Shipping from China to Australia

Shipping from China to Australia: The Definitive Guide

Australia is among the top ten largest customers for Chinese exports.

More than 25% of Australia’s imports come from China, a clear indication of a booming trade between these two nations.

This guide should be of interest if you’re seeking an easier way to import goods from China to Australia.

It captures all the fundamental aspects regarding shipping commodities from China to Australia.

Let’s get straight away and discuss all the relevant details herein;

Things You Need to Know Before Shipping from China to Australia

Shipping from China to Australia

Shipping from China to Australia

When shipping to Australia from China, you ought to know a number of elements, which act as guiding principles.

The importance is to facilitate movement and enhance convenience when transporting products between these nations.

Some of the things you need to know to include the following;

  • There are goods, which are either restricted or prohibited by the Australian authorities from entering her borders.

Ideally, Australia has a self-contained eco-system, which it is strict to protect.

Therefore, you must determine the types of goods permitted into this country.

  • If you are importing commodities from China or any other overseas country to Australia, you can never use P.O Boxes or lockers.
  • Always ensure you have all the necessary and accurate shipping documents.

Failure to produce the right documents often leads to unprecedented delays or denial of entry.

Moreover, make sure the value package description matches the details in commercial invoice.

  • Ensure you use a courier service provider that is fully aware of rules and regulations stipulated by the customs authority.

In Australia, it is prohibited to ship some commodities through countries such as Egypt and Bangladesh.

  • Should your cargo fail to clear after 30 days, the Australian Customs is at liberty to destroy it. Therefore, always act swiftly in case you have issues that could delay the clearance process.
  • Always consider the type of packaging materials you use on your products. Some specific packaging materials are never allowed into the country.
  • All imported goods with a value of less than AU$1,000 apply to Goods and Services Tax (GST).
  • GST is charged at the point of sale by the vendor and not necessarily at the border.

Main Products Imported from China to Australia

You can always import a myriad of products from China to Australia.

However, you ought to understand that Australia has stringent safety standards.

Therefore, all the products imported from China must pass through strict standards before permitted to the Australian market.

Here are some of the major products often imported to Australia from China;

  • Footwear
  • Furniture
  • Construction Machinery
  • Electronics
  • Apparel
  • Games
  • Toys
  • Sports equipment
  • Medical equipment
  • Machine spare parts
  • Iron and steel
  • Automobiles
  • Paper products
  • Organic chemicals
  • Shoes
  • Handbags
  • Copper

Technically, there are plenty of other products you can always ship from China to Australia.

However, you must ensure they meet the recommended quality standards.

Shipping Duration from China to Australia

Delivery timescales when shipping from China to Australia often vary depending on a wide variety of elements.

Of course, the choice of an ideal shipping method between ocean and air freight is largely determined by the actual duration.

The precise duration is also dependent on the exact ocean port or airport of origin to that of destination.

For instance, shipping from Guangzhou to Melbourne takes approximately 24 days LCL.

Ningbo to Brisbane takes about 12 days LCL

Tianjin to Sydney takes 21 days LCL

Nansha to Melbourne takes 25 days LCL

Huangpu to Sydney takes 24 days FCL and 27 days LCL

Huangpu to Adelaide is approximately 62 days LCL

Wuhan to Sydney can take about 36 days FCL

Shenzhen to Sydney is 21 days LCL

Shanghai to Sydney takes 27 days FCL and 19 days LCL

Xiamen to Sydney is 36 days LCL

Nonetheless, the duration is between 12-62 days based on the type of container and port-port distance.

Similarly, when using airfreight, the duration is also dependent on the airport of origin and that of destination.

The specific route your preferred courier uses may determine the duration of shipping goods from China to Australia.

But the average duration ranges from 2-8 days based on the mentioned factors.

For instance, from Shanghai Pudong to Adelaide, it takes roughly two days.

On the other hand, it takes about eight days to ship from Beijing to Sydney.

Nevertheless, you need to ensure you inquire from your preferred courier service provider to determine the approximate transit time.

Means of Shipping from China to Australia

Of course, there are only two major ways you can use to ship goods from China to Australia.

However, each mode of shipping, in this case, has its advantages and disadvantages.

It is thus vital to know the most suitable one for your needs before making an ultimate choice.

Ocean Freight from China to Australia

This refers to using container-loaded ocean vessels to transport the goods from one port of origin to another destination port.

Ocean freight takes an average of 2-3 weeks and, in some instances, up to four weeks.

Your consignments are moved between preferred port of origin and arrival by a particular ocean carrier aboard a container ship.

Usually, ocean freight utilizes two types of containers, which include the following;

COSCO to Australia

COSCO to Australia

  • Full Container Load (FCL) – This type of shipping service allows you to transport your shipment without sharing container space with other commodities.

It is an ideal and most cost-effective option to consider for relatively large consignments.

  • Less than Container Load (LCL) – With LCL shipping, your cargo shares container space with goods from other companies.

This is a suitable option for businesses with comparatively smaller shipments to ship from China to Australia.

Here are some of the basis you may use to consider the ideal alternative between FCL and LCL for your shipments.

FCL Consideration

FCL shipping from China to Australia can be an ideal consideration on the following grounds;

  1. Your consignment must be in Australia within a specified date
  2. The seller can load and seal a container, and the recipient can unload it
  3. Your shipment is not suited to share a container with other products
  4. Shipping a freight big enough to fill at least half the capacity of a 20ft container

LCL Consideration

LCL would be a suitable choice for you based on the following aspects;

  1. The cargo is not bigger than six standard pallets
  2. If you hardly have access to facilities to load and seal a container in China
  3. Your cargo can safely be transported on a shared container
  4. The commodities are not needed urgently by the recipient in Australia

Irrespective of the type of shipping container you might consider, it remains a longer process for transporting containers from China to Australia.

