Shipping from USA to Australia

Shipping from USA to Australia: The Complete Guide

If you’re shipping from the USA to Australia, then read this guide.

It will help you understand all the vital aspects in this business such as ocean freight, air freight, custom clearance, main ports, quality standards, and labeling requirements, just to mention a few.

Keep reading to learn more.

Cheapest Shipping from the USA to Australia

USPS is the best when it comes to quick and affordable shipping options.

One is only charged an affordable flat rate as determined by the company.

Maybe a point of concern is that their packages must be transferred to Australia Post after arriving.

With that, the order tracking number given by USPS ceases to apply and a new tracking number must be issued.

However, with the speed and cost in consideration, it is the best choice.

The charges are as illustrated:

Priority Mail Express International   – $47 to take 3-6 days

Priority Mail International                – $33 to take 5-10 days

First-Class International Service       – $15 to take 10-20 days

Of course, this only applies when using courier services.

However, for bulky cargo ocean freight is more affordable.

But, it will take a long time for your cargo to reach the Australia from USA.

Again, another factor is the type of import from USA to Australia.

So, how do you find the cheapest shipping from USA to Australia – work with a freight forwarder who will help you get competitive shipping rates.

Best Time to Ship from the USA to Australia

When considering shipping, one should consider few things to avoid unexpected delays.

For example, it is good to be aware of the existing restrictions that may arise due to a pandemic.

During the holidays when the shopping extravaganza starts picking, it may not be the best time unless it is very necessary to deliver the consignment.

This is because it is possible to experience unexpected delays.

Factors Determining Cost of Shipping from the USA to Australia

Several factors may determine the cost of shipping from the US to Australia and these are:

  • Freight to be shipped
  • Volume weight and size of the cargo
  • Shipping mode used: FCL or LCL ocean shipping or air freight
  • The distance the cargo is to be moved
  • Method of delivery whether. Either from the port to the door, from door to door or from the door to the port

The cost of air cargo and ocean freight is highly determined by the weight of the cargo.

Ways of Shipping from the USA to Australia

The two shipping means from the USA to Australia are:

  • Ocean Freight from the USA to Australia
  • Air Freight from the USA to Australia

Ports of Origin in the USA

The USA contributes to more than 26% of the entire world’s consumption making its ocean freight very important in the economy.

It is a host to some of the busiest coastal ports in the world with the biggest one being the Port of Los Angeles.

 Ports in USA

Ports in the USA

Port of Los Angeles

The majority of the transpacific trade is undertaken in this port.

In terms of container volume, it is ranked the 19th busiest across the world and number one in the USA since 2000.

The many activities undertaken gave it the common name “America’s Port”.

It sits on 7500 acres of land with a long waterfront of 43 miles.

With its 43-mile long waterfront, it can handle more than 4.4 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs).

In estimation, around $1.2 billion worth of goods are shipped to and from the port of Los Angeles every day.

It handles different commodities ranging from avocado to zinc featuring both passengers and terminals.

These include cruise, motor vehicles, dry and liquid bulk and warehouse facilities managing cargo worth billions of dollars every year.

The list below outlines the rest of the ports of origin in the USA:


Port Details:

It is referred to by many as the container gateway to the USA

It is located on Dodge Island on the Miami River

At least 7.4 million tonnes of sea freight are processed every year.

Annual Container Volume:  is estimated to be 1.1 million TEUs.


Port Details:
  • It is the most productive port in America
  • The 13 world’s top container carriers out of 15 operate from here

Annual Container Volume is estimated to be more than 2.4 million TEUs.


Long Beach

Port Details:
  • It is America’s busiest port after Port of Los Angeles which it neighbours
  • It is huge and occupies 40 kilometres of waterfront
  • Annual Container Volume is estimated to be more than 8.1 million TEUs.


Port Details:
  • The abbreviations of the port stand for Bentley Helen Delich Port of Baltimore
  • It processed cargo worth 43.6 million tonnes in 2019
  • It is the leading port for the import and export of motor vehicles
  • Annual Container Volume is estimated to be more than 1 million TEUs.


