Communication With The Department

How you communicate with the Department of Home Affairs

The Integrated Cargo System (ICS) is a software application that is used for all import and export reporting and processing procedures and is the only method of electronically reporting the legitimate movement of goods across Australia's borders.

The ICS offers efficient management of all importing and exporting functions including vessel, aircraft and cargo reporting with the ability to track the movement of cargo. The ICS also contains a comprehensive register of client and reference information.

There are a number of ways to communicate directly with the Department when you need to report the movement of cargo and other cargo-related activities.

Depending on your circumstances, you may not need to access the ICS directly. If you are a one time or infrequent importer or exporter, you may prefer to engage the services of a Customs broker to conduct your business on your behalf. See: list of Customs Brokerages bt State/Territory.

For companies or individuals with more frequent transactions, there are two options for communicating information to Customs and Border Protection via the ICS. They include:

  • Customs Interactive (CI); and
  • Electronic Data Interchange (EDI).

More information on these options is located on the Integrated Cargo System - Connecting to the ICS page.

There are a number of things to consider before you decide to use the ICS, including:

  • The volume of your importing / exporting transactions (are you a frequent or occasional trader?)
  • The size of your business and number of employees
  • Computer skills (level of skills available to you – will you need to retrain any staff?)
  • Cost considerations (cost of digital certificates and possible IT upgrades against employing the services of a customs broker.)
  • What method of communication best suits the number of transactions being sent

How the Department communicates with you

The Department has developed a number of methods of communicating with our clients, to ensure that they receive timely and accurate information regarding cargo-related business. This includes, but is not limited to, information on changes to cargo processes, ICS enhancements, or ICS system outages.

ICS Home Page - Announcements
The ICS Home Page announcements screen has been developed to provide users with up to date, real time information concerning cargo processes and changes and issues with the Integrated Cargo System.

Australian Customs Cargo Advices (ACCAs)
ACCAs are advices issued when there is a change to reporting or system procedures that affect ICS users.

Australian Customs Notices (ACNs)
ACNs are advices about new legislation and policy changes

Tariff updates
Changes to tariffs, duty rates, Free Trade Agreements and other tariff updates.

ICS Outages
Advice will be posted on the announcements screen regarding upcoming scheduled system outages and provide information about the nature and length of the scheduled outage.
Further advice will be posted when the affected system is functioning again.

ICS Updates
The ICS Updates page is on the Cargo Support website and mirrors the information on the ICS home page announcements screen. It is the primary source of information during an ICS system outage. The ICS Updates page can be found here.

Check the Resources page for further information.