The freight forwarder you work with helps you to select the right type of container for your consignment between LCL and FCL.

Airfreight from China to Australia

Loading cargo

Loading cargo

Airfreight is by far the fastest way to transport your consignment from China to Australia.

This method allows you to complete some shipments in about two days.

If speedy delivery of your shipment is a priority compared to cost, then it is an ideal option to consider.

Moreover, airfreight remains a suitable alternative if your consignment contains perishable products that will benefit from a short transit time.

Also, you may consider it when shipping a small shipment, at most three pallets and if the goods are of high value, thus require stringent safety levels.

Nonetheless, it is relatively expensive compared to ocean freight.

Shipping Lines from China to Australia

It is imperative to always find a high-quality shipping service when shipping to Australia.

A reputable shipping company guarantees your cargo safety and timely delivery.

Several companies offer excellent shipping services based on your port of origin and destination.

The common shipping companies you may choose for the services include the following;

  • Century Cruises
  • MISC
  • Marfret
  • OWL
  • Line MSC
  • Hamburg Sud
  • Canmar
  • Hapag Lloyd
  • OWL
  • China Merchants Group
  • COSCO Shipping Development
  • Wallenius Wilhelmsen
  • APL
  • NYK Line
  • Chipolbrok
  • China Merchants Energy
  • China Changjiang National Corporation
  • China Shipping Group

The Best Courier Companies from China to Australia

You may consider the following Courier services companies when sending a parcel or relatively lightweight consignment from China to Australia;

  • DPEX- Express
  • Hong Kong Post E-Express
  • Quantium-General Cargo
  • Aramex
  • Omniparcel
  • UPS Saver
  • DHL

When choosing any of these courier companies, you must figure out other implications such as cost and expected delivery time.

Cost of Shipping from China to Australia

China to Australia

China to Australia

Many factors determine the cost of shipping goods from China to Australia.

For instance, location, mode of shipping, and size of the consignment are the main determinants of the actual shipping costs.

Moreover, the type of container you are using, whether parcel, LCL, or FCL, also influences the overall shipping costs.

Technically, your shipping quote from China to Australia will take into account the following aspects;

  • Type of products you are shipping
  • Volume, weight, and dimensions of the consignment
  • Preferred delivery method, i.e., door to door, port to port, port to door or door to port, etc.
  • Choice of ocean or airfreight

Here’s a breakdown of the cost of shipping from China to Australia based on the mode of shipping

Cost of Sea Freight from China to Australia

Offloading Cargo

Offloading cargo

Sea freight is arguably the cheapest means of transporting goods from China to Australia.

It is also cost-effective since you can always use it to ship different reasonably bulky consignments.

The actual shipping rates vary from one company to another.

Also, the specific port of origin and port of destination determines the actual shipping rates between these two nations.

In most cases, you can always use a shipping calculator provided by the shipping company to determine the actual cost based on several aspects.

On average, though, the cost of shipping a 20ft container is approximately $1700.

A 40ft container, on the other hand, would cost roughly $2,200.

According to Australia Trade, the cost of renting a container is between AU$ 150-250 per cubic meter or 1,000 kilograms, whichever is greater.

However, the table below shows average shipping rates for door to door shipments from selected ports for a load of 200kg/1 cbm.

Shipping from ShanghaiShipping from NingboShipping from Shenzhen
Shipping to Sydney$ 705$ 705$ 755
Shipping to Melbourne$ 707$ 707$ 757
Shipping to Brisbane$ 725$ 725$ 775

Cost of Air Freight from China to Australia

Air port in Australia

Airport in Australia

Shipping goods from China to Australia via cargo planes is relatively expensive compared to sea freight.

Often, kilogram is the unit calculation for air freight.

Most airlines have a standard for determining the actual and dimensional weight depending on the largest value.

You can calculate the weight of air freight in two major ways;

  • Charging according to the cargo weight
  • Charging based on the dimensional weight

The volume of the cargo is then divided by 6000 to determine its weight.

For instance; dimensional weight for a consignment covering 100cm by 100cm by 100cm weighing 20kgs would be;

(100 x 100 x 100) cm/6000 = 167 kg.

In essence, the dimensional weight of the shipment is heavier than actual weight.

Therefore, the airline will charge you for 167kgs.

However, the actual cost per kilogram is dependent on the specific international transport and Logistics Company of your choice.

Different freight carriers such as DHL, FedEx, UPS, and USPS among others, offer varied rates for shipping consignments.

In most instances, the carriers always charge airfreight costs based on a greater number between actual and dimensional weight.

The trick is always to pack your consignment skillfully and minimizing the volume to save a considerable amount of money.

Moreover, you also need to work with an experienced freight forwarder such as Bansar.

It allows you to come up with better solutions for shipping from China to Australia at cost-effective rates.

Cost of Express Shipping from China to Australia

Being the fastest and easiest mode of transporting goods from China to Australia makes it the most expensive than sea and airfreight.

Unlike air freight, express shipping cost is calculated by dividing the volume of the consignment by 5000.

For instance, a cargo with package measuring 50cm by 50cm by 50cm and actual weight of 10kg; the dimensional weight shall be;

(50 x 50 x 50) cm / 5000 = 25kgs.

The service providers will always work with the greater weight between actual and dimensional weight.

Also, express shipping rates from China to Australia vary depending on particular courier service providers.

Express shipping companies

EXpresshsipping companies

Factors Affecting Shipping Cost from China to Australia

Cost of shipping is a fundamental aspect when transporting goods from China to Australia.

As a reseller, it is always important to figure out the cost and determine the best ways of finding cost-effective shipping techniques.

Numerous factors affect the actual cost of shipping goods between these two countries.

However, the most notable ones include the following;

The Cost of Buying the Product.