Port Details:
  • It is the largest freight facility in the Gulf of Mexico
  • More than 70% of cargo transported via the gulf is processed here
  • It hosts Barbours Cut and Bayport
  • It is the best choice for companies based in Fort Worth Galveston,  Austin San Antonio, or Dallas
  • Annual Container Volume is estimated to be more than 2.9 million TEUs.

Other Ports in the US for Australian goods include:

  • New York
  • San Francisco
  • Port Everglades
  • Boston
  • Seattle
  • Savannah
  • Oakland
  • Atlanta
  • Norfolk
  • Tacoma
  • Los Angeles
  • New Orleans
  • Mobile

Ports of Destination in Australia

Cargo Ports of Arrival in Australia from the USA are:

Ports in Australia

Ports in Australia


Port Details:
  • It is a medium-sized port
  • It is based 14 kilometers northwest side of central Adelaide
  • The cargo facility sits on a 23-hectare site

Annual Container Volume is estimated to be more than 322,000 TEUs.


Port Details:
  • It is the fastest-growing sea-port in Australia
  • Also, it is the 3rd most busy port
  • It is very convenient for goods arriving and headed to other parts in Queensland

Annual Container Volume is estimated to be more than 1.4 million TEUs.

Fremantle (Perth)

Port Details:
  • It is based in the Perth Metropolitan Region
  • Besides, it is the busiest port on the western side of Australia
  • It can process more than 1000 containers a year.

Annual Container Volume is estimated to be more than 780,000 TEUs.


Port Details:
  • It is based on the Yarra River
  • Also, it is the biggest container freight facility in Australia
  • It has the ability to handle some of the largest vessels in the world.

The estimated Annual Container Volume is more than 3 million TEUs.


Port Details:
  • It is also called Port Botany
  • It processes more than one-third of Australia’s container traffic annually
  • Furthermore, it rests on  a 40-hectare site
  • For goods heading to New South Wales, this may serve as the most convenient port.

Annual Container Volume is estimated to be more than 2.6 million TEUs.

International Air Ports in the USA

  • Washington Dulles International Airport
  • San Diego International Airport
  • Salt Lake City International Airport
  • Tampa International Airport
  • Seattle–Tacoma International Airport
  • San Francisco International Airport
  • Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport
  • Portland International Airport
  • Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
  • Orlando International Airport
  • O’Hare International Airport
  • Newark Liberty International Airport
  • Philadelphia International Airport
  • Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport
  • Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport
  • George Bush Intercontinental Airport
  • General Edward Lawrence Logan International Airport
  • Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport
  • Miami International Airport
  • Denver International Airport
  • Daniel K. Inouye International Airport
  • Chicago Midway International Airport
  • McCarran International Airport
  • Los Angeles International Airport
  • LaGuardia Airport
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport
  • Detroit Metropolitan Airport
  • Charlotte Douglas International Airport
  • Baltimore–Washington International Airport
  • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport

International Air Ports in Australia

There are 31 international airports which are:


Toowoomba Wellcamp



Sunshine Coast


Port Hedland


Norfolk Island



Lord Howe Island




Horn Island


Gold Coast



Coffs Harbour

Cocos (Keeling) Island

Christmas Island



Busselton Margaret River




Alice Springs


Main Cargo Airlines from the USA to Australia

Some of the main cargo airlines are:

  1. UPS Airlines
  2. Tepper Aviation
  3. Southern Air
  4. Royal Air Freight
  5. Polar Air Cargo
  6. Transair
  7. Western Global Airlines
  8. Northern Air Cargo
  9. Wiggins Airways
  10. Skyway Enterprises
  11. Sky Lease Cargo
  12. Ryan Air Services
  13. West Air
  14. USA Jet Airlines
  15. National Airlines
  16. Mountain Air Cargo
  17. Kalitta Air
  18. IFL Group
  19. Alpine Air Express
  20. Freight Runners Express
  21. Ameriflight
  22. Aloha Air Cargo
  23. Mid-Atlantic Freight
  24. Alaska Central Express
  25. AirNet Express
  26. Merlin Airways
  27. Martinaire
  28. Air Cargo Carriers
  29. Lynden Air Cargo
  30. Kalitta Charters
  31. Air Transport International
  32. ABX Air
  33. 21 Air
  34. Castle Aviation
  35. Bemidji Airlines
  36. Atlas Air
  37. Ameristar Jet Charter
  38. FedEx Express
  39. Everts Air Cargo
  40. Asia Pacific Airlines
  41. Empire Airlines
  42. CSA Air
  43. Corporate Air
  44. Amerijet International

Express Shipping from USA to Australia

For express shipping from USA to Australia, Air freight is simply the fastest.

