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🥇Shipping from China to Australia | Air & Sea Freight | 2022

What is the best way to ship goods to Australia ?

Due to the low labor cost and production cost compared to Australia, China appears relatively attractive for companies.
According to the Australian Trade and Investment Commission, in 2017, Australia exports A$ 110,4 billion to China which represents the first rank export market. The industry of supply chain and freight is essential for the country which represents almost 9% of Australia’s GDP.


Info SINO : we are aware about the importance of establishing a regular traffic between these two countries. SINO Shipping provide premium services between China and Australia.

Remark SINO : the 3 most important criteria for optimizing you freight are the time of transit, security, and price.



Necessary documents

First of all, be aware that without an authorization from the Australian government, you cannot perform international trade.

Now, let’s see the distinctive documents you need for Australia.

The Import License (if needed)

SINO Remark : You must understand that the Import License and the Import Declaration are two different documents. While the Import Declaration is always necessary for an import, the Import License is required only on some categories of goods.

If necessary, the Import License can be issued by the specific authority in charge of the type of goods that are aimed to be imported. Actually, 15 government agencies are able to grant an import License. We are detailing the six principal agencies that you may have to deal with to obtain this document below

The IL is providing commercial and financial details on the import process and the goods to be imported, also it informs about:

  • The importer
  • The exporter
  • The country of origin
  • The place of arrival and goods’ clearance
  • The supplier or manufacturer
  • The type of taxation and tax classification
  • Net and gross weight and quantity
  • Precise description of the products
  • The total price
  • The Incoterms
  • The payment method

The Import License Excerpt is resuming the important data written on the Import License or in the Simplified Import License.


The Certificate of Origin (CO)

The Certificate of Origin should come on top of the list when it comes of international trades documents. It is an official document, delivered by a government or a notary public, witnessing that the goods traded were obtained or manufactured in a country and precise area.


The Bill of Lading (BL) or Airway Bill

When you’re trading goods internationally, the Bill of Lading is an essential, like the Certificate of Origin. The CO testifies of the identity of your goods, while the BL is witnessing of the identity and information of your cargo, the payment from the importer to the carrier, and the issuance of the LC (Letter of Credit). The Airway Bill is the exact same document as the BL but is issued in case of an air cargo.

Here are all the details about the cargo contained in a Bill of Lading:

1 = Shipper
2 = Consignee
3 = Notify party
4 = Vessel No.
5 = Port of loading / discharge
6 = Place of receipt / delivery
7 = Containers No.
8 = Goods description
9 = Net weight
10 = Dimensions / volume

The Commercial Invoice

Customs will verify if the goods contained in your shipment are following your declaration with this document.

The commercial invoice must give all the information below, to be well-received by customs:

  • Identity of exporter and importer
  • Invoice number
  • Precise description of the products
  • Total and unit price in USD
  • HS code
  • Net and gross weight and quantity
  • Total FOB value
  • Total freight price

Packing List

In case of various products, the packing list is necessary to provide to customs. It should detail the HS code of the goods you’re transferring.

The Proof of Import

It is granted by customs officials on the last step of the customs clearing process, after that all the import documents have been evaluated. It is officialising the nationalization of your items in Australia.

Other Documents Required for Customs Clearance

  • The prescription of the Practitioner, in case of medicines imported by individuals
  • All other claimed documents, to meet precise legal requirements for the acceptance of your shipment
  • The MSDS document, if the goods are hazardous

Duties and taxes in Australia

Like the majority of the countries, Australia is using the Harmonized System (HS) of Tariff Nomenclature, to attribute an identification number to all goods. It’s a framework of numbers and letters, that is attributing a unique combination to each product. The combination is called a HS code.


The diagram below is explaining the meaning of a HS code:


SINO Info : Before any steps, you should know which HS code is corresponding to the goods you want to import. We advise you to determine it on this website: Otherwise, you can simply find the HS code directly with your supplier.

After finding out the HS code of your goods, you can determine the duties and taxes applicable to your shipment with this calculation scheme.


In Australia, there are 5 taxes that you will be dutiable when you’re importing goods from overseas. The taxes you will pay are based on the CIF value of your items :

  • The Import duties (II): CIF Value
  • The Tax on Industrialised Products (IPI): ((1+II) x CIF)
  • 2 Social Contributions, the PIS and the COFINS: (1 + ICMS x (II + IPI x (1 + II)))) / ((1 – PIS – COFINS) x (1 – ICMS)) x CIF)
  • The Value Added Sales Tax (ICMS): CIF + Cost IPI + Cost COFINS + Cost PIS + Other Costs

SINO Info: To find further information about duties and taxes in Australia according to your HS code, please check the official website: Customs in Australia – Free Trade Agreement Portal.