Product cost is a vital element, which affects shipping costs directly.

In Australia, if you’re importing goods worth at least AUD$ 1000, you will have to take care of import duty and GST on them.

Additionally, insurance charges for high-value products is normally costly.

Eventually, you’ll have to incur extra charges, which may end up eating into your profits.

Therefore, you need to determine all these factors to enable you to negotiate with your respective manufacturer accordingly.

Shipping, Logistics, and Distribution Costs

International shipping is quite broad; hence factors in a number of logistics and distribution costs.

For instance, you must always consider the inland transportation costs for transporting the manufacturer’s consignment to the port of origin.

Similarly, the cost of transporting the goods from port of destination to your warehouse, office, or residence is a factor to consider.

In some cases, warehousing charges also come to play, especially where you store the consignment for a certain period due to varied reasons.

Importantly, you also need to factor in the costs surrounding distribution of the products to retailers.

Technically, all these costs affect the overall shipping cost when importing goods from China to Australia.

Therefore, it would be ideal to consider a suitable incoterm guaranteeing cost-effectiveness in the entire process.

Tariffs and Duties due to China on Export and Australia on Import

Ideally, different products are categorized into various tariffs.

It thus means you’ll pay different rates depending on the specific tariff a particular product falls into.

Importantly, you need to find other aspects of the products such as free trade agreements, excise duty, etc.

Also, you may want to know whether the goods are exempted from duties.

Ultimately, it may affect the overall cost you’ll incur when shipping the consignment between these two nations.

Taxes and tariffs on your Imported Goods

Australian customs authority is strict as far as payable taxes and duties for imported products are concerned.

Calculation of customs import duty is often as a percentage of price you pay for the products.

The rate may range from 0-10%, but in most instances, 5% is the common rate for several goods.

Additionally, the customs will charge you about AUD 200 as import entry costs and processing charges.

Goods and Service Tax (GST) is also charged based on the following aspects;

  • Goods valuation
  • Amount of customs import duty
  • Insurance and transportation of the goods

Typically, GST is charged at a rate of 10% of the final amount.

Cost of Container when Importing from China to Australia

The cost of shipping container varies majorly based on the size.

Types of shipping container

Types of shipping container

Shipping containers come in two sizes; 20ft and 40ft.

Cost of a 20ft container is approximately AUD 2,200.

For a 40ft container, you’ll pay about AUD 2,900.

However, there is also an option of renting the container, which is a more cost-effective approach, especially for frequent buyers.

Essentially, the cost of renting a 20ft container is about AUD 150 per cubic meter or 1,000 kilograms.

On the other hand, the cost of renting a 40ft container is approximately AUD 250 per cubic meter or 1,000 kilograms.

These are mere approximates, which tend to change often depending on prevailing factors such as demand.

How to Pay for Shipping Costs when Dealing with China-based Freight Forwarder

When dealing with a Chinese-based freight forwarder, you can always use several options to pay for the shipping costs.

Importantly, you need to choose a suitable option, which fits your needs accordingly.

The essential freight payment methods you can use are as follows;

Cash against Goods

This refers to a check describing a specific transaction and what’s need to be paid.

Like any other forms of payment, cash against goods is also governed by a bill of exchange.

In this case, the freight forwarder relinquishes all control over goods whenever they’re shipped.

To protect the freight-forwarder, your bank guarantees shipment by accepting to pay for products outlined by bill of exchange.

Technically, your bank becomes liable to the freight forwarder upon receipt of the consignment.

Cash Against Documents

Virtually identical to the cash against goods, this method also hinges on the bill of exchange.

In this mode of payment, the freight forwarder gives your bank’s control.

Essentially, your bank is allowed to release the consignment and related documents only after receiving payment.

In other words, the freight forwarder ships the consignment to you in Australia.

You then pay your bank then the bank pays the freight forwarder.

Cash in Advance

It is arguably the simplest transaction method you can use to pay a Chinese-based freight forwarder for shipping goods to Australia.

Technically, you pay the freight forwarder in advance, way before the shipment is transported to your destination.

However, this type of arrangement is dependent on your relationship with the Chinese-based freight forwarder.

Letter of Credit

This method allows your bank to guarantee payment of freight costs on your behalf.

The bank only releases the payment once you receive the consignment facilitated by your freight forwarder.

However, letters of credit are usually detailed and largely depend on a bill of lading.

How to Select Cheapest and Fastest Way of Shipping from China to Australia

When shipping goods from China to Australia, vital factors to consider include, cost, convenience, safety, and transit time.

Therefore, you must base your choice on such factors to ensure you find the most appropriate one for your needs.

Some of the options you may want to go for include the following;

FCL Ocean Freight from China to Australia

FCL ocean freight is an ideal option when you’re shipping goods large enough to fit at least one container.

As such, calculation of the freight is based on FCL.

It is a relatively fast, convenient, and safe ocean freight method when shipping from China to Australia.

In FCL, the supplier loads and seals the consignment and is shipped to your final destination.

Notably, when FCL shipment arrives at your preferred port in Australia, it can only be delivered by truck since it is large.

LCL Ocean Freight from China to Australia

LCL ocean freight is a suitable choice if you’re shipping goods of a small volume of less than 15CBM.

Essentially, it entails combining your cargo with other shipping consignments for the same direction.

It is an ideal freight option to consider if you are shipping smaller cargo, which cannot necessarily make FCL a viable option.

Since LCL cargo is relatively small in volume, they are always delivered to your destination using trucks or express companies.

In LCL, a cubic meter (CBM) is used as the measurement unit for calculating freight cost.

Express Shipping from China to Australia

It is the fastest, easiest, safest, and most convenient shipping method for shipping goods from China to Australia.

Choosing this option means you won’t worry about customs clearance and duty payment.