The planes move at a speed of 900kilometers per hour on average.

This is different from a vessel carrying cargo which moves at a speed of 35km/h.

It can take between two to eight days for a package to reach Australia compared to 33 to 65 days for a ship container to deliver by sea.

Express shipping companies

 Express shipping companies

Estimated Transit Time when Shipping from the USA to Australia

Exporters have many choices to choose from when it comes to shipping from the USA to Australia.

This is due to the many airports and seaports available to choose from as either origin or destination.

Below are examples of ocean transportation with ports of origin and destination when shipping from the USA to Australia by Air and the time it may take.

  • Baltimore to Brisbane – 44 working days for FCL
  • Charleston to Adelaide – 47 working days for FCL
  • Chicago Sydney – 41 working days for LCL
  • Chicago to Brisbane – 44 working days for LCL
  • Chicago to Fremantle – 52 working days for LCL
  • Houston to Brisbane – 44 working days for FCL
  • Houston to Fremantle – 38 working days for FCL, 54 working days for LCL
  • Houston to Melbourne – 40 working days for LCL
  • Long Beach to Brisbane – 38 working days for FCL
  • Long Beach to Sydney – 36 working days for FCL
  • Los Angeles to Adelaide – 34 working days for LCL
  • Los Angeles to Brisbane – 39 working days for FCL, 39 working days for LCL
  • Los Angeles to Melbourne – 44 working days for FCL, 31 working days for LCL
  • Los Angeles to Sydney – 44 working days for LCL
  • Miami to Adelaide – 57 working days for FCL, 47 working days for LCL
  • Miami to Fremantle – 65 working days for FCL
  • Miami to Melbourne – 41 working days for LCL
  • Miami to Sydney – 38 working days for LCL
  • New York to Fremantle – 59 working days for LCL
  • New York to Melbourne – 45 working days for LCL
  • New York to Sydney – 45 working days for FCL, 44 working days for LCL
  • Oakland to Fremantle – 35 working days for FCL
  • San Francisco to Brisbane – 39 working days for LCL
  • San Francisco to Fremantle – 52 working days for LCL
  • San Francisco to Melbourne – 33 working days for LCL
  • Seattle to Brisbane – 38 working days for LCL

Shipping Cargo by Air from the US to Australia?

Below are examples of airports of origin and destination when shipping from the USA to Australia by Air and the time it may take.

  • San Francisco to Melbourne – 5 working days
  • New York to Sydney – 6 working days
  • New York or Los Angeles to Adelaide – 5 working days
  • Los Angeles to Sydney – 5 working days
  • Los Angeles to Melbourne – 4 working days
  • Houston to Melbourne or Perth – 7 working days
  • Detroit to Adelaide or Sydney – 5 working days
  • Denver to Adelaide – 6 working days
  • Dallas to Perth – 3 working days
  • Dallas or Chicago to Sydney – 7 working days
  • Chicago or Seattle to Brisbane – 5 working days
  • Charlotte to Melbourne – 4 working days
  • Charlotte or Miami to Perth – 5 working days
  • Boston or Philadelphia to Brisbane – 6 working days
  • Atlanta to Sydney or Brisbane – 5 working days

Main Sea Routes when Shipping from the USA to Australia

The sea routes from the USA to Australia are:

  • Baltimore heading to Brisbane
  • Charleston heading to Adelaide
  • Chicago Sydney
  • Chicago heading to Brisbane
  • Chicago heading to Fremantle
  • Houston heading to Brisbane
  • Houston heading to Fremantle
  • Houston heading to Melbourne
  • Long Beach heading to Brisbane
  • Long Beach heading to Sydney
  • Los Angeles heading to Adelaide
  • Los Angeles heading to Brisbane
  • Los Angeles heading to Melbourne
  • Los Angeles heading to Sydney
  • Miami heading to Adelaide
  • Miami heading to Fremantle
  • Miami heading to Melbourne
  • Miami heading to Sydney
  • New York heading to Fremantle
  • New York heading to Melbourne
  • New York heading to Sydney
  • Oakland heading to Fremantle
  • San Francisco heading to Brisbane
  • San Francisco heading to Fremantle
  • San Francisco heading to Melbourne
  • Seattle heading to Brisbane

Benefits of Using US Freight Forwarder in Shipping from the USA to Australia

Freight forwarders provide great benefits to companies that need transparency and flexibility while looking organized at the same time.

Most forwarders are well connected with their global agents making it easier to deal with one for a range of destinations.

Freight forwarder

 Freight forwarder

Manageability and Organization

Every business in need of a sense of control on their supply chain must be organized and manageable.

This provides a quick recovery even in case of a loss.

If a package is lost Freight forwarders with their strong connections can utilize their networks to trace the problem quickly.

Therefore enacting immediate solutions.

This is very important to any company that may want to engage in shipping to Australia from the USA.


Freight forwarders provide a very unique versatility which helps greatly in meeting tight schedules.

They have various resources to deal with any unexpected eventualities that may occur like delays at sea or rerouted shipments due to stormy seas or any other reason.

Freight forwarders deal with such cases daily and their experience can offer a very satisfying solution in a way that may have brought losses to the exporter.

Cost Savings

Due to their daily business engagements with those in the shipping industry, freight forwarders can negotiate the best terms based on the volumes they are handling.

This may save the exporting company some money that can be channeled to other use.

Freight forwarders are also able to charge their services as a package bringing the total cost lower as compared to dealing with different service providers.

They can transport, clear at the customs and even provide warehouse services across the different countries they operate.

Freedom from Contracts

With the different engagements that come in place, one may feel safe to get in a legal agreement to feel safe.

In the end, they become too much.

With freight forwarders, all this is simplified.

They take care of everything as you deal with them only and you may only need a contract with them.

It leaves one to focus on other business aspects that promise growth in a manageable way.


Forwarders offer simplicity in one very volatile industry.

They will save you from moving with everything that changes in every direction and sometimes giving up.

The services of an experienced forwarder takes many of these aggravating administrative decisions from the exporter.

One can maintain full control of the shipment without the many tasks involved in it.

It is one contact person for everything bringing unlimited flexibility.

Labelling Requirements when Shipping from USA to Australia

Labelling when shipping to Australia

Labelling when shipping to Australia

Although not all goods require labeling, some goods require proper labeling with the description of a trade before being exported to Australia.

The Australian Border Force can hold any goods that go against the labeling requirements especially those that may have misleading trading details.

Some of the items that need labeling are:

  • Textiles, clothing, and shoes
  • Food and beverages
  • Agricultural and veterinary chemicals.
  • Medicines, pharmaceuticals, and therapeutic goods

The labels must have:

  • The country of origin
  • Trade description
  • Industry-specific e.g., Food Standards Code
  • Labeling requirements for imported goods

The label must comply with the Competition and consumer act of Australia and should be in English.

It should be permanently placed in a prominent position on the goods clearly visible.

If the goods being exported will be sold in the packages, the packaging should also be labeled.

Quality Standard Requirements when Shipping from the USA to Australia

When exporting goods like as food stuffs, one must ensure compliance with Australian packaging regulations.

If a non-farm product meets the requirements of one state, then it is allowed in all other states and territories.

The USA food product exporters may find their goods falling under the Australian Food Standards Code.

It is responsible for developing food standards and applies to any food that is produced or exported to Australia.

Other standards organizations of interest to US exporters

Some of the Australian organizations responsible for quality standards are:

  • The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)
  • Australian Environmental Protection Agency
  • Therapeutic Goods Administration.
  • The ACMA is responsible for technical standards for items of customer equipment, use of cables and other devices. Such standards include:

a) Electromagnetic Compatibility Arrangements (EMC)

b) Electromagnetic Radiation Arrangements (EMR).

