In the past few months, we have seen the Australian government ramp up its efforts to mandate better practices in logistics and supply chain organizations. Many of these were done for numerous reasons, including the growing threat against our nation’s biosecurity.
In fact, just recently, a whole car carrier had been ordered by port authorities to depart Australian waters after it was discovered to be infected with stink bugs.
No doubt this had serious ramifications for all customers depending on the carrier for their supply chains. However, it is nowhere nearly enough justification for bringing more hazardous pests in Australian territory.
Events such as this only further highlight the new standards for the Chain of Responsibility and how they extend accountability beyond being exclusively to shipper or importer. In this particular incident, the shipper has already agreed to bear half the cost deviation, treatment and return of the ship’s cargo.
For the sake of avoiding similar incidents in your own logistics, here are some lessons you can learn from it:
- Understand the importance of biosecurity.
Personnel must be trained with a more in-depth understanding of why biosecurity has such significant importance. History has proven time and again about the dangers of introducing foreign pests, substances and non-native species via un-inspected cargo.
Likewise, the training of personnel is not just the duty of either shipper or importer. Both parties should have their organizations up to speed on biosecurity regulations and how they are directly tied with a healthy environment.
- Outline procedures along with responsibilities.
Whichever party you are in the supply chain, don’t wait to be informed by the others. Reach out and make regular reminders about their duties in the Chain of Responsibility.
For example, importers are tasked with the responsibility of fumigating and inspecting cargo prior to shipment. This will ensure that the shipper will have a smoother time presenting clean cargo and the accompanying declarations required.
On the other hand, shippers may also have their own responsibility to ensure that the decontaminated cargo maintains its clean state all the way up to its arrival at its destination.
Therefore, before entering into any supply chain or logistics partnership, always make sure each party knows their role and be equipped to fulfill said role’s mandatory procedures.
- Be prepared to take responsibility (as opposed to shifting it).
Any attempt to shift blame to only specific parties in the supply chain is a fruitless exercise. And because of the new Chain of Responsibility, it is also a futile one. Port officials cannot show consideration for a violation even if you are not directly in charge of fulfilling a particular requirement.
The good news is that it still empowers all partners and stakeholders to stay in constant touch and hold each other accountable in order to avert similar delays in the supply chain.
All in all, the burden of biosecurity compliance is just one of many instances where all supply chain and logistics groups need shared responsibilities. It is not enough to simply ‘do your own part’ anymore. Start reaching out and making sure everyone is on the same page!