Consignor air cargo.

Your Known Consignor Security Program remains in force for as long as your business is approved as a Known Consignor. However, be warned, failure to comply with your obligations can result in Known Consignor approval being revoked.

Security Declaration

All goods that are exported by air from Australia must be cleared and have a valid Security Declaration before the airline will accept the goods.
A Security Declaration is a document issued by a Known Consignor or a Regulated Air Cargo Agent (RACA)The Security Declaration indicates that cargo is cleared and ready to be uplifted on an international aircraft. A Known Consignor may only issue a Security Declaration in relation to cargo they have originated.
Refer below for a Security Declaration downloadable template.

List Of Approved Known Consignors in Australia

Check below the latest version (27 January 2020) of the approved known consignors, as per the Australian Department of Home Affairs website.

Updated List of Approved Known Consignors
Click to expand

One Last Thought

If exporting via airfreight is a significant part of your business, the Known Consignor Scheme could be for you. 

If you are unsure whether this process would work for you, contact the ICE team on 1300 CARGO1. Our experienced team are on hand for help and advice about Air Cargo Security and the Known Consignor Scheme. 

Request a Free Quote or call us on 1300 227 461

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