  • The Australian Department of the Environment is responsible for developing and implementing policies aimed at protecting and conserving the environment and heritage.
  • All automotive parts and accessories must ensure safety standards and comply with the environmental standards and must follow the Australian Design Rules and Australian automotive standards.
  • The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has been put in place to issue all approvals relating to medical devices and products relating to health.

If one is in a position where they can’t identify the manufacturer, they are solely responsible for safety defects that may arise.

At times you may buy products are bought from a wholesaler making it difficult to know the manufacturer.

You should put practises to reduce the risk of safety defects on products.

Such measures include:

  • Carrying out regular safety checks regularly
  • Practising product safety quality guarantee procedures
  • Giving clear safety guidelines to the consumers
  • For products that may cause a choking hazard, a disclaimer should be issued
  • Any unsafe or defective products should be recalled immediately

Incoterms to use in Shipping from USA to Australia

There are several options available when it comes to choosing the right incoterm to use.

It is good to seek the advice of a freight forwarder although the final decision lies with the exporter.

FOB – For sea freight, one can always use FOB (free on board) as it is the most preferred especially for those who export frequently.

Ex Works -If one feels that the purchaser is not comfortable with the pricing of local services by the seller, the exporter may consider using Ex Works.

Other choices may include:

  • CFR Cost and Freight
  • CIF Cost, Insurance, And Freight
  • CIP Carriage and Insurance Paid To
  • CPT Carriage Paid To
  • FAS Free Alongside Ship
  • FCA Free Carrier

You may have to consider a few things to make the right choice.

For example, is the business able to pay the costs and take the transportation risks to the final destination?

Would it be wise to handle only what is within the USA borders where you can control logistics?

 Incoterms 2020

 Incoterms 2020

 Incoterms 2020

Incoterms 2020

Documents you need when shipping from the USA to Australia

There are five important documents required by the customs authorities in this process.

Commercial Invoice

The shipper will issue the buyer an invoice.

This is a legal document and acts as proof of sale.

The customs broker will use the commercial invoice in determining the actual value of goods and calculate the duties and taxes payable.

Some of the information of interest to the customs authorities is:

  • Invoice number and date
  • Prices, descriptions, quantities, and HS
  • Seller’s information including tax numbers
  • Agreed Incoterms

Packing List

This list contains the shipment details and is very important in the shipping process.

It is useful to the customs broker for clearance.

Also, the list is also used by freight forwarders to help in creating a booking with a carrier and issue the bill of lading.

The packing list contains some of the following information:

  • The seller, buyer and the shipper’s information
  • The invoice number
  • Quantities
  • Description of the goods
  • Information about the carrier
  • Mode of transport
  • Shipment date
  • The type of cargo
  • Net and gross weight
  • Dimensions
  • Package labels e.g., seal numbers

 Certificate of Origin

This is the certificate that declares the country from which the package is manufactured e.g., the USA.

It contains details about the goods, the destination as well as the country it originates.

It sets out whether the good qualifies for import, whether subject to duties and any existing preferential treatment.

The document is prepared by the exporter or the manufacturer. Before exporting, always confirm with the Australian buyer whether the Certificate of Origin is required.

Letter of Credit

This is a letter from the bank guaranteeing the seller that they will get the payment on time as agreed.

In case the buyer is not in a position to pay, the bank will proceed and pay the amount protecting the seller.

Bill of Lading

This is a legal document issued by a carrier to a shipper.

It contains the quantity, type, and the final destination of the goods.

It serves as a contract between the shipper and the freight carrier.

All shipped goods must contain this document.

No matter the mode of transportation, this document must always accompany the shipped goods.

 Other Important Clearance Documents

Some customs authorities request other documents such as:

  • Permits
  • Import and export permit
  • Dangerous goods declarations
  • Certificate of Inspection

Restricted and Prohibited Imports from the USA to Australia

The authorities in Australia prohibit some goods from getting into the country unless with written permission.

As circumstances change, other goods may get prohibited.