Additionally, you’ll track your consignment easily at any time hence planning appropriately.

However, the unit price for this option is usually high compared to LCL and FCL ocean freight.

Therefore, it would be a suitable choice if your consignment contains fragile goods.

You can also consider it if you are shipping perishable products or when in urgent need of the goods.

Cheapest Time for Shipping from China to Australia

Freight rates, especially FCL sea freight and air freight rates, are affected by seasonal factors.

When shipping from China to Australia, remember to consider peak seasons in both China and Australia.

Some of the major peak seasons between these two countries include the following;

Chinese New Year

It is arguably the most celebrated season in a typical Chinese calendar.

Commonly known as CNY, it entails celebrating beginning of New Year on Chinese calendar.

This festive season often runs for at least 15 days, thus making many importers to rush and ship their consignments before the holiday begins.

At this time, the shipping cost is comparatively high due to the rush hence would be best to avoid it when interested in cutting shipping costs.

Chinese New Year often begins in the second week of February every year.

Golden Week

In China, Golden week refers to a collection of three national holidays celebrated jointly within 7-8 days.

It is always important to calendarize this event since most operations are usually halted to allow the celebrations.

Therefore, most importers tend to rush to beat the deadline before the holiday begins hence inflating the shipping rates.

Dragon Boat Festival

This is a traditional holiday normally celebrated on the 5th day of the traditional 5th Chinese month.

Essentially, this holiday serves as a commemoration of the life and death of a famous Chinese scholar known as Qu Yuan.

As such, it would affect shipping operations and somewhat raise the freight cost in a bid to beat the date.

Therefore, you can always plan early to ensure you ship your cargo earlier than the actual day to avoid incurring additional costs.

Holiday Shopping Season

For the longest time, China has been an ideal holiday shopping destination for many international customers.

Christmas, Singles day, Double Twelve, and 618 shopping festivals are among the popular holiday shopping seasons in China.

Ideally, it means the traffic is usually high, thus creating more demand for shippers.

Often, this increases freight cost, which can be disadvantageous, especially if you’re shipping large volume consignment.

Generally, to obtain the best freight rates when shipping from China to Australia, always ensure you observe all the major holidays.

It will enable you to plan accordingly to avoid the inevitable rush and get cost-effective rates.

How Incoterms Affect Shipping Prices from China to Australia

Essentially, incoterms refer to “how far” the supplier shall ship the consignment.

It translates to the amount you give the supplier for shipping.

The specific incoterm you choose determines how far you’d wish the Chinese supplier to ship your cargo.

Ordinarily, any Chinese supplier will quote a price based on the incoterm.

Without incoterm, you wouldn’t compare prices between different suppliers.

In a nutshell, determining the overall pricing for shipping cargo from China to Australia is largely dependent on the selected incoterm.

The Best Incoterm When Shipping from China to Australia

Choosing the best incoterm when shipping from China to Australia is dependent on a wide range of factors.

Ideally, the best incoterm would always be one that takes the shipment as far as possible.

incoterms 2020

Incoterms 2020

However, for natural reasons, Delivered at Place (DAP) would be the ideal incoterm, especially for an inexperienced importer.

Under DAP terms, your supplier is responsible for delivering the goods from factory floor to your specified location.

DAP also includes inland freight to a specified address, be it your home, warehouse, or office.

The best would be to order from your supplier according to FOB terms and DAP shipment from your freight forwarder.

It simplifies the process, and at the same time enhancing maximum cost control and transparency.

For an experienced importer, EXW would be the best incoterm, particularly if you have a broad network in the industry.

EXW only gives you the quote for purchasing the commodities at the factory price.

You will arrange for picking, inland transport, sea freight charges, port discharge charges, and export clearance.

And this is vital since you can easily negotiate the shipping costs through your freight forwarder and getting a better deal.

Taxes and Customs Duties When Importing from China to Australia

Taxes and Customs duties are imperative components in international shipping.

When you are importing from China, your goods are never subjected to any export tax.

You only need to ensure that all aspects and paperwork surrounding the goods are in place to facilitate a faster export clearance process.

However, when the goods arrive in Australia, they are subjected to import tax depending on a wide range of prevailing factors.

Majority of commodities imported to Australia are subject to customs duties and an additional 10% GTS.

Ideally, Australian taxation system is quite broad, and at times complex duty rates apply depending on the imported goods.

However, if you import goods under AUD 1000, you’re required to submit a Self-Assessed Clearance (SAC) declaration.

This allows the Australian Customs and Border Protection to clear the goods without imposing customs duties.

Your customs broker or freight forwarder can make the SAC declaration form on your behalf on a service-based fee.

If you’re importing goods of a value over AUD 1000, you’ll have to complete and submit an import declaration form (Form B650).

Form B650 represents a statement and is often made by the importer, freight forwarder, or customs broker.

This is irrespective of the mode of shipping you use to import the products, be it sea, air, or post.

Besides the import declaration form, you’ll also pay duties, GTS, and additional taxes, which may apply.

How Customs Procedure Works When Shipping from China to Australia

Australia Border Force

Australia boarder force

Ideally, customs procedure in Australia is quite straightforward.

Here are the core elements, which the process involves once the consignment arrives at the respective air or seaport;

  1. If the value of goods is more than AUD 1000, the first step is filling and submitting an import declaration form.

You can do this over the internet or the Integrated Cargo System (ICS).

