How to Ship From China to Australia

How to Ship From China to Australia

By Nick Bartlett on January 2, 2022
Though China and Australia have been close trading partners for roughly half a century, there are still pitfalls most businesses face when moving goods between them. These are some of the things your business needs to know when shipping between the two.

So you want to ship goods from China to Australia. The good news is you’re far from the only one. There are tons of ways to accomplish that today.

Australia and China are close trading partners with longstanding and growing trade opportunities. As a savvy retailer, you can yield high margins on goods made in China and sold in Australia by taking advantage of inexpensive Chinese imports and pro-trade policies.

Read About CBIP's Adaptable 4PL Logistics Services

But just because you know a guy on either end doesn’t mean you have a supply chain. Though China and Australia have been close trading partners for roughly half a century, there are still pitfalls most businesses face when moving goods between the two.

Some of the many issues that can cost you time and money in shipping from China to Australia include:

  • Complex tariff and import laws

  • Language barriers

  • Lack of clear information

  • A fast-paced and competitive market

  • An overabundance of options

  • Transit Inefficiencies

  • Scams

As a business specializing in moving goods between China and Australia, we want to outline some of the things your business needs to know when shipping between the two.

What products can you ship from China to Australia?

In past decades, China became a global leader in producing electronics, cell phones, cosmetics, garments, shoes, furniture, and much more. Among the billions of dollars of goods shipped from China to Australia each year, top exports include:

  • computer hardware

  • electronic components

  • garments

  • household textiles

  • furniture

  • plastic products

China’s an industrial powerhouse. Pretty much any good you can dream up can be manufactured in the country and shipped to another ﹘ barring some legal restrictions.

Laws and restrictions

There are few laws limiting exports from China and most import restrictions in Australia are what you would expect: weapons, animals, drugs, heritage items, food, and plant life. It is worth noting that while some items aren’t prohibited for import in Australia, they may be prohibited for use in certain states. Make sure to look around for more specific regulations before shipping.

How much does it cost to ship from China to Australia?

China offers one of the cheapest and easiest import options among all Southeast Asian trading partners with the land down under. Australia’s robust bilateral trade agreements with China make it an easy choice due to low tariff prices.

Having secured Most Favored Nation (MFN) status with China in 2015, many consumer goods shipped from China to Australia have no tariffs imposed at all. In the case of some electronics and textile goods, a tariff of about 2% to 3% may be imposed.

Shipping costs will also fluctuate between logistics providers. In general, you can expect sea freight to cost only a couple of dollars per kilogram (if shipping in bulk). These prices can get a bit higher during peak times.

When evaluating quotes from potential partners, keep in mind that the price for any shipment will include not only the logistics fees but also:

  • Customs clearance costs

  • Local port charges

  • Delivery charges

  • Warehouse fees

  • Insurance

Did you know? 💡 At CBIP we can send you an itemized list of your shipping quote so you know exactly what you’re charged for. Don’t like something you see? We can work with your business to change any part of the process.

RELATED: How Can Supply Chains Become More Sustainable?

How long does it take to ship from China to Australia?

Receiving your product quickly and without unexpected delays is important for your company and your customers. Fortunately, China and Australia have enough of a trade history that delivery times are more or less predictable.

Shipping from China to Australia by ocean freight is the most common and economical method for shipping in volume. While air freight is beginning to take a larger foothold in the industry, it is still much more expensive and only a great option if you’re in a hurry.

While ETAs are always subject to change and extra time could be added during on-loading/offloading, here’s how long you can expect to wait for your order to ship from China to Australia by sea:

Shipping from Shenzhen

  • 11 days to Sydney

  • 13-15 days to Melbourne

  • 11 days to Brisbane

  • 30 days to Adelaide

Shipping from Shanghai

  • 13-17 days to Sydney

  • 18-20 days to Melbourne

  • 13 days to Brisbane

  • 28 days to Adelaide

Shipping from Hong Kong

  • 11-12 days to Sydney 

  • 14-22 days to Melbourne

  • 19-28 days to Brisbane

  • 28-30 days to Adelaide

No matter where you ship from in China, you can generally expect any air freight to be delivered within 12 days.

Tip 👉 Make sure your logistics partner offers real-time tracking for your order. Knowing exactly when to expect arrival will let you plan your sales with precision and manage customer expectations.

Who can I use to ship from China to Australia?

China is the world’s leading exporter of goods. There is no shortage of logistics companies and freight forwarders operating within the country. However, it’s a competitive and complex market and you need to be careful about which partner you select for logistics.

As a small business, it’s easy to default to a major express courier like UPS, FedEx, DHL, or Amazon. It’s a natural choice for many - their services are designed for businesses that don’t want to spend time planning their logistics options or customer service. They can do it all, so long as you can deal with their schedules and their prices.

However, if you want to get the best price deals your only other option is usually piecing together your logistics by yourself. That means you’re stuck finding your own freight forwarders, third-party providers, and warehouses.

It may seem like this leaves you between two imperfect options, and until recently those were all you had. But today, a new service is out there for businesses that want a little more control without having to take care of every little thing.

Fast, Reliable, and Affordable shipping from China to Australia

We created our business, CBIP, to provide a third option to businesses trying to grow fast. A service of the same caliber as express couriers without the massive price tags.

As a fourth-party logistics (4PL) firm, we create supply chains with unparalleled access to express couriers, freight forwarders, air and sea shipping, last-mile services, and warehousing. We do it by connecting with local logistics providers in our target regions focused on doing one or two things well. Then we match them to your business based on your specific timeline, price points, and other requirements.

We'd love to provide your business with our years of experience connecting supply chains through Southeast Asia, Europe, and North America growing fast and lean businesses. Send us your email today for a free, no-strings consultation and we’ll help your business with shipping in China and beyond.

About Author

Nick Bartlett

Nick Bartlett is CBIP’s director of sales and marketing. His expertise lies in marketing, supply chain management, and corporate retail experience. He honed his skills over 10+ years working across the Asia Pacific region and beyond.

Nick keeps a close eye on new markets and believes successful business operations come through value-based relationships.


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