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Alerts provide information about significant changes to import conditions. Keep informed of alerts by following individual import cases.

Notification of planned urgent actions for khapra beetle: shipping containers

Effective from 19 March 2021

On 13 August 2020, the department issued a BICON Alert informing stakeholders of its intention to implement urgent actions to plant products that are hosts of khapra beetle (Trogoderma granarium) to safeguard Australia against the entry, establishment and spread of this pest. This alert is to advise stakeholders that the department has revised the schedule of implementation for these actions and will now focus on changes to the management of shipping containers.

Who will be affected by these changes?

Stakeholders in the import and shipping industries—including vessel masters, freight forwarders, treatment providers, Biosecurity Industry Participants, importers, customs brokers, principal shipping agents, and any other operators in the sea container supply and logistics chain.

What will change?

In response to the recent and increasing hitchhiker risk of khapra beetle in shipping containers, we have determined that changes to the management of containers is now an immediate priority for addressing khapra beetle risk. Accordingly, we plan to implement new measures for containers (Phase 6) ahead of proposed changes for plant products and seeds for sowing (Phases 3-5).

A revised schedule of the implementation of the phases is below.


Implementation date

Phase 1: Ban on high-risk plant products within unaccompanied personal effects and low value freight   

Commenced 3 September 2020.
See: BICON Alert

Phase 2: Ban on high-risk plant products within accompanied baggage or via international travellers or mail articles  

Commenced 15 October 2020.
See: BICON Alert

Phase 3: Revised phytosanitary certification and new offshore treatment requirements for high-risk plant products arriving via commercial pathways 

Expected to commence in mid-late 2021  

Phase 4: Revised phytosanitary certification and new offshore treatment requirements for other risk plant products arriving via all import pathways 

Expected to commence in mid-late 2021  

Phase 5: Introduction of phytosanitary certification for  
all seeds for sowing  

Expected to commence in mid-late 2021  

Phase 6: Revised measures for shipping containers 

Expected to commence in early 2021 

Phase 6: Revised measures for shipping containers

We are currently working through what the revised measures for shipping containers will involve. A range of measures are being considered, including possible treatment options.

We will provide further information and consult with stakeholders on the proposed measures for containers over the coming months. These consultations will provide industry with the opportunity to provide feedback and ask questions about the proposed measures.

Why are these changes needed?

The actions are considered necessary because:

  • The global spread of khapra beetle is increasing. Australia has seen an increase in detections of khapra beetle during 2020 in commodities that khapra beetle previously had no association with, from countries not known to have khapra beetle, and as contaminants in shipping containers.
  • Khapra beetle is a significant threat to Australian plant industries, including the grain export industry. Khapra beetle destroys grain quality making it unfit for human or animal consumption. Stored products also become contaminated with beetles, cast skins and hairs from larvae, which can be a human health risk.
  • If khapra beetle enters Australia it would have significant economic consequences. An outbreak could cost Australia $15.5 billion over 20 years through revenue losses arising from damaged grain in storage and exports.

Australia currently has biosecurity requirements for many products that could be infested with khapra beetle. However, considering the emerging khapra risk associated with imported shipping containers, the department believes that the biosecurity requirements need to be expanded and strengthened to prevent a khapra beetle incursion.

Where can I get further information?

For further information, see the:

Enquiries can be directed to 1800 900 090 or via email at (please title the subject line of the email with ‘Plant Tier 2 – khapra urgent actions’).

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