  1. Once the goods are cleared, pay the GST
  2. Customs carry out EOI check to authenticate your identity
  3. For goods with a lower value than AUD 1000, submit a duly filled Self-Assessment Clearance (SAC)
  4. Submit the EOI to register as a client on the ICS platform. Ensure you use a B319 form, but only if you do not have ABN or Customs Client Identification (CCID).
  5. Submit all the required paperwork such as commercial invoice, packing list, Bill of Lading, etc.
  6. The goods undergo a thorough examination by the Customs and Border Protection Authorities. Essentially, this is to ensure the products do not fall under prohibited and restricted list.
  7. It also helps to detect smuggled goods, protect legitimate industry from non-compliant importers and enhance Australian sea cargo trade.
  8. Pay duty tax and additional requirements
  9. Take delivery of your consignment

Mode of Payment of Taxes and Customs Duties if Importing from China to Australia

Ordinarily, taxes and customs duties can be paid through the following modes;

  • Credit/Debit card
  • Wire transfer
  • Cheques

How to Calculate Goods and Services Tax (GST) to Pay when Importing Goods from China to Australia

In Australia, Goods and Services Tax (GST) is 10% nationwide.

It implies to find GST of a product; you technically have to find the 10% of its value.

The product value is equal to the sum of goods, duty payable, insurance, or any transport charges for the consignment.

To calculate the GST on imported items, you’ll add goods’ value in Australian dollars, import duty, freight, and insurances.

Therefore, the 10% GST is calculated based on the total of all these aspects.

Shipping Documentations Needed to Import from China to Australia

When shipping from China to Australia, relevant documents are necessary since they play a great role in facilitating customs clearance process.

Shipping documentations are quite a number, and the actual ones needed often depend on the specific products you’re shipping.

Nevertheless, here are the most important documents you must always submit when importing products from China to Australia;

Import documents

Import documents

Bill of Lading

It is considered an essential document often issued by a freight forwarder.

Bill of Lading merely testifies the receipt of cargo by the specific shipping company.

This receipt comes with a unique number for tracking the consignment online.

Some of the details in the Bill of Lading include the following;

  • Shipper
  • Consigner
  • Consignee
  • Type of product
  • Vessel No.
  • Container(s) No.
  • Goods description
  • Notify Party
  • Incoterm
  • Consignment Dimension/Volume
  • Net Weight
  • Port of loading
  • Place of delivery

Commercial Invoice

This is a document stating shipment’s custom value and is used for calculating import tax, GST, and other payable import duties in Australia.

It acts as proof of sales transactions between the seller and buyer.

Commercial invoice contains relevant information regarding the consignment, such as the following;

  • Consignee (The Importer)
  • Quantity of goods
  • Unit price
  • Total Value
  • HS Code
  • Product description

Primarily, this document acts as a freight forwarders tracking tool when the consignment is in transit.

Packing List

It is more or less similar to the commercial invoice only that packing list provides extra information regarding the shipment.

The essence of this document is to let the relevant agencies, authorities, and customers know the contents of the consignment.

In essence, the packing list details enable all the concerned parties to handle the package accordingly.

Letter of Credit

This refers to a formal agreement legally binding seller and buyer in an international trade transaction.

It is a payment mechanism, which provides an economic guarantee from a fiscal-worthy bank to an exporter of products.

Letter of Credit spells out financial and other related responsibilities between the seller and buyer.

Certificate of Origin

Certificate of Origin is an official document issued by the government to authenticate traded products were manufactured or purchased in a specific country.

Australia, like some countries, give preferential treatments to some nations, which might lead to exemption of import duties.

Some of the critical information included in the certificate of origin are;

  • Consignee (The Importer)
  • Exporter/Manufacturer/Supplier
  • Mode and route of transportation
  • Product description
  • Quantity

Import License

In Australia, certain products are restricted.

An import license is thus required as one way of protecting local manufacturers of the same products.

Therefore, for an importer to bring such commodities to the country, they must obtain authorization from the government in form of an import license.

This document provides financial and commercial details regarding the products and import process.

However, it also includes the following information;

  • Consignee (The Importer)
  • Consigner (The Exporter)
  • Country of Origin
  • Tax classification and taxation type
  • Gross and Net weight and quantity
  • Total value
  • Incoterm
  • Mode of Payment
  • Detailed description of products

Freight Insurance

It is a document showing the shipment is covered from any risk of damage or loss while in transit.

All consignments in international shipping require insurance cover.

Freight insurance may be provided by the carrier or owner of the cargo.

Test Report

This shipping document proves the consignment in transit meets all the compliance requirements in line with government regulations.

It is a mandatory document for particular items such as machinery and electronics among others.

Important Australian Product Safety Standards When Shipping from China to Australia

Notably, all consumer products you import from China to Australia must meet stipulated Australian Consumer Law regulations.

Additionally, the imported products must conform to the applicable mandatory standards before putting them up for sale.

One vital Australian product safety standard is AS/NZS.

The guidelines of this standard are applied in both Australia and New Zealand.

Ideally, AZ/NZS is applied to safety of a wide range of goods.

These standards make technical stipulations cutting across performance, safety, and testing quality.

Importantly, you need to understand the applicable AS/NZS standards for your respective products.

Another essential product safety standard in Australia is HB 76.

This standard provides minimum requirements dangerous products should meet before permitted into the country.

Australian authorities also adopt a wide range of international and regional product safety standards.

Some of these standards include; ISO, IEC, ITU, CE, and EN standards among others.

How to get Freight Insurance When Shipping from China to Australia

Cargo Insurance

Cargo Insurance

Obtaining an insurance cover for your shipment is somewhat mandatory when shipping from China to Australia.

However, it is also imperative to know the ideal ways to get insurance cover for your freight.

An insurance broker through the company is responsible for issuing the cover and issuing the insurance certificate.

But the value payable is dependent on the cost of the consignment.

Typically, the insurance broker must assess the various aspects surrounding the shipment to determine the actual value for the cover.

In some instances, they’ll use the commercial invoice and packing list to figure out the exact value for the cover.

Period for getting insurance cover depends on the nature of goods you are transporting and the specific insurance company you’re dealing with.

