Depots are Customs controlled areas where goods are temporarily stored and are primarily intended to facilitate the logistical requirements of international trade. Their basic purpose is for the de-consolidation of imported containerised cargo, consolidation of export cargo and the examination of goods by Customs.

Depots are fundamentally different from warehousing thus License Fees and Bank Guarantees are not required. However, approval for depots are conferred by the Commissioner of Customs through the regional offices and ports and may be revoked if conditions are not complied with by the operator.

Maximum period of storage for goods is up to 30 days from the time of arrival of goods. Goods not cleared or entered for home consumption from the Depots within 30 days of their arrival may be seized and moved to a government warehouse by Customs. However, depot operators may apply for extension of the storage period under certain circumstances.

The Application Process

Depot approvals are granted under Section 21(A) of the Customs Act 1951, in the form of a permission renewed annually.

Application packs are available from your local Customs office or on the PNG Customs website. When considering an application PNG Customs will consider:

  1. Is the applicant a fit and a proper person to hold a depot approval?
  2. Is the applicant in a position to occupy and control the proposed depot and have a suitable background and experience to operate a depot?
  3. Is the location of the premises too remote from the nearest regular Customs Operation to enable regular customs compliance checks to be undertaken?
  4. Is the physical security adequate having regard to the nature of the place and procedures and methods to ensure security of the goods; including fencing, lighting, storage facilities including separation of goods under customs control from free goods?
  5. Is there appropriate depot staffing arrangements including designation of key person/s responsible for physical and documentary control of the movement of goods in and out of while under customs control as well as details of fulltime security personnel and controls.
  6. Is the recording system for the proposed depot is suitable to ensure accurate and timely records are maintained to enable customs to adequately audit the records and satisfy depot compliance checks.
  7. The detailed plans of the intended premises of the depot are provided and confirmation of commercial agreements for the owner to operate at the designated premises for the duration of the depot approval.

Who May Apply?

Those agencies currently operating premises for the de-consolidation of cargo, either on the wharf or at airports; those who previously operate Class I or Class V warehouses; or freight forwarders for whom this facility would improve logistical efficiencies.

Depot Operator Responsibilities

Depots are "Customs controlled areas" under Section 16 of the Customs Act 1951. Consequently operator must:

  • Only grant access to the premises to authorized personnel;
  • Ensure authorized personnel are properly identified;
  • Display signs stating the premises are a Customs controlled areas and entry is prohibited to unauthorized persons;
  • Maintain records of every depot transactions
  • When requested, account of customs for all goods held in the premises.

Depot Operations

Depot operators have legal requirements to account for goods under their control to the satisfaction of Customs.

Containers are moved from a wharf to a depot by means of an FAK (Freight All Kinds) permission. The depot operator is expected to maintain a register of all goods taken into the depot and ensure that those goods are subsequently delivered into home consumption by means of a proper delivery authority. In some instances full containers may also be move to depots with the prior approval from Customs operations area.

Customs will undertake audits on a regular basis to ensure all goods are properly accounted for and released accordingly to law.