Home Business The Basics of Importing Cargo to Australia (and the World)

The Basics of Importing Cargo to Australia (and the World)

12 min read

Importing and sending goods all over the world can be done in many ways. A first-time importer and a newbie in international shipments will always feel hesitant to send their goods abroad. The fear of the many stories of lost, damaged, or destroyed shipments may hinder a small-scale online business from expanding its market reach beyond its borders. Before you choose a shipping service provider, however, you should be well aware of how shipping processes are done so you won’t confuse and overwhelm yourself with the many steps you didn’t know were involved. Remember that importing is a lot of work, and it’s more than just about waiting for your packages to arrive. In today’s post, let’s talk about the basics of importing cargo to Australia (and pretty much all over the world).

Three types of shipping

In the olden days, most movement of goods internationally was done via sea travel. But with the further development of aircraft in the previous century, what took months or, at worst, years at sea, now takes weeks with air freight. Further technological advancements meant we could even check where our shipments are in its current journey to its destination. Let’s discuss the three types of international shipment available to us now.

1. Postage. This type of shipping particularly uses postal services. This is probably the best method to use if you want a personal touch to shipping smaller packages like letters, birthday presents, postcards, and important documents. In addition, postage is the cheapest among the most common methods of shipping and moving items. Keep in mind, though, that sending your packages through postage services will take a longer time, especially in cases of sending items internationally. The minimum turnaround is two weeks, up to a month. If you have no strict schedule, this should be your first option.

2. Air freight. This is the most common type of shipping. If you are looking for a way to speed up the movement of your goods, air freight is the fastest among the three. As the name implies, with this method, several aircraft (depending on the country of origin) take your cargo quickly from point A to point B. As this method is the fastest and safest way to move your important items, this usually is the most expensive among the three modes of freight movement. However, what you pay in its shipment costs pays for itself as your items will reach its destination quickly and safely. If cost is no concern for you as an importer, then this is the best option for you.

3. Sea freight. Unlike air freight, the products you send internationally will be loaded on a ship or a vessel which will then travel to its destination over oceans. Sea freight is a good alternative due to its low cost and is the first option for clients moving huge cargo and heavy equipment. However, the caveat of choosing sea freight is, it is not as quick or as reliable as air freight, especially for urgent deliveries. As this method moves cargo on huge, lumbering oceangoing ships highly dependent on favorable weather conditions, moving items from point A to point B will take a couple of weeks before it arrives at its destination. Some retailers and online businesses opt for sea freight if moving their huge cargo on air freight will take a considerable investment on their part.

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The size of the package

Before you choose the right shipping method for your goods, you should be aware of the package you are going to import. Note that postage is not advisable for larger cargo. If you are planning to import products in big quantities or sizes, you are more likely to use air or sea freight. On the other hand, smaller items are best sent through postage for a more affordable cost. Always take into account the size of your package.

Import costs, customs duties, and other taxes

The cost of your package would depend on the size, the shipping method, and the location where it is coming from. If you are going to import to Australia, these are the three things you need to consider to estimate the expenses of shipping your items internationally. You are likely to spend on customs duties, import taxes, and even storage fees too, so make sure you brush up on your destination country’s policies. You can ask your shipping provider to give you an estimate of the cost so you can prepare the money and look for other options. The cost of shipping the package might be your biggest consideration in this case.

Can you avoid shipping delays?

This is a question suppliers and retailers will always ask their shipping providers before shipping their items internationally. However, apart from your supplier handling your cargo, there is very little that can be done about delays. Your shipping company might face unpredictable events during the shipment. These events can be acts of God such as typhoons, tsunamis, and other natural calamities. Damage to vessels and aircraft is also possible. No one can really predict when delays will happen. But to relieve you of any worry, most shipping providers provide their clients with their packages’ tracking numbers on top of top-notch customer support so you can keep track of your package anytime.

Importing cargo internationally is always a challenge for retailers entering the fray for the very first time. However, finding the right shipping provider and coordinating with them every step of the way—and asking the right questions as well—ensure your items will arrive safely at its destination.

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