Some issue the cover within 24 hours, whereas others may take up to two days.

There are other situations where the carrier provides the insurance cover for the consignment.

Essentially, they’ll protect your cargo from loss or damage by taking responsibility if such occurrences arise.

How to File Freight Insurance Claim When Importing from China to Australia

Freight insurance claim refers to a legal mechanism for demanding compensation in case a carrier contravenes contractual terms.

Mostly, this happens when the carrier damages products or the goods get lost during transit.

When such incidents arise, you need to use the right instruments to get compensation accordingly.

Primarily, freight claim involves four steps, which involve the following;

Identification of the Products

It involves getting the appropriate information as much as possible about the lost or damaged goods.

As a claimant, this is your responsibility after, which the carrier identifies the goods.

In essence, this allows the carrier to institute an investigation.


The forwarder or carrier’s representative evaluates the claim and verifies loss or damage of the goods as claimed.

It involves establishing the nature of loss of freight damage.


It involves working with the shipper to evaluate and determine the value of damages or loss.

Payment Request

Once the valuation is done and value determined, a payment request is submitted to the carrier to act accordingly.

When filing a freight claim, you must submit additional supporting documentation where applicable.

Some of these documents include;

  • Original Bill of Lading
  • Freight bill
  • Commercial invoice
  • Packing list
  • Inspection request documents
  • Notification of damage/loss
  • Waiver of inspection by carrier

You may also file a bond of indemnity with the freight claim.

The essence is to indemnify the carrier for any loss it is likely to suffer due to improperly handling and paying the claim.

It is also imperative to number every claim and record it in a claim system.

In case the carrier denies liability for damage or loss, you can institute a lawsuit against them.

Nevertheless, ensure you institute such a lawsuit within strict timelines.

Shipping from China to Amazon FBA Store in Australia

You can use two ways to ship goods from China to Amazon stores in Australia, including Sea and Airfreight.

Sea Freight

The consignment gets to FBA warehouse in Australia within 25-30 days.

It is relatively cheap but slower than air freight.

However, the China-Australia route utilizes sea freight depending on shipment situation.

Cargo is loaded in Guangzhou or Shenzhen, and delivery is completed in Australia.

Carrier handles customs clearance, pays customs duty; thus, all you need is to wait for cargo delivery to FBA warehouse in Australia.

Shipping from China to Amazon FBA store in Australia mostly uses LCL shipment.

Air Freight

Shipment reaches FBA store in Australia from China via air freight within 10-12 days.

The cost is relatively moderate, and the speed is reasonably fast.

China-Australia route uses air freight based on consignment situation.

Similar to sea freight, the carrier will take care of customs clearance and pay customs duty and taxes.

When shipping goods from China to FBA warehouse in Australia, you must adhere to specific requirements surrounding cargo, outer carton, and pallets.

For instance, all types of products are accepted as long as they are not restricted or prohibited by the Australian authorities.

You must also declare the goods accordingly, failure to which you can be charged a high fine.

Each item must also contain a unique FNSKU label.

If you’re using a carton, it must be new and sturdy and should never contain an unrelated logo or information to the goods.

Every outer carton must attach two Amazon shipment labels. One in front and another one at the back.

On each package, it is also recommended that all items you’re shipping be printed “Made in China” label or sticker.

Additionally, you must present a commercial invoice and packing list for the consignment.

Import license is also a necessary requirement and any other relevant authorization for special products.

In case a product has customs clearance issues, ensure you provide the document as the customs dictates.

Never declare low value since the customs will detain the goods until you pay the necessary fee, storage charges, and applicable fines.

You can also purchase insurance cover for your shipment.

Many partners in this business provide these services at different rates depending on the nature of goods.

Factors to Consider When Contracting Freight Forwarder from China to Australia

Here are the critical elements you must look into when seeking services of a freight forwarder for China to Australia shipping;


A freight forwarder that has been shipping from China to Australia stands a better chance to offer ideal services than an amateur company.

Assess the records to ascertain the company you’re choosing is well-established and has been offering quality services over the years.

Expertise of the Company

Different freight forwarding companies have specialties in particular products or items.

Always go for a company with relevant expertise in handling your goods.

It makes your work efficient, convenient and enhances safety of the products accordingly.

Cost of Shipping

Generally, international shipping costs are always high since it is based on a wide range of prevailing factors.

Ensure you understand how shipping fees and taxes of the company work before seeking their services.

Choose an affordable freight forwarder and at the same time transparent with their pricing model.

Nonetheless, you should never let the cost of shipping to be the only or main determinant of your choice.

Quality of Services and Time Delivery

Quality of service a particular freight forwarder offers is a fundamental aspect you must consider when choosing one.

A quick way of determining this is by checking online reviews on its website to verify if they offer high-quality services.

Moreover, you can also consider getting referrals from friends and business partners.

Technology for Tracking Your Cargo

Nowadays, it is easy to track the status of your cargo thanks to ever-advancing technology.

However, you need to ensure the company you are hiring has satellite tracking tools at its disposal.

In essence, this gives you some peace of mind knowing your consignment is safe throughout the transit process.

Shipping Policies

You must, first of all, understand the specific terms and conditions of a freight forwarding company before committing to the deal.

If you have some reservations regarding the policies, address them as early as possible and agree regarding costs and safety policies.


Always go for a company offering priority shipment services.

However, make sure you check monthly capacity of the company to ensure it can guarantee reliability without compromising quality and safety.

Shipping Ports in China

Seaport and Airports are the only channels used for shipping goods from China to Australia.

Let’s look at some of the major shipping ports in China you can use for importing products to Australia.

Yangshan Port

Yangshan Port

Main Sea Ports in China

Notably, China has over 34 major shipping ports and over 2,000 small ports.