Customs contact in China

Official name: General Administration of Customs of China

Official Website: Chinese Customs Website

Customs contact in Australia

Official name: Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service

Official Website: Australian Customs website

The Customs Procedures in Australia

Therefore, the total value is the sum of:

  • The customs value of the goods
  • Customs duty payable
  • The amount paid or payable to transport the goods to their place of consignment in Australia
  • The insurance cost for that transport
  • Any other tax payable

Usually, the importer pay GST before the goods are released by Home Affairs. In the case that you are not registered under the deferred GST scheme then the GST has to be paid at the same time at the same place, and in the same manner as you would do for customs duty.

Note SINO : To clarify your situation about GST-registered business or organization, don’t hesitate to get in touch with SINO Expert !


Prohibited & restricted items

Remark SINO : If you have one of the following item, you should check directly with our SINO Experts. Some of those items are restricted or even totally prohibited, it is important to anticipate such shipment to avoid any problem.

Drug Contraband
Counterfeit Notes

SINO Shipping - Dedicated freight forwarder in Australia

Due to our attractive pricing & dedication, many customers trust our services and we thanks them. Stop to overpay the services and save money with our tailored package matching will all type of shipment, from small volume to full container, let us find the best and cost-effective option.



Ocean freight will be the best deal for you if :

  • Your suppliers are located near a major Chinese port
  • Your goods are bigger than 2 CBM
  • You’re not in a hurry to receive them

Remark SINO : SINO Shipping is an experienced China-based international freight forwarder, shipping from any cities in China to anywhere in the world.

Remark SINO : We made a special article about the freight from China, if you’re interested you can learn more about it here: Sea Freight China.

Australia, the largest country in Oceania, is a key country in the region Asia Pacific which is a member of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the Association Southeast Asians Nations (ASEAN).

The land is the 13th largest economy and the value of Australia’s export by sea represented around $228 billion in 2015.

In the following paragraphs, we are going to introduce the main ports in Australia.

Thanks to its geographical position and its foreign relation, in 2015, 1550 million tons of cargo went across its docks.

Major ports of Australia


The largest cargo port of Brisbane in Queensland which is ideally located in Asia Pacific Region. The first three destinations for Australia are located in Est-Asia and the value is constantly increasing.

SINO Plus : for this reason, we focus on ensuring regular traffic to the Port of Brisbane.


Freemantle Harbor is situated I the Perth Metropolitan Region, is the largest and the busiest port in this area. This geographical position is a huge asset and reinforced the fact that the location is a key hub of the country.

*For your information, we can handle shipment to the other ports like Melbourne, Sydney, Townsville, Port Hedland, Dampier, Gladstone…  we adapt our offer in a way to meet demand of our customers.

Ocean freight rates

If you are in a hurry to ship your products from China to Australia, shipping is not relevant.

Ocean freight is optimal for individuals’ customers or smalls enterprises which don’t make the time of transportation a priority. On the other hand, this means of freight is economically interesting. Indeed, the cost and high volume are the principal advantages.

In short, sea freight is recommended for regular traffic.

*As noticed above, SINO shipping proposes every kind of service for your needs.

Remark SINO : Regarding to your requirement, the shipment varies in price: storage, packing services, license agreement… we adjust our proposal to your projected spending.

The cost of operation will be inconstant, related to your needs. For instance, door-to port shipment and port-to-port don’t have the same fare.

*SINO Shipping is highly concerned with proposing the best solution for your budget

Sea freight transit times

Here are the usual transit times, for a China-Australia cargo:

From To Estimated Transit Time
Shanghai Brisbane 18-19 days
Shanghai Freemantle 17-18 days
Shanghai Melbourne 21-22 days
Hong Kong Brisbane 17-19 days
Hong Kong Freemantle 16-17 days
Hong Kong Melbourne 20-22 days
Shenzhen Brisbane 16-17 days
Shenzhen Freemantle 16-17 days
Shenzhen Melbourne 21-22 days
*Please be aware that those transit times are just indicative timing between China and Australia  



Air freight will be the most efficient solution if :

  • Your goods are smaller than 2 CBM and 200 kg
  • You’re in a hurry to receive/send the goods

Remark SINO : Air freight is not the most common freight method but has one main advantage: Transit times

Besides the sea freight, Australia is connected to other countries though its airports. Although the volume is less important, this manner of transport is usually use for high value products and perishable foodstuff. Altogether, there are 21 airports on the Commonwealth land.

Major airports in Australia


Kingsford Smith Airport or Sydney Airport, located in the South, is the busiest airport in Australia. Most of our operations from China to Australia go through Sidney.


Melbourne Airport is an important hub for Australian companies like JetStar Airways, Tiger Airways Australia and Qantas.


Brisbane is also known for the volume of freight. The Airport is a hub for cargo as well in Australia and could be a good option for exporting goods.

*As well as for sea freight, we guarantee a whole coverage for Australia to all principal airports of the country.

Air freight transit times

On door-to-door, 1 day is needed for your shipment to transit to Australia, when departing from China by cargo plane. To receive your items at your address, around 7/8 days are required, when transfering them via a regular air freight. With a courier air freight (express), ­3/5 days on average are necessary to provide the same transport performance.

