Shipping and Removals in Australia

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Shipping items to Australia is a relatively easy process
Many reputable companies offer shipping and removal services to and from Australia, and expats relocating to Australia can import their household effects duty-free provided they’ve owned them for 12 months. Furthermore, many of the nation’s major cities are positioned on the coast, and most have ports that are efficient, well-managed and very familiar with receiving or sending container shipments. 

That said, the rule of thumb for shipping to a country as far for many as Australia is, is to avoid it unless it is absolutely necessary.

Shipping furniture to Australia

Although unfurnished accommodation is more popular in Australia, it’s still possible to find furnished accommodation; and expats will find countless shopping opportunities to stock up on household goods and favoured home furnishings. 

Expats that do decide to ship their goods to Australia will have to go through a number of procedures to do so.

If expats will be arriving in Australia separately from their packed goods (as is commonly the case when goods are carried by cargo ships), the goods are considered Unaccompanied Personal Effects (UPEs). Cars, car parts, bequeathed goods and commercial goods cannot be classified as UPEs, but pets can. Expats shipping UPEs must complete Form B534 (Unaccompanied Personal Effects Statement ).

If travelling with the goods, and these have a value of more than AUD 1000, expats will have to complete Form B650 (Import Declaration) instead of Form B534.

Shipping cars to Australia​

If planning on bringing a motor vehicle into Australia, expats will need to obtain a Vehicle Import Approval (VIA) and pay customs duty, although those staying in the country for less than 12 months may be exempt from these requirements.

Cost of shipping to Australia

Shipping, both by sea or by air, can be incredibly expensive. In many cases though, it’s possible to have the employer foot the bill for bringing goods across, or to at least set aside some sort of allowance for shipping personal items.

Shipments made by sea are generally less expensive than those by air, but those sent by air will obviously arrive much sooner than those sent by sea. It’s recommended that expats use a combination of both, shipping essential goods by air, and those less than necessary goods by sea.

Costs are dependent on the volume of goods shipped or their weight, and the distance the cargo must travel. It’s a good idea to solicit at least three quotes from various service providers to get a good idea of the going rates before deciding which to use.

Expats should be aware that shippers often tack on additional expenses for certain packing materials, handling and hoisting of excessively large items and certain processing requirements.

Furthermore, it’s a good idea to buy insurance from a company other than the shipping company used, to ensure reliable coverage on broken cargo.

Expats should plan to arrive in Australia at least seven days prior to the arrival of their goods to avoid high storage fees, but this isn’t a legal requirement; expats have up to six months to arrive in Australia after their goods touch down. 

Expats may also be asked to prove ownership of certain items by presenting receipts, insurance papers, etc. For new-looking electronic goods especially, it’s best to have these on-hand.

Shipping pets to Australia

Shipping pets to Australia can be a complex process and requires careful planning and documentation. Pets must be microchipped and have certain vaccinations. Only certain types of pets – namely cats, dogs and horses – from selected countries are eligible to be brought into Australia, while rabbits and birds can only be brought into the country if they are from New Zealand. Pets from some countries may be quarantined. Dog owners should note that some dog breeds, such as pit bull terriers, are considered "dangerous" and cannot be brought into Australia at all.

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