And this is essential since it facilitates movement of products from one port to another around the world.

Some of the common ports often used for facilitating shipments from China to Australia include the following;

a) Port of Shanghai

Arguably, the busiest container port not only in China but also in the world.

This makes it a major channel for businesses seeking to export goods from China to Australia.

Additionally, it is has a superb connection by roads and railroads to the major surrounding towns and cities.

b) Port of Qingdao

Regarded as a magnet for container vessels and serves over 700 locations around the world.

If you are purchasing goods from Shandong Province, this is the best port of origin you’re likely to consider.

c) Ningbo-Zhoushan

Located at the coast of East China, it is easily accessible from Zhejiang Province.

It contains seven container terminals making it an ideal choice for faster processing of goods for exporting to Australia.

Ningbo-Zhoushan is the fifth largest export hinterland in China.

d) Shekou

It offers an ideal option for the nearby busier and bigger Port of Shenzhen.

Located in Guangdong Province, Shekou Port offers a sole container terminal processes products for exports to Australia.

e) Port of Xiamen

If your supplier is in Fujian Province, this would be the ideal seaport to use for shipping your products to Australia.

This port stretches to around 30km along the coastline and has nine container freight terminals processing over 10 million TEUs annually.

f) Port of Shenzhen

It is located in Guangdong Province and links Southern Chinese hinterland to the rest of the world.

This port spreads out to a stretch of over 260km along the city’s coastline.

Port of Shenzhen is equally busy and handles close to 600 ships annually, and serves over 130 nations.

g) Port of Guangzhou

Located at the edge of Guangdong Province’s Pearl River, thus serving nearby provinces such as Sichuan, Jiangxi, Yunnan, and Guangxi.

If you’re importing agricultural, industrial, and manufactured products from the larger Pearl Delta River, this is arguably the best seaport to use.

Other ports you may also use when importing from China to Australia depending on the goods include;

  • Port of Wuhan
  • Port of Shantou
  • Pot of Wuhu
  • Port of Tianjin
  • Port of Zhuhai
  • Port of Qinzhou
  • Port of Lianyungang

Main Airports in China

Airports in China

Airports in China

China also has several airports often used for shipping goods from different Chinese cities to various Australian airports.

Some of these airports include the following;

i. Shanghai Pudong

Located in Pudong area, Shanghai, it is regarded among the top world’s busiest freight airports.

It has direct routes to different major cities in the world, including Australian destinations.

Shanghai Pudong International Airport has an outstanding transport network.

This makes it a prime business destination for imports from China to Australia.

ii. Beijing Capital International Airport

Unquestionably, the busiest Chinese freight airport is located approximately 25km northeast of Beijing.

It is centrally located to serve various cities surrounding it, making it easy to move cargo from a Chinese supplier to Australia.

iii. Guangzhou Baiyun

Regarded among the top busiest cargo airports in China, this airport is centrally located, making it popular among many manufacturers and suppliers.

iv. Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport

Situated on the East bank of Pearl River, serving the larger Shenzhen Province.

In case your supply chain needs speedy shipping to Australia through the areas around Pearl River Delta, this airport provides best option.

v. Chongqing

Located less than 20km from Chongqing City, it features three terminals with the fourth one underway.

If you are dealing with manufacturers or suppliers from Yubei district, you may consider this facility an ideal airport of origin.

Other equally busy freight airports you may consider when shipping goods from China to Australia include;

  • Chengdu Shuangliu
  • Kunming Changshui
  • Hangzhou Xiaoshan
  • Zhengzhou Xinzheng
  • Wuhan Tianhe
  • Shenyang Taoxian
  • Tianjin Binhai

Shipping Ports in Australia

Sea ports in Australia

Sea ports in Australia

The only ways you can use to ship products to Australia are through sea and airports.

Like China, Australia also has several major and minor sea and airports used for imports and exports from different parts of the world.

Soe of the ports include:

a) Port of Brisbane

Located on the East Coast of Queensland, Port of Brisbane features nine deep-water container berths.

For easy access to other destinations, this port is linked to Gateway Motorway.

b) Port of Sydney

More than one-third of Australian containerized shipment is processed here annually.

Port of Sydney features new automated container handling facilities at Port Botany hence boosting this port’s annual cargo throughput.

c) Port of Melbourne

Located at the edge of River Yarra, this port is upgraded to handle larger container vessels than before.

It features automated container terminal handling system, which facilitates faster processing of imports from different parts of the world.

d) Port of Adelaide

Situated approximately 14 kilometers northwest of Central Adelaide, it features a 510-meter quay entirely for container vessels.

This terminal occupies 23 hectares and has a warehouse covering about 3,000 square meters.

Port of Adelaide also has strong road and railway networks linking it directly to other parts of the country.

e) Port of Perth

Also known as Port of Fremantle, it is arguably Western Australia’s busiest seaport.

It is located in Perth Metropolitan region with an inner harbor dedicated to handling most international containerized freight.

Main Airports in Australia

Airports in Australia

Airports in Australia

I. Brisbane Airport

This airport serves the entire Brisbane city and others in Southeast Queensland.

It covers an approximate area of about 82,000 square meters and has seen a 6% growth in air freight volumes in the last two years.

II. Sydney Airport

This infrastructure features seven cargo terminals and located about eight kilometers south of Sydney city.

Approximately 45% of Australia’s air cargo traffic goes through this airport.

III. Adelaide Airport

Ranked as the 5th busiest cargo airport in Australia, it is located about six kilometers west of Adelaide’s central business district.

It serves direct flights from Guangzhou, but those from other Chinese airports are redirected to this airport.

IV. Perth Airport

Perth is Australia’s 4th busiest airport located about 10km west of Perth City.

It features a two-runway serving direct cargo flights from Guangzhou in China.