Below are some of the goods prohibited in Australia.

  • Weapons.
  • Pornography materials
  • Nuclear and radioactive material.
  • Hazardous materials
  • Firearms and firearm parts.
  • Explosives.
  • Certain plants, e.g. tobacco leaf.
  • Some breeds of dogs which are deemed as dangerous.
  • Asbestos
  • Anything posing a security risk.

How LCL Shipping from USA to Australia Works

When shipping from USA to Australia, LCL may only work if:

  • The goods will require seven standard pallets and above
  • If the goods are not urgent
  • The goods can be put inside a shared container safely
  • If the recipient or the supplier lacks the facilities for loading into a container and sealing
  • If one is aware that additional logistics as a result of LCL may increase shipment time because of consolidating and deconsolidating.

One may avoid LCL if:

  • The cargo is required on a specific time
  • The cargo is fragile and may be destroyed by the handling
  • If the cargo have a short shelf-life and may not sustain the transit time
  • The cargo is heavy, large or unfit for a shared container.

How FCL Shipping from the USA to Australia Works

For consignment that may need FCL shipping, they may need the following:

  • It needs to be in Australia on a certain date
  • The supplier feels unhappy with their goods on a shared container mixed with others.
  • The supplier and the receiver afford loading facilities and can seal the container in the US
  • The ability of the recipient to unload the container
  • The shipment is big enough for a 20ft container

Custom Clearance Process when Shipping from USA to Australia

 Customs clearance in Australia

Australia customs clearance

  • The customs officer will take a look at the paperwork for your shipment.

All the information including the export date and the airway bill number are listed on the document.

Of importance, the invoice will contain the total value of the good together with the item description.

  • The customs officer then checks to confirm if there are any applicable duties and taxes.

This is determined by the kind of goods, the total value and any laws regarding importation.

In case the total value of the goods is beyond the tax threshold, they will check to confirm whether they have been settled.

  • The Customs officers will request that payment of taxes and duties be made if they are yet to be paid.

At this stage, there are two options, the DDU (Deliver Duty Unpaid) and DDP (Delivery Duty Paid).

Any shipment marked as DDP will mean that the duties and taxes are already paid for.

In case the cargo is marked as DDU, the officers will take the cargo to an independent customs broker who will collect the amount required.

This however can be very expensive. Other fees such as storage, brokerage, and late payment fees may come into play raising the total amount.

The brokers may need to get in touch with the recipient in order to collect payment and this may turn off a client especially if they don’t know of the payments.

For a seamless delivery, it is good for the exporter to pre-pay the duties.

  • If the customs officers confirm that the applicable taxes and duties have been settled, the shipment is forwarded for shipping to Australia.

Provided all the required paperwork is there and one is aware of the process to follow, clearing customs when shipping to Australia is just a breeze.

How Drop Shipping from the USA to Australia compares to Door to Door Shipping from the USA to Australia

With increasing e-commerce stores in Australia, dropshipping is not something to ignore.

It is estimated that by the end of 2021 e-commerce sales will go beyond $15.44 billion and this shows the popularity of online shopping.

Some of the challenges that one may face include:

Drop shipping model

 Drop shipping model

  • Reliance on Third-Party Suppliers
  • High Level of Competition
  • Tight Profit Margins
  • Difficult Customer Support

With these challenges, it may be a challenge and the door to door shipping from USA to Australia may work better.

 Door to door shipping model

Door to door shipping model

Special Considerations when Shipping from the USA to Australia

There exist some special considerations when shipping some commodities to Australia from USA that must be met for the authorities to allow the package to pass the border.

Such commodities include the following:

Non-Domesticated Animal Skins

Animal skins which are covered by the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) are held by the customs such requirements are presented to the customs.

Therefore, you may need a valid import permit and export permit.


All clothing must have labels stating the material used and from which country it comes from.

They must be properly attached on the material clearly visible by the customer.

If transparent packaging is not considered, the packaging must also be labeled.


The Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service require the importer to have an import license when importing green coffee beans.

Compact Discs

Compact discs must be censored in case of objectionable content.