Remark SINO : Please be aware that the transit time varies and is related to your budget. For instance, a direct flight is more expensive than a flight with stopovers. For your information, recall, in average, it will take between 5 and 8 days for your conveyance

Indeed, air freight transit rely on various criteria:

According to your needs, fast trip means costlier. On the other hand, if you don’t give priority to the transit time, you can flavor your conveyance with one or several stopovers. To sum up, the price will be highly related to the transit time and if you are in a hurry or not.


Other factors are made up of flight duration

Concerning air freight, we remind you that the flight duration is not the only element to think about.


In reality, you have to take notice of the only steps of the logistic chain :

  • Packing
  • Customs clearance
  • Delivery..

Air freight rates

*The price of your air freight will be calculated based on the chargeable weight of your items.

There are 2 different methods to calculate the chargeable base of your shipment, the first is the gross weight, and the second is the volumetric weight. The biggest weight value will be the one kept, to quote your freight

SINO Plus : We teamed up with international cargo airlines, to provide a full range of air freight services between China and Australia. Our agreements are enabling SINO Shipping to provide you Courier freight (express), or normal freight to all the Australian International Airports, at very competitive rates


* Your products will be differently charged for express services. The volumetric weight ratio will be 200 kgs = 1 CBM

SINO Plus : Like our ocean freight procedure, all your demand will be quoted individually, to tightly follow your budget. As every charges will be precised on the invoice, the transparency between us will be total.

Inland trucking in Australia

*If your address is not close to a Australian port or airport, you can request our trucking services for door-to-door deliveries.

Road freight could be a good solution when you have to carry commodities inside the country. Usually, for international freight, it’s conjoined with sea or air mode. Most of the time, it represents the last part of the process.

Freight insurance

Remark SINO : The price of the freight insurance will vary according to several points: your logistics needs, your commodity… Usually you will be charged  1 to 3% of the shipment + transport value. (what we call the CFR value).

The risk side of a freight is always a hot topic. A vessel or plane wreckage, terrible weather or malice leading to a theft are possibilities that shouldn’t be ignored. SINO Shipping partnered only with the most trustful insurers in the business, to provide extra coverage of your goods. When you subscribe, if damages are affecting your goods, you will be fully refunded.

Play it safe, if a supply shortage can be lethal to your company. A further security on your cargo should be always welcomed!

SINO Info : A well detailed article is available on our website, to go deeper on the insurance subject. You can check it here Freight Insurance.

Warehousing services

Freight and warehousing are strongly related. Indeed, warehousing or storage is essential in way to stock your commodities when flights are rescheduled for example. This part of the supply chain is crucial.  For several years, In Australia, the demand of warehousing is increasing. Regarding to IBIS World’s general warehousing industry report, the sector represents more than $5 billion.

SINO Info : You want further information about our storage service, check our dedicated page: Warehousing services.


Packing is essential to keep your products safe, indeed it will condition the whole logistics process who follow this crucial step. We arrange to have your goods cleared shipped to Australia.

SINO Info : You want further information about our packing service, check our dedicated page: Packing service.



Make a request and you will be contacted within 24 hours maximum


We guarantee very competitive price, ask us and compare !

Dedicated customs service

Do not hesitate to contact us for customs or administratives information

Multilingual team

We speak English, French and Chinese to avoid any communication issues

Tailored service

Small or big shipment, we can manage every request


We ensure and secure all our shipments, safety is our priority !

Recurrent questions regarding the shipping from China to the Australia

LCL: 300 USD /cbm FCL: 550 USD/20’: 750 USD/40’ Express shipping door to door (10kg): 460 USD

Average transit time by sea: 20 days Average transit time by airfreight: 7 days (daily direct flight) Express shipping door to door (10kg): 4 days

There are only 2 options, by sea or by air, it depends on how big the volume and the weight are, and then you will decide which shipping methods is more adequate. You must calculate the ration time/cost.

Duty levels vary from 0 to 10 per cent. Nevertheless, most goods are taxed at about 5% from China to Australia. Follow this link for a complete list of duty rates defined in the HS Code. You must pay AU$500 if you assume a rate of 5 per cent and a customs value of $10,000

No, they don’t immediately open your package without any reason. … They will only instantly check what’s inside of your package if: Your package has been damaged when it reached the Customs office or desk. The damages can include broken seals or plastic or any cover of your package.

When you make a shipping request, you’ll have to declare the value of your shipment. The value you enter on your request form is the value that will be declared at customs, so it is important that you declare accurately. If you declare too high a value, you may be assessed more taxes than you want to pay! If you declare too low a value, your declared value may be considered unreasonable and adjusted upward.

-Negotiate with multiple carriers -Get suppliers to use your shipping account number -Use packaging provided by your carrier -Consider a regional carrier -Use online shipping -Invest in prepaid shipping -Buy insurance from a third party -Factor in all shipping fees before billing customers -Consider hybrid services -Ask about association discounts

Interested in our logistics services? Need further assistance & dedicated information?

Our SINO experts answer within 48h !