Warehouses and depots

Warehouses

Warehouses are licensed under section 79 of the Customs Act 1901(the Customs Act). A warehouse licence can be granted to an individual, a company or a partnership. Licences cannot be granted to a ‘trust’ but might be granted to a ‘trustee’. While a licence is issued to an individual, company or partnership, it is also issued for a specific ‘place’. Licensees who want to move premises or make substantial changes to the existing licensed site must be granted approval to ‘vary’ their licence before any changes are made.

Goods entered for warehousing on a Nature 20 warehouse declaration might be held indefinitely at a warehouse without payment of any duties and taxes until the goods are entered for home consumption or until they are exported. The holder of a warehouse licence is responsible for the safe custody and accounting of these goods to the satisfaction of the Department.  Failure to do so will result in the warehouse licence holder being liable for any unpaid revenue. 

There are a number of categories of warehouse licences, mainly:

  • Private Warehouse - The licence holder is the owner of the warehoused goods
  • General Warehouse - The licence holder is storing goods on behalf of other owner/s
  • Providores and Flight Catering Bonds - The licence holder stores goods which are then supplied to international aircraft or vessels as aircraft or ships stores
  • Duty Free Store - The licence holder is permitted to sell goods to relevant travellers in a retail-type environment

Activities permitted in warehouses are limited to ensure the security of the goods and the revenue payable to the Commonwealth is protected.  Apart from approved storage, blending, unpacking, repacking and packaging of certain types of goods, any activities that involve "value adding" are not permitted.

How to apply

Submit Form B1015 - Warhouse licence application form (1.05MB PDF) to apply for a warehouse licence.

See Warehouse licence - Application guidelines (330KB PDF) to help you in completing your application.

Submit Form B1214 - Application for a variation of a place covered by a warehourse licence (727KB PDF) to make variation to an existing warehouse licence.

After we recieve the application an invoice with the relevant application fee will be issued. Processing of the application will commence once the application fee has been paid. Any further information required to complete the application will also be requested at this time.

Note: Applications might take up to 60 days to process from the time we recieve all required information. Processing of an application will require at least one site visit by Australian Border Force (ABF) officers to assess the physical security of the premises and the business and IT systems in place to manage the control and security of goods.

Excise equivalent goods warehouses

Excise equivalent goods (EEGs) are imported alcohol, tobacco and fuel that, if produced or manufactured in Australia, would be subject to excise duty.

From 1 July 2010, responsibility for the administration of EEGs that are warehoused moved from the Department to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

With the exception of businesses in the duty free, catering bond and providore industries, you should apply to the ATO for a warehouse licence if you:

  • intend to store EEGs in a warehouse; or
  • are an operator of one or more warehouses and at least one of your warehouses deals with EEGs.

Further information is available on www.ato.gov.au/excise or contact the ATO on 1300 137 290 (option 4) between 8.00am and 6.00pm, Monday to Friday.

Depots

Depots are licensed under section 77G of the Customs Act and allow importers to have goods moved away from the wharf or airport for short-term storage and unpacking / deconsolidation. Once all legislative requirements are met, the goods can be released into home consumption or moved to a licensed warehouse for storage.

A depot licence can be granted to an individual, a company or a partnership. Licences cannot be granted to a ‘trust’ but might be granted to a ‘trustee’. While a licence is issued to an individual, company or partnership, it is also issued for a specific ‘place’. Licensees who want to move premises or make substantial changes to the existing licensed site must be granted approval to ‘vary’ their licence before any changes are made.

Depot licence holders can only use the premises for the following purposes:

  • holding of imported goods subject to customs control
  • unpacking of imported goods subject to customs control
  • holding of goods for export subject to customs control
  • packing of goods for export subject to customs control into containers.

All section 77G depots are required to be electronically linked to the ICS to enable the reporting of cargo. Storage of goods subject to customs control in a licensed depot is permitted until the end of the month after the month of receival in the depot. The depot might seek an extension under section 77P to hold the goods for a further month. If legislative import requirements have not been met and this period has elapsed, the goods must be transferred to a licensed warehouse (if possible) or arrangements be made for the disposal/destruction of the goods.

How to apply

Submit Form B300 - Section 77G Depot licence application form (771KB PDF) to apply for a depot licence.

See Depot licence - Application guidelines (322KB PDF) to help you in completing your application.

Submit Form B305 - Application for a variation of a place covered by a depot licence (1.14MB PDF) to make variation to an existing depot licence.

After we recieve the application an invoice with the relevant application fee will be issued. Processing of the application will commence once the application fee has been paid. Any further information required to complete the application will also be requested at this time.

Note: Applications might take up to 60 days to process from the time we recieve all the required information. Processing of an application will require at least one site visit by Australian Border Force (ABF) officers to assess the physical security of the premises and the business and IT systems in place to manage the control and security of goods.

Other resources

Other resources to help you in completing a warehouse and depot applications are available.