Shipping to and from Australia often poses a unique challenge because of the continent’s remote nature in relation to much of the world. This guide will help you navigate the intricate regulations for shippers and useful information about the Australian business climate.
Our Global Network – Australia
Agility Australia is a full-service logistics provider strategically located at seven Australian ports and airports. Agility Australia offers freight forwarding and supply chain solutions that connect your business to suppliers and markets around the world.
Regulations and Procedures in Shipping from Australia
Shippers need to submit export declarations before the customs authorities will clear cargo to leave the port or airport of origin.
It is recommended to use the ICS, Australia’s online solution, for customs declarations. Customs declarations of any type are complicated undertakings and it is preferable that logistics specialists with knowledge of customs clearance procedures should complete the forms for shippers if possible.
Shipping companies in Australia are able to complete and file the export declarations for shippers, but the shipper needs to provide them with all the necessary information.
Registration for Customs Clients
Shippers are required to obtain either an Australian Business Number (ABN) or a Customs Client Identifier (CCID) number in order to make an export declaration. This requirement is mandatory, even if shipping companies in Australia are arranging clearance on the shipper’s behalf.
Shippers looking to learn more about the export declaration, or to submit the document, will find much more information about completing the ICS forms at the Australian Bureau of Statistics website.
Case Study: Transporting Solar Panel Equipment Leading to Qualifying for Major Tax Credit
Agility Projects Australia was given a tough job by a leading supplier of solar energy gear. The company required 5,000 FEU to be moved in a handful of months, from Australia to the United States. The cargo was solar tracking equipment, which are the trackers that direct solar modules toward the sun, while changing the orientation of panels throughout the day.
Shipping Freight Restrictions from Australia
The Australian government imposes restrictions on the export of products and materials deemed for military purposes. In fact, it is often incumbent on the shipper to demonstrate that certain goods are not applicable for use by a military operation. An example of this is high-performance computers require special permissions to export, unless the exporter can prove that item will not be used by the military.
Shippers can ascertain if their items may have a dual use purpose by performing a check to see if they appear on the Defence and Strategic Goods List (DSGL). To determine this, check the DSGL tool found on the Australian Department of Defence website.
There are other products that are regulated, or outright restricted, for export. One prominent example includes Australian wine, an item when exported in quantities of over 100 liters, can only be cleared for customs on display of an export license, a product registration certificate, and a permit for export.
Companies shipping any type of products or materials not mentioned on this page should be able to check with the company managing the transportation, especially if not sure of the customs status. Reputable shipping companies in Australia will be able to help all shippers comply with any applicable rules and regulations.
For an in-depth look at Agility Australia’s Customs Brokerage Capability, click here.
Top Cargo Airports in Australia
|Airport code||Full name||Est. Cargo (in Metric Tons)|
Top Cargo ports in Australia
- Port of Brisbane
- Port of Sydney
- Port of Fremantle
- Port of Melbourne
- Port of Hedland
- Port of Dampier
- Port of Wellington
- Port of Darwin
- Port of Adelaide
- Port of Newcastle
Source: Australia’s Top 10 Cargo Ports
Top Commodities Exported from Australia (2018)
Coal Briquettes 23.1%
Iron Ore 19.4%
Petroleum Gas 7.12%
Aluminum Oxide 2.69%
Source: OEC Australia Profile
Top Commodities Imported from Australia (2018)
Refined Petroleum 8.44%
Crude Petroleum 4.23%
Delivery Trucks 3.33%
Broadcasting Equipment 2.97%
Source: OEC Australia Profile
Top Tradelanes from the Australia (Australia is the origin point)
South Korea 7.76%
United States 3.92%
Top Tradelanes to Australia (Australia is the destination)
United States 10.1%
South Korea 4.51%
Source: OEC Australia Profile
Manufacturing Map of Australia
Top Trends in Manufacturing
Manufacturing in Australia is a significant industry, with the food and beverage manufacturing industry the largest in Australia. It consists of fruit and vegetable processing, sugar and confectionery manufacturing, oil and fat manufacturing, meat and meat products, beverage and malt manufacturing, dairy products, bakery products, flour mill and cereal food manufacturing, and seafood processing.
Three companies manufacture cars in Australia: GM-Holden, Ford and Toyota.
Holden bodyworks are manufactured at Elizabeth, South Australia and engines are produced at the Fishermens Bend plant in Port Melbourne, Victoria. Ford has two main factories, both in Victoria: located in the Geelong suburb of Norlane and the northern Melbourne suburb of Broadmeadows.
Mining in Australia is a significant industry and is a primary driver of the Australian economy. Booms in mining have historically encouraged immigration to Australia. Many different ores and minerals are mined throughout the country
Minerals and resources
Large quantities of minerals and resources are extracted in Australia. These include:
- Iron ore – Australia was the world’s third largest supplier in 2008 after China and Brazil, supplying 342 million metric tonnes.
- Nickel – Australia was the world’s second largest producer in 2006 after Russia. Bauxite/aluminum
- Gold – Australia is the second largest producer after China.
- Uranium – Australia is responsible for 16% of the world’s production and was the world’s third largest supplier in 2009 after Kazakhstan and Canada.
- Diamond – Australia has the third largest commercially-viable deposits after Russia and Botswana
- Opal – Australia is the world’s largest producer of opal, being responsible for 95% of production.
- Coal – Australia is the world’s largest exporter of coal and fourth largest producer of coal behind China, USA and India.
