Green Whitegoods Imports

Importing specialist and customs brokerage Platinum Freight Management is calling on whitegoods importers and retailers to be vigilant about sourcing pre-charged (gassed) whitegoods to ensure Australia’s regulation standards are maintained.

The call comes after Platinum Freight recently identified an importation of refrigerators and air-conditioners, suspected of containing Ozone-depleting gasses (ODGs), slipping through Customs and Australian Border Force (ABF).

Peter McRae, CEO of Platinum Freight warns that not all whitegoods coming from overseas meet Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956, specifically Schedule 10. While overseas suppliers offer the goods for sale, it doesn’t mean they meet standards in Australia. The responsibility is on the Australian buyer or importer to source responsibly.

“We have a present-day situation where Australian importers may be unwittingly on-selling whitegoods that are not permitted and not as environmentally friendly as they claim to be,” says McRae.

He highlights the lack of resources allocated to ABF and therefore the significant lack of systematic checks of imported goods by ABF due, citing this as a key reason why it is so common for prohibited goods to be available for resale by Australian retailers. According to McRae, it’s a simple case of “let the retail-buyer beware”.

“Recently a potential client approached my brokerage to Customs-clear a 20-foot shipping container packed with refrigerators, freezers and air-conditioners, despite concerns our brokerage raised that the goods were suspected of containing Ozone-depleting gases. Operating on best-practice principles, I alerted the authorities. However, upon checking only a day later the shipment was released through the Australian Border Force. This is in insufficient time to complete an inspection. These whitegoods are now in the Australian market somewhere, where importers, retailers or consumers will be purchasing them, unaware and uninformed.”

This issue will most likely affect smaller Australian retailers who buy in small quantities and who may go to new or lesser-known suppliers to chase better wholesale prices.

To help retailers make informed choices about quality and compliance for the goods they import or purchase from importers, Platinum Freight Management has identified four key areas to focus on:

  1. Buy from trusted manufacturers wherever possible. Manufacturers who regularly supply in large quantities to the Australian market already produce mass orders and therefore are more likely to work in-line with Prohibited Imports Regulations.
  2. Ask every supplier for the specification sheet showing the pre-charged gases used. A customs broker can confirm if these gases meet Australian regulations.
  3. Work with a customs broker who understands the Prohibited Imports Regulations and who will assess each product for conformity.
  4. Importers: know the rules. For large quantities of whitegoods, obtain the required permit from the Department of Environment and Energy. For small quantities exempt from permits, know your limits on quantity (five units) and gases permitted. Buy responsibly.

Platinum Freight Management operates a Green Customs® service for repeat clients who import Green Cargo® or Green Freight® to Australia. Special pricing is available to approved green products, see www.greencargo.com.au