For any products weighing more than 250mg/kg, one must seek approval from the Australian customs.


One must get license to import from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.


Food restrictions vary depending on the kind of food in question.

Any shipment containing meat, fish, dairy and bee products need to have an import permit.

The Australian Quarantine Authorities will fumigate all suspicious foods.

Shipments that may arrive in old fruit packing boxes will be packed again and the boxes destroyed and this may cause delays.


Their importation is regulated under the Therapeutic Goods Act.

Any medicine not registered with the Therapeutic Administration is not permitted.

Many other products are restricted and it is advisable to get the relevant information before exporting from USA to Australia.

How to Ship Dangerous Goods from USA to Australia

Dangerous goods are anything that could harm you, the receiver, the driver or the environment.

Any good containing a UN number is a dangerous good.

Such goods include but not limited to perfume, aerosols, or anything that may contain lithium batteries – like phones or laptops.

Classification of dangerous goods

Classification of dangerous goods

There are no shortcuts if the goods being shipped are dangerous goods and hazardous items.

It calls for expertly well trained and experienced with special equipment and safety systems in place.

Although much of the work is handled by the shipping agent, the owner/shipper has some responsibilities.

They must:

  • Declare the Dangerous Goods
  • Pack the items correctly and according to the regulations
  • Ensure proper labeling
  • Must insert the correct documentation from USA transit and destination (Australia)

It is up to the shipper to declare, pack and label the Dangerous goods.

Shipping companies have different restrictions for different categories of Dangerous goods.

Therefore, good to be getting in touch with your company first before packing.

The shipper should avoid the risk of harming others as well as fines from the authorities.

This is by ensuring the package does not contain any incompliant hazardous or undeclared material.

When shipping easily suspected as dangerous goods for example spare parts, it is good to avoid delayed shipment or stoppage.

You can add the words such as “Not Restricted” to the documentation.

Any company or person is legally responsible in ensuring 100% compliance with the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations.

Most shipments from the U.S require the Declaration for Dangerous Goods from the shipper to include a telephone number available 24 hours for response in case of emergency.

The exceptions for this rule may be found on the current IATA regulations.

Dangerous goods due to their special care and attention required will always attract additional charges.

A lot of devices currently made are powered by lithium batteries.

They include:

  • Drones and remote-control cars
  • Cameras
  • Calculators
  • Electronic cigarettes
  • Laptops
  • Watches
  • Power Tools
  • Smart devices, such as phones and tablets

It is worth noting that no container that may be shipped internationally is allowed to have lithium batteries or cells alone.

Any devices that may contain lithium batteries or the lithium battery itself fall under class 9 (Dangerous Goods).

When being shipped, they are referred to as follows:

UN3480: Lithium-ion batteries – These are the lithium batteries that are not embedded within the equipment and are neither packed together with them.

They include loose mobile phone or even laptop batteries.

UN3481: Lithium-ion batteries packed with equipment – These are the lithium-ion batteries that are not embedded inside the equipment but are inside the package.

They include laptop without an installed battery, mobile phones or packed together with spare lithium batteries.

UN3481: Lithium-ion batteries contained in equipment- These are lithium-ion batteries that come connected to the device.

They include laptops or mobile phones with in-built battery.

Taxes and Duties to Pay when Shipping from USA to Australia

When shipping goods from USA to Australia, one will be liable to customs duty and taxes along with an import declaration.

They must be paid first for the goods to be cleared by the customs.

The total amount to be paid is determined by the different classifications under which the goods may fall.

This many include concessions, exemptions and existence of preference schemes like Free Trade Agreements between USA and Australia for the goods in question.

On July 1st, 2018, there was new legislation that was introduced charging a 10% GST on the price of the product valued below AUD 1000.

These include items such as electronic devices books, sports equipment, jewellery, cosmetics or clothing exported to Australia.

Packaging Requirements when Shipping from USA to Australia

When considering hiring a shipping company for goods, it may be best to arrange for the shipping company to pack the goods.

One may also do it for themselves especially if the cost is a factor to consider.

If you are planning to hire a moving company to ship your household goods, it may be best to arrange for the moving crew to pack your goods rather than do it yourself.

