Shipping from China to Australia—Everything You Should Know

Are you starting your shipping business and looking for the most cost-effective shipping solutions from China to Australia? Are you looking for an available transportation mode? Do you want to know the freight rate and the time it takes to import from China to Australia? Then, this article will introduce you to feasible shipping options. It aims to simplify your import business from China to Australia, saving you valuable time and energy.

How do you ship from China to Australia?

When Shipping from China to Australia, you have to follow some steps to get the goods to your destination more smoothly and successfully. Here, we will list them all for you:

Step 1. Know Your Import Rights

The first step to importing goods from China is to have your import license in Australia as an importer. It is legal for you to bring goods to Australia with an import license.

Step 2. Choose A Supplier

Select the right import supplier for you. You can choose your supplier online through various websites and social media or visit China to look for a supplier.

You can look for suppliers on various online platforms. Since each supplier charges the same price, we must consider whether these items are within the budget. Finally, these sites scan thousands of items to find the ones that match your search.

These websites are Alibaba, AliExpress, China Sources, HKDC, Made In China, and more.

Step 3. Goods Purchase

When do you need to buy the goods? When we find a reliable source, we can purchase them. Find the country and goods you want to import and make a deal with it. Before making the purchase, ensure there is a demand for these goods in Australia and you can profit from them. You need to buy a wide variety of goods, and sometimes, you will find that, at different times, a particular product has different qualities and different prices.

Step 4. Hire A Freight Forwarder

When you make your purchase, you can hire a Chinese freight forwarder to help you transport your goods. You must provide details of your willingness to travel from China to an Australian forwarder for a quote.

When you choose a transportation company that fits your needs, they will handle everything for you later.

Ways to Ship from China to Australia

Shipping from China to Australia mainly involves air, sea, international transportation, particular line logistics, and a combination of sea and air transportation.

  1. Air freight

Air transport, or air cargo, is when airlines transport cargo from one destination to another on regular flights or between two destinations. It generally follows international transportation methods to complete the transport of goods.

  1. Sea freight

Shipping channels have direct flights and transit. If it is a direct flight, you can start directly from the Chinese port and then to Australia, which is air transport; if transit, the goods will go to Hong Kong and then from Hong Kong to the Australian port, and then from the Australian port to the destination port.

  1. International Express freight

International express delivery requires a lot of logistics time, so sending goods to Australia through international express delivery is challenging. However, cross-border e-commerce offers an excellent way to solve the logistics problems: cross-border e-commerce can directly send goods to Australia through international express delivery.

You can also send them to Australia by international express delivery, EMS, or DHL.

  1. Special line logistics

Special line logistics is also a popular mode of transportation for cross-border e-commerce in Australia. This line usually goes from China to Australia, and the journey is by sea, not through land transportation between China and Australia. The time limit is much faster than land transportation, but the logistics cost is much higher. Of course, this is also because the domestic land transportation cost to Australia is relatively high, so the logistics cost is relatively high. For sellers to reduce logistics costs, choosing a suitable special line logistics is better.

  1. Air and sea freight combination

Combining air and sea is one of the most suitable ways to take the Australian particular line. In the first journey, sea transport is a mode of international express delivery, while air transport is a mode of international express delivery.

In this way, the advantages of Chinese logistics and express delivery companies can be combined,  achieving a relatively high time limit and reducing the loss rate. This method is very appropriate for products with high timeliness requirements. Some fragile, sensitive goods and other goods can meet the requirements. But the disadvantage is also more apparent: the price is more expensive.

Shipping Cost from China to Australia

Shipping costs from China to Australia depend on your cargo size and transportation choice.

The shipping costs vary according to the package weight and the destination country/region. For example, sending a large box to Australia costs more than sending a small box to Canada.

Shipping is usually cheaper, especially for cargo weighing more than 500 kg. The freight calculator estimates that a 20-foot container rental from China costs $1,700, and a 40-foot container rental costs $200,200.

According to Australia Trade, a cubic-meter tank costs between $150 and $250 per cubic meter, with the giant tank costing $250 per cubic meter.

Please note that these prices are the estimated prices from port to port. You will also need to consider the handling fees at both ends and other additional costs that may occur.

Air transport prices start at $5 per kilogram. However, the freight cost varies between the different carriers.

Shipping Time from China to Australia

Shipping time from China to Australia may vary by different modes of transport.

How long does it take to ship by sea?

Shipping time depends mainly on the port. For example, it takes 15-18 days from Shenzhen port to Sydney port and about 22 days from Ningbo port to Sydney port. Transporting the goods to some remote parts of Australia will be even longer.

The above delivery time is normal circumstances. If there is a peak season or major Chinese holidays, the transportation time will become longer. Particular attention should be paid to the 7-day Spring Festival in January and February and the National Day in October. If the delivery is not arranged in advance, it may cause a delay.

How long does the airlift take?

Air freight time is much shorter than sea freight. For example, a direct flight takes 1 to 2 days from Shenzhen to Sydney, and a transfer flight takes about three days. If the customs clearance time is included, it takes about 2-6 days. Please note that some airlines have daily flights, and some have only 3-4 flights a week. You can ask your freight forwarder for a specific time date.

What is the transportation time of the express delivery service?

Various express deliveries, including DHL, UPS, and FedEx, can be used from China to Australia. The goods are usually delivered in about one week, and the specific distribution time is related to the distance.

How Does Customs Clearance Work While Shipping From China To Australia?

When importing goods, you must ensure that the port or airport is permitted to land your cargo. You must provide information about your goods to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, and the Department of the Interior.

The required documents include:

  •  Certificate of origin.
  •  Bill of lading. 
  • Commercial invoice.
  •  Letter of credit.
  • Customs value declaration.
  •  Insurance certificate.
  • Packing list.
  • Customs import declaration.

The department then instructs your cargo to be out of biosafety control. You will be notified if you need further action, such as treatment, examination, or isolation, you will be notified. Some goods, such as drugs, chemicals, and agricultural products, require special permits to be imported. You may also need to isolate some animals and plants.


When you don’t know how to ship it from China to Australia, you can choose between these options:

  1. Size and weight of goods: Larger and heavier goods may be more suitable for shipping.
  2. Rush urgent: Do you need to go there as soon as possible? Air transport or express delivery may be the best option.
  3. Budget: If you want to save money, sea shipping can provide value for large goods, while rail shipping can be an intermediate solution.
  4. Customs and regulations: To avoid delays, ensure that your mode of transport complies with Chinese and Australian customs regulations.

Finally, to ensure a smooth shipping experience, no matter which method you choose, we recommend:

  1. Work with reputable freight forwarders: Experienced freight forwarders can guide you through the process to ensure compliance and timely delivery.
  2. Mail tracking: Modern technology allows for real-time monitoring. Keep updated to address potential issues.
  3. Insurance for your goods: Consider buying insurance, especially high-value items, to prevent loss or damage.
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