The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries is spending the next couple of months considering whether and how to automate risk assessment of shipping containers.
The analysis is aimed at helping the efficient detection of pests and diseases.
A list of current high-risk factors, such as goods coming from a particular exporter or importer or a particular region of the world affected by disease can be kept in a database.
Cargo manifests can then be automatically scanned against the database, to determine whether it is worthwhile inspecting particular containers.
This intelligence-based risk assessment is likely to involve a minimal extra amount of software development, since it can be “grafted on to” the existing facilities of NZ Customs’ Cusmod system or Australian Customs or MAF systems concerned with the management of goods movement, says MAF spokesman Neil Hyde.
At present, quarantine officers check manually from printed manifests, he says.
A decision depends crucially on a proposed import health standard now out for consultation. That process will take about six weeks, says Hyde.
“And we can start work on the system in the seventh or eighth week, if it’s given approval.”