But it is good to note that this may cause risks that are not covered by the insurance.

Goods not packed by the company are labelled as PBO (Packed by owner) for record purposes in case of any claim arising.

Below are some of the general guidelines for mailing packages:

  • The double-wall boxes should be used when packing heavy items.
  • Crumpled newspaper, biodegradable foam peanuts and bubble wrap can be used as fillers inside the box to hold the contents firmly in place
  • When dealing with fragile items, the double-boxes coming with three inches of cushioning material around the inner smaller box should be used.

It is good when one ship the fragile goods individually as they understand them better.

  • For goods that come in odd shapes, they should be wrapped properly at the sharp edges with a tape.
  • Before sealing the package, a small extra-label should be placed inside the package.

This can be a business card or a letterhead with the address and phone number of the shipper.

The receiver’s phone number and address should also be included.

  • If the old boxes are to be used, be keen to remove the old address labels and check if the box has any damages.
  • The right tape for sealing the package should be carefully selected. The preferred tape should be pressure-sensitive tape plastic made, water-activated paper or water-activated reinforced. One should avoid the duct, cellophane or masking tape.
  • The package should be sealed taping in an H shape.

The address should be written in standard format for Australia to avoid any delays in shipment delivery.

Also, the USA formatting styles and the Australian format are not very different and this should be easier for someone accustomed to the format used in USA.

Any goods that go against the packaging requirements may be seized once they got the Australia border by the Australian Border Force.

In some cases, re-labelling may be allowed by the Australian Border Force if they are convinced that the contravention was not intentional.

The contravention may attract penalties.

How to Calculate Australian GST when Shipping from USA to Australia

The customs duties are dependent on the type of goods. However, most of the household goods may fall under the below formula.

  • To start, the purchase must be converted into Australian dollars.
  • The import will be calculated as 5% on the value of the goods in Australian dollars.
  • When calculating the GST on imported goods, one should add the total value of goods in Australian dollars to the freight charges, import duty and the insurance charges.
  • After getting the total, one can then calculate the 10% GST and get the figures.

A good example can be the purchase of a wristwatch for $500.

You add 5% customs duty and the freight charges assuming to be $42.

This will be $25 plus $42 to get $567 in total.

Then the 10% GST ($56.7) is added bringing the total cost of goods to $623.7.

The right taxes, import duty and the GST for goods being shipped can be shared by a customs broker or a freight forwarder that one chooses to work with.

Role of HS Code when Importing to Australia

More than 200 countries use HS codes contracted by the HS Convention (Convention on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System).

It is used by the customs authorities in the identification of the goods being shipped and application of relevant regulations, taxes and customs duties.

The relevant HSC Code must be used on every line of the commercial invoice.

 HS Code structure

HS Code structure

Commercial Invoice is a very important document since it contains information on who is buying from whom and the terms of shipment agreed.

Both the exporter and the importer must have the commercial invoice.

The use of HS Code on the invoice enables the goods being exported to go through the customs seamlessly and without any delay.

That way, the goods are exported faster and the payments are done in a short time.

If HS Code is not correctly put on the commercial invoice, the receiver may end up paying incorrect tax.

Consequently, you may be charged interest for any back payments due to incorrect information.

How to Ship from the USA to Australia when Buying from Amazon

Due to the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), Amazon no longer ships goods directly to Australia.

The Goods and Services Tax (GST), is charged at 10% which is payable both on the value of goods as well as the shipping cost.

The Amazon Australia was created to serve the people of Australia and goods can be delivered from the Amazon warehouse located in Australia to the client.

A billing card may also be rejected if one enters Australian shipping addresses on when selecting the payment methods.

When buying from other international variants of Amazon across the world, you will register a package forwarding service provider to help in delivering the goods.

The service provider will have the package sent to their warehouse and organizing for shipping to Australia from USA having paid all the required legal charges.

The package will be delivered to the doorstep if the service provider offers such services.

That’s it – now we would also like to hear from you.

Are you shipping from the USA to Australia?

Share with us your experiences, and challenges – BanSar team is here to offer free consultations.

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