Vapes Hidden in Containers of Commercial Goods

Freight Forwarders and Customs Brokers need to be vigilant to a surge of illegal vapes being concealed in commercial shipments of clothing, machinery, cookware and furniture, originating from Asian ports.

The Australian Border Force (ABF) has stopped almost 400,000 disposable vapes from entering Australia within a week in Sydney, in the largest single ‘at border’ detection since tough new laws came into effect at the start of this year.

Between Monday 20 May and Thursday 23 May 2024, ABF officers at Sydney’s Container Examination Facility (CEF) x-rayed three sea cargo consignments and identified anomalies; each consignment had varying declarations of goods – including clothing items, cleaning machinery, cookware, and furniture.

Upon further examination, officers identified approximately 389,880 disposable vapes within the containers.

On Monday 20 May 2024, they found 37,800 disposable vape products concealed within mixed declared goods; then later that day officers identified a second container which on further inspection contained 18 pallets of plastic-wrapped cardboard boxes, with 174,960 disposable vapes inside.

On Thursday 23 May 2024, approximately 177,120 disposable vapes were identified throughout an entire third container. This consignment marks the single-largest ‘at border’ detection of disposable vapes in Australia since the legislative changes were introduced on 01 January 2024.

While the ABF did not include the Ports of Origin in their media release, they did confirm that each of these consignments originated from Asia.

The seized items have a combined estimated street value in excess of $12.47 million. They will be destroyed, with investigations into the importation of these goods and their intended destination ongoing.

ABF Acting Commander Trade East, Asha Patwardhan, said the frequency and significant quantities of vaping products which ABF officers are now intercepting demonstrates how importers are continuing to have a blatant disregard for the new legislation, hoping to evade border controls to bring these prohibited goods into Australia.

“The new border regulations have been in force for five months now, and we are certainly beginning to see the attempted concealments which these organised crime syndicates are employing,” Acting Commander Patwardhan said.

“We are also seeing a vast range of vaping products now stopped at the border, from vape liquid and accessories in our international mail facilities, right through to container loads of disposable products on an industrial scale.

“It is well established that the vast majority of these disposable vapes contain highly addictive nicotine, despite being branded with fun fruity flavours and colourful packaging making it particularly attractive to a younger market and exposing them to unacceptable health risks.

See this previous article from a month ago: Record Quantities of Vape Imports Busted.

As licensed Customs Brokers and International Freight Forwarders, Colless Young gives you professional advice on all your consignments, both sea cargo and airfreight, as well as the allied services of trucking and warehousing. We provide a complete range of import and export services, covering customs clearance and quarantine treatments. We are based in Brisbane and offer logistics facilities through all Australian ports and airports.