V. Melbourne Airport

This is the 2nd busiest Australian cargo airport in terms of annual volumetric tonnage after Sydney Airport.

At times known as Tullamarine Airport, it is located about 23km northwest of Melbourne City.

It features five parking positions for freight aircraft and two intersecting runways.

How to Source for Goods from China to Australia

China has thousands of manufacturers producing a wide range of products.

The first step in product sourcing from China is identifying the actual item you are looking for.

Once you identify the product, you’ll need to determine the right supplier or manufacturer for the same.

Now you can filter your options and ensure you deal with a credible supplier or manufacturer.

Here are some ways you can use to source goods when importing from China to Australia;

Through Business to Business Websites

China has some of the popular e-commerce websites offering thousands of products from numerous suppliers and manufacturers.

Reputable suppliers and manufacturers have trading accounts on these platforms, making it easy to source products remotely.

Some credible B2B websites you can use to obtain products when importing to Australia include;

  • Alibaba
  • AliExpress
  • Made in China dot com
  • Global sources
  • com

While searching for products from such platforms, ensure you deal with verified suppliers only.

Above all, you must be diligent enough to avoid scams and cons on these websites.

Through Sourcing Agents

Alternatively, you can hire a Chinese-based sourcing company to help out with the entire process.

Local sourcing agents are the best bet since they can easily discover a suitable manufacturer that meets your demands.

They also know ways of determining legitimacy of the manufacturer from a local perspective.

Moreover, working with such a company is quite valuable given it saves your time, money and enhance convenience.

Through Trade Fairs

Attending trade events is an ideal way of meeting credible manufacturers to source products from.

At the moment, Chinese manufacturers tend to seize every chance they can to attend such exhibition events.

You can spend a few days to meet reasonable suppliers, establish a good rapport, and exchange contacts.

Factory Visit

If you can spare some days in your schedule factory visit can be one of the best ways to source products from China.

But you need to know the specific manufacturers or suppliers’ stores to make the entire process easy and convenient.

Ways of Keeping down Time and Costs of Shipping from China to Australia Down

  • Book in Advance. Shipping by sea is the cheapest, but it also takes the longest. Booking in advance when you can save you money– and cuts out the stress if delays arise.
  • Ship off-peak. When carriers get busy, both shipping prices and transit times go up. Ship during off-peak seasons whenever you can.
  • Get your documentation in order. Having your documentation in order can make all the difference when it comes to clearing customs quickly.
  • Know your HS Codes. A lot of shippers are surprised by how much customs fees can affect business costs. Do your research so you can budget effectively.
  • Compare quotes from different providers. Quotes can vary, so check out offers from different providers before making a decision.
  • Understand what’s included in your quote. Is your quote port to port or door to door? What service does it include? Know what you’re paying for to avoid getting hit with surprise fees.

Labeling Requirements when Importing Goods from China to Australia

Labeling Goods

Labelling goods

You must always ensure products you are importing from China to Australia are well packaged and properly labelled.

As an Australian importer, you must be conversant with numerous types of labeling requirements.

Technically, different products have various sets of labelling requirements.

Therefore, you must be aware of the applicable labeling relevant to your particular products.

Here are some of these requirements;

  • Country of Origin – This is necessary if you import goods and foods, which require a “trade description.”
  • Ingredients labeling is mandatory for cosmetics, beauty, and related products.
  • Apparels and textiles must have care labelling
  • Specific products must AS/NZL standard labelling requirements
  • RCM Mark

Importantly, you should never assume the supplier knows the applicable labeling requirements for your products.

In other words, always make your appropriate labeling requirements available to them.

Regulated Products in Australia

Different categories of products imported from China to Australia must conform to a set of mandatory product standards.

Here is a list of some of the regulated goods you can import to Australia;

  • Toys
  • Weapons
  • Health & Cosmetics
  • Gas & electrical appliances
  • Clothing and accessories
  • Household chemicals
  • Vehicles & accessories
  • Tobacco and smoking-related accessories
  • Sports & recreation accessories
  • Animals and agricultural products
  • Food and groceries
  • Novelties
  • Fire and flammables
  • Bicycles
  • Spas, swimming and pool accessories
  • Boats and marine equipment
  • Hardware and building materials

Challenges and Risks When Shipping from China to Australia

Importing from China to Australia involves several risks, which you must be aware of.

Here are some of the risks and challenges you’re likely to face in the whole process;

Language Barrier

Communication breakdown is expected since only a few Chinese can speak or understand foreign languages like English

Perhaps you may consider hiring a translator, especially if you are visiting the stores in person.

Supplier Scams

Always conduct thorough background research and due diligence to ensure you’re dealing with a credible supplier or manufacturer.

Quality Issue

In China, you can find different product qualities based on your demands.

Always ensure you avoid sourcing substandard products at all costs since it can jeopardize your market-space.

High Cost

Highly-priced products do not necessarily mean they are of great quality.

Of course, it takes time to get a suitable manufacturer to produce your goods at affordable rates.

However, you can use services of an agency with established connections to help you in getting right deal.


Chinese and Australian business environments are completely different.

Chinese manufacturers take relationships and partnerships seriously.

Traveling to China to meet at a personal level with manufacturers if you have time is vital since it fosters business relationships.

It is essential since it allows you to stay on profitable side as a buyer.


In China, trademarks and patents are not necessarily taken seriously.

It is easy for third parties to pirate your product without any legal implication.

Therefore, you need to ensure you work with trusted manufacturers to prevent other parties from pirating your product.

Now we would like to hear from you.

What has been your experience when shipping from China to Australia.

At BanSar, we will help you reduce the cost of shipping from China to Australia.

We try to make the shipping process simple and easy for everyone.

Contact us now for all your freight forwarding services from China to Australia.

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