COLS - Questions and answers

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How do I submit my SAC documents for assessment?

A. There are 3 different scenarios that are available for clients requiring to submit SAC documents for assessment purpose, which are:

  1. Cargo Report – These are to be sent to SACNCC
  2. Short Form – These are to be sent to SACNCC
  3. Long Form – These are to be lodged using COLS

What declarations can I lodge via COLS?

Clients can lodge the following declarations via COLS:

  • Full Import Declarations (Food, Biosecurity & Dual consignments)
  • Self-Assessed Clearance upgrades

Personal Effects and Self Assessed Clearances are currently not supported by COLS.

Where do I find my Lodgement Reference Number (LRN)?

Your LRN will be emailed to you once lodgement is complete. Please ensure you keep this email in a safe place as you can use the link within the email to check the status of your LRN.

What file formats are accepted by COLS?

The current file format requirements are the same as those accepted by email (i.e. PDFs, JPEGs or TIFs). ZIP files will not be accepted via COLS.

Can I drag documents that are attached to my email directly into my COLS lodgement?

There is no functionality to allow documents that are email attachments to be “dragged and dropped” into COLS. This is because there are security settings built into internet browsers that do not allow the documents to be attached in this manner.

What do I do if I am unable to attach my documents to the online form?

Firstly ensure that your operating system meets the minimum system requirements provided. If your documents still do not attach after speaking to your IT service provider, please call our contact centre on 1800 900 090.

If I call 1800 900 090, can I speak to the officer who assessed my entry?

When you call the department, an officer will take your query and attempt to assist you. If the officer is unable to assist you due to the complexity of your enquiry, you will be progressed through to the Assessment Services Group, who will investigate and assist you with your enquiry further.

How do I request a reassessment?

If you would like to request a reassessment, the following action is required:

  • If your LRN has an “Awaiting Assessment or Awaiting Information” status in COLS, use the “Add Documents” function available in COLS and advise the d epartment of your concerns in the “Additional Information” field.
  • If your LRN has an “Assessment Complete” status in COLS, use the “New Request” function and then choose “Previously Assessed Freight”, which is located in the “Urgent” category. This will automatically prioritise your new LRN for a reassessment to take place.

How do I advise the Department of an amendment made to an entry that is either active or released?

There are two separate scenarios that can occur:

  • If your LRN has an “Awaiting Assessment or Awaiting Information” status in COLS, use the “Add Documents” function available in COLS to advise the department of the amendment made to an entry in the “Additional Information” field.
  • If your LRN has an “Assessment Complete” status in COLS or was not previously lodged in COLS, use the “New Request” function and then choose “Previously Assessed Freight” which is located in the “Urgent” category. This will automatically prioritise your new LRN and allow you to submit information about the amendment made to your entry. The use of the “Additional Information” field located with the “Documentation” section is to be used to advise the department of the amended information made to an entry.

There is no need to submit documents using the function available unless required. Amended information is not to be submitted using the “Enquiry/Declaration” or “Direction Re-Issue” function.

How do I add documents or nominate for an Inspection/Treatment post initial lodgement?

There are two separate scenarios that can occur:

  • If your LRN has an “Awaiting Assessment or Awaiting Information” status in COLS, use the “Add Documents” function available in COLS to advise the d epartment of your nominated Inspection/Treatment in the “Additional Information” field.
  • If your LRN has an “Assessment Complete” status in COLS, use the “New Request” function and then choose “Previously Assessed Freight” which is located in the “Urgent” category. This will automatically prioritise your new LRN with the nominated Inspection / Treatment to be added in the “Documentation Request” field.

Why are importer details mandatory only for Dual and Food lodgements?

These types of imported goods are permitted to be delivered to an importer’s premises for inspection, it is important that this information is supplied to the department.

The importer email address is required but my client does not have one. What do I do, as it is a mandatory field that must be completed in order to submit my online lodgement?

If you are unable to obtain your client’s email address you may use your own email address to enable your lodgement to be submitted.

How do I submit my Lot codes?

There are two separate scenarios that you can use:

  • If your LRN has an “Awaiting Assessment or Awaiting Information” status in COLS, use the “Add Documents” function available in COLS and advise the d epartment of the Lot Codes in the “Additional Information” field.
  • If Lot Codes have been requested post-inspection, you will need to email this information to IFIS Inspection Support for assessment to take place.

Lot Codes must be submitted at the initial stage of document assessment. More information can be found on our website under supporting documentation for FIDs referred to the Imported Food Inspection Scheme.

Where do I send my failed food notices?

