• Declare every piece of equipment you will bring on tour
  • Connect with a Customs Broker BEFORE departure from your home town
  • If you make changes to your kit, update your broker immediately
  • If securities are required to be paid to the Australian Border Force on entry, your broker can handle this
  • Give your broker at least seven days notice before you depart from Australia and return home

Ahead of October’s 2017 World Solar Challenge in outback Australia, German film production house Incenio Film travelled to Australia to shoot a documentary about the HS Bochum Solar Car Team representing Bochum University of Applied Sciences in the race. On arriving in Australia, they lost precious time while being waylaid in Adelaide due to inadequate customs paperwork for their film gear.

When the crew’s kit was stopped by the Australian Border Force at Adelaide Airport producer Jan Hojbowicz immediately contacted Platinum® Freight Management to take over the administration process. Platinum® Freight ® acted promptly to facilitate an urgent clearance within the day.

“We were so shocked that our film kit was seized by the Australian Border Force – we had thought all the paperwork was filed correctly in Germany. We were also very frustrated to learn that because of this problem we would miss our connecting flight that day and therefore lose a precious day of shooting. We were grateful to Platinum® Freight for their immediate help,” said Hejbowicz.

While the crew had obtained the necessary ATA Carnet* documentation that authorises a specific film kit’s movement to some countries, the crew had added additional gear to their kit that was not listed. As a result, this unauthorised gear attracted a hefty security deposit before it could be cleared for use in Australia. Unluckily for Incenio Film, it also meant an unplanned delay and stopover in Adelaide.

This is a lesson all film crews can learn from: ensure your paperwork is handled by Customs Brokers before leaving your home country – and clearly identify every item that will travel with the crew.

Platinum® Freight ® CEO Peter McRae explains the administration process of travelling with commercial film gear:

“Documentation listing every piece of equipment travelling with a crew can be submitted and security deposits paid before departure – this is the ATA Carnet. Effectively, a Carnet is like a passport for the goods.

“Operating in this way ensures a smooth entry into the destination country. In this case Incenio Film were unlucky – they got the original paperwork right, but overlooked the inflexibility of the process and therefore, when they made undocumented changes to their kit, the Australian Border Force was authorised to hold the goods. They did the right thing by contacting a broker immediately to resolve the issue and ensure their delay in transit was as minimal as possible.”

The Australian Border Force’s rules are designed to prevent unauthorised importing of valuable goods without the correct revenue collection through taxes and duty fees. This means that even for film crews travelling with gear, if the correct administration hasn’t been completed, the gear can be held pending revenue collection. The security paid is approximately equal to 15 per cent of the value of the total value of the goods.

These rules exist to prevent importers falsely documenting saleable goods as temporary imports into Australia in order to avoid paying due tax and duty. As a result, the Government takes a security payment equivalent to the GST and duty charges which is reimbursed once an export clearance is completed as the goods leave the country.

Bochum’s World Solar Challenge and Team Thyssemkrupp Blue Cruiser documentary is still filming in Australia until later this month and will later be shown in Bochum, Germany. It will also be offered to German television networks, Netflix and iTunes.

For further information about travelling with commercial equipment in film or other industries, or to obtain a quote, please contact Platinum® Freight here.

* An ATA Carnet proves what specific pieces of equipment are to travel between countries listed on the front page of the Carnet. The security payment of 15 per cent of the total value of goods is paid prior to departure and ensures a smooth delivery of the goods through Customs at the destination. The ATA Carnet is valid for 12 months and allows the kit to travel freely in countries listed on the front cover of the Carnet.