- Oil shale
- Petroleum – Australia is the twenty-eighth largest producer of petroleum
- Natural gas
- Rare Earths
Much of the raw material mined in Australia is exported overseas to countries such as China for processing into refined product. Energy and minerals constitute two thirds of Australia’s total exports to China, and more than half of Australia’s iron ore exports are to China
Coal is mined in every state of Australia. It is used to generate electricity and is exported. Three quarters of the coal mined in Australia is exported, mostly to eastern Asia. Coal also provides about 85% of Australia’s electricity production. Australia is the world’s leading coal exporter.
Uranium mining in Australia began in the early 20th century in South Australia. Australia contains 23% of the world’s proven estimated uranium reserves. In recent decades opposition to uranium mining in Australia has increased, resulting in many government inquiries into its extraction. The three largest uranium mines in the country are Olympic Dam, Ranger Uranium Mine and Beverley Uranium Mine.
Australia is estimated to have stranded gas reserves with about 140 trillion cubic feet, enough to fulfil the needs of a city with one million people for 2,800 years.
Source: Major Industries in Australia
Shipping via Ocean Freight to Australia
For those shippers engaging in regular transport from Australia, it is important to be aware of some of the trade lanes that exist and what the transit times consist of. Ocean freight may be the slowest form of transportation, but it is also the least costly compared with using air freight or utilizing the services of an international courier in Australia.
Most Popular Ocean Lanes for Shipping from Australia
Shipping from Australia to USA, European, South American, and African ports is widespread, yet the greatest freight volumes are moved between Australia and Asia. Here is a collection of the most popular ocean freight routes:
- Brisbane to Yokohama (Japan)
- Melbourne to Qingdao (China)
- Brisbane to Ningbo (China)
- Brisbane to Shanghai (China)
- Sydney to Cartagena (Colombia)
Ocean Freight from Australia: The Shortest and Longest Transit Times
Most ocean freight routes involve considerable time in transit for shippers’ cargo, with the exception of New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.
The shortest trade lanes link Australia with the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. One of the fastest routes, with the shortest transit time, connects the Australian port of Adelaide with Singapore, and involves only nine days of transit time.
Shipping from Australia may involve very long transit times, with container vessels reaching ports in the western states of California and Washington in roughly three weeks. Reaching the eastern side of the United States takes much longer, with the route from Brisbane to Savannah in Georgia taking as much as 57 days from port to port.
E-commerce in Australia
In Australia, ecommerce is a booming business. In 2018, Australians spent a total of A$28.6 billion (US$20.3 billion) on online shopping. As of January 2019, online shopping comprises 9% of Australia’s total retail sale.
Statista predicts that by the end of this year Australian online businesses will see a 15.1% growth in revenue. Also, the number of online shoppers will reach 20.3 million in 2019, which is 5% more than last year.
Important Australian ecommerce statistics for shippers to know:
Australian Ecommerce market value will be A$35.2 billion by 2021.
Australia is currently the 10th largest ecommerce market in the world by revenue. The market size is projected to be about A$35.2 billion (US$ 25.2 billion) by 2021.
Eight out of ten Australians shop online. By 2020, every one out of ten items will be bought online.
As of February 2019, 80.8% of people in Australia are shopping online and very soon one out of every ten items will be purchased off ecommerce stores. By 2021, the ecommerce market penetration rate will reach 85.2%, and the number of people purchasing online is expected to be 22 million.
Australia’s ecommerce industry is expected to have a 15.1% revenue growth in 2019
This rate, however, is slowing down and by 2021 the revenue growth rate will be down to 7.4%.
As the number of online shops grows, so does the competition. Not only will online retailers contend with huge home-grown contenders and international players like Amazon, but they’ll also be competing to meet the increasing customer demands.
While there will be a growth in online shoppers, the rising business operation costs will keep the revenue growth in check.
Department and variety stores are the fastest growing ecommerce segment in Australia
Online department and variety stores saw a 29.6% growth in 2018, and this trend is continued in 2019. The graph below shows year on year growth rate for different market segments based on ecommerce statistics from 2017-19.
Source: National Australia Bank
Online Sales Growth Rate by Category (Australia)
Fashion has been one of the strongest ecommerce segments in Australia, but according to the recent online shopping statistics, it’s showing the signs of slowing down. As competition in the online fashion industry grows, more than 30% beauty and fashion shoppers make purchases only if there are promotions or special offers. (Source: Australia Post)
Fashion has been one of the strongest ecommerce segments in Australia, but according to the recent online shopping statistics, it’s showing the signs of slowing down. As competition in the online fashion industry grows, more than 30% beauty and fashion shoppers make purchases only if there are promotions or special offers.
Source: Australia Post
Third-party mobile and online payments are gaining popularity. Currently, 47% of online shoppers in Australia use credit cards to buy products online, and 29% of Australians use services like PayPal. Along those lines, third-party payment systems or E-wallets like PayPal, Alipay, or Amazon Payments are seeing a rise in the future. By 2023 about 37% of online payments will be processed via e-wallets.
Australian online shoppers receive 2.3 parcels per year
People are spending more on time shopping online, and are also buying more frequently. Australian shoppers who were over 18 received an average of 1.9 parcels in 2017. In 2018, the average number of parcels received increased by 21%, reaching 2.3 parcels.
Source: Australia Post
Australians are fast adopting international shopping traditions
Last year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales saw a 28% growth in online shopping. It’s now become the biggest online shopping week of the year. End of financial year sales also grew by 30% in 2018. These numbers show that Australians use these sales to save and enjoy online bargain hunting.
Source: Australia Post
Discounts and promotional offers are becoming the linchpin in driving sales. Employing an effective discount strategy and loyalty system has been proven to increase customer satisfaction.
65.5% online orders placed by Australians come with free shipping.
Shipping costs seem to be the deal breaker for most Australians. In 2018, 65.5% of total orders delivered had free shipping. In fact, 60% Australians will abandon a shopping cart if the shipping cost is higher than expected.
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