These notices require to be sent to IFIS - Inspection Support for further actioning by the department.

Where do I submit my “Agreement to Treat” form?

All completed “Agreement to Treat” forms are to be submitted to Treatments.

I already have an LRN for a consignment. Do I use this LRN to attach further documentation that is requested?

There are two separate scenarios that you can use:

  • If your LRN has an “Awaiting Assessment or Awaiting Information” status in COLS, use the “Add Documents” function available in COLS and advise the d epartment of any new information in the “Additional Information” field.
  • If your LRN has an “Assessment Complete” status in COLS, use the “New Request” function and choose “Previously Assessed Freight”, which is located in the “Urgent” category. This will automatically prioritise your new LRN with any new attached documentation that is requested to be added in the “Documentation” s ection.

Once these documents have been assessed in COLS and the consignment has been sent for inspection, treatment, re-export or released, the LRN is reported as completed. If further documentation is required after an inspection has taken place, the LRN used for initial document assessment cannot be used.

What can I request via the Direction Reissue function?

You can only obtain a Direction Reissue using this function.

What do I do if my LRN status is “Assessment Complete” and am yet to receive a direction?

You will need to contact us by using one of the following options:

  • Contact us via COLS using the “Direction Reissue” option to request a reprint request
  • If you are in need of an urgent Direction Reissue, please contact us on 1800 900 090 for an immediate response.

What can I submit via the “Enquiry/Declaration” Option?

The “Enquiry/Declaration” is to be used for questions relating to goods entering Australia. The following selection of options are available:

OptionDescription
Consignment specific enquiryThis selection is to be used when enquiring about a direction received
Location updateThis selection is to be used when needing to make a change of
Inspection or Approved arrangements
Biosecurity Document ProcessingThis selection is to be used for specific questions about importing goods
that are subject to biosecurity control
Imported Food Document
Processing
This selection is to be used for specific questions about importing goods
that are subject to imported food
General Import EnquiryThis selection is to be used for general questions about importing goods and conveyances into Australia

How can I check on the progress of my entry (LRN) via COLS?

You can check the status of the entry via the Check Status function using the LRN:

StatusDescription
Awaiting AssessmentThe lodgement has been placed in the queue and will be claimed by an
assessing officer based upon the lodgement priority
Assessment in ProgressThe lodgement has been assigned to an officer for assessment
Awaiting InformationA direction has been issued to present more documentation, provide more
information or we are awaiting advice from a program area
Assessment CompleteThe document assessment has been completed and the next direction for the
goods has been issued

How can I change my email details for receiving directions from the Department of Agriculture & Water Resources?

It’s important that your email details in AIMS and ICS are correct, in order to receive directions. (It is recommended that a generic email address is used for this purpose):

  • Forms for AIMS E-Notification, Accredited Person, and Approved Agreement change of details can be found at Changing or cancelling an Approved Arrangement
  • The Brokerage email address is retrieved by AIMS from the primary contact record for the branch in ICS. This address cannot be modified by the department and must be maintained by the broker in ICS by contacting the Australian Border Force.

Does COLS exchange information with the Agriculture Import Management System (AIMS)?

At this stage COLS does not communicate with AIMS or any other importing system (i.e. COLS is a standalone system).

However as the department continues to modernise its service delivery, clients will find that they will be able to conduct their business with the department through a consistent and seamless pathway.

What declarations are excluded from COLS?

Manual entries are currently excluded for document assessment in COLS.

The following commodities and communication listed below will need to be specified in the email subject heading and sent to Import Assessment :

  • Carnets – Place “Carnet” in the subject line of the email
  • Military Consignments – Place “Military” in the subject line of the email
  • Personal Effects – Place “Personal Effects” in the subject line of the email
  • Ship Stores – Place “Ship Stores” in the subject line of the email
  • Transshipment Requests – Place “Transshipment” in the subject line of the email
  • Payments (subject to the above commodities) – Place “Payment” in the subject line of the email
  • Imported Food Laboratory nomination forms – Place “Laboratory Nomination” in the subject line of the email
  • Overtime bookings – Place “Overtime” in the subject line of the email

The following commodities and communication listed below will need to be specified in the email subject heading and sent to SACNCC:

  • Perishable or Urgent goods – Place “Urgent” or “Perishable” in the subject line of the email for goods of live animals, airfreight perishables, non-refrigerated perishables, urgent medical supplies and Fumigation Reports
  • Movement Advice for Animal Transport Equipment – Place “Animal Transport Equipment” in the subject line of the email

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