If you’re shipping container from China to Australia, read this blog to learn about the costs involved as well as the main routes you can ship along. Plus, lease containers from vetted suppliers at the best rates on Container xChange.

The majority of Australia’s imports come from China. As important trading partners, the total trade value between the two countries grew to around US $80 billion in May 2022. This was driven mainly by Australia’s exports of iron ore and machinery. 

However, moving goods between China and Australia is not without its challenges, especially during peak season and Chinese New Year. This means you’ll need to be organized and plan in advance if you’re shipping cargo between these countries. On top of this, finding containers from reliable suppliers, at leasing rates that suit you can be tricky.

Luckily, Container xChange is here to help. We’re an online container marketplace for leasing and trading shipping containers in over 2,500 locations worldwide. We’ve got 50,000+ containers available from 1,500 vetted members

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What are the routes for shipping containers from China to Australia?

Although there are a number of shipping routes between China and Australia, here are the busiest and most popular ports to ship goods between the two countries. 

The main Chinese ports are:

  • Shenzhen (Nansha or Shekou) 
  • Qingdao 
  • Ningbo
  • Shanghai 

The main Australian ports are:  

  • Brisbane 
  • Melbourne 
  • Adelaide 
  • Sydney

Other Australian ports that ship to and from China include Fremantle, Hedland and Darwin.

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

If you’re moving cargo via sea freight from China to Australia, you can expect your container shipment to take between 30 and 40 days. On the other hand, express air freight takes around 3 days and regular air freight between 8 and 10.

The exact duration will depend on the size of the load, plus the route you choose. Other aspects that affect shipping times include the season and weather conditions. And don’t forget to factor in port congestion and possible customs delays too. 

Lastly, because you’re shipping from China, you’ll need to check if there are any Chinese holidays during the time of your shipment. The two biggest festivals to keep in mind are:

Chinese New Year: This festival takes place in the month of January, and lasts 8 days. This means a halt in production for the majority of Chinese suppliers and manufacturers. 

It’s best to secure your shipments by the end of November before the disruptions begin if you want to prevent delays.

Golden Week: Golden Week is celebrated every year from October 1 to 7. Be sure to get your shipments organized by early August, if possible.

Besides these major holidays, how you choose to pack your cargo into containers will also affect the overall shipping time. There are two different ways in which you can move your cargo: FCL and LCL. Let’s learn more about these in the next section.

Full container load (FCL) vs Less than container load (LCL)

So what does FCL and LCL stand for? We’ll break it down below:

Full container load: FCL means that your goods fill an entire 20ft shipping container or 40ft standard dry container. If you’ve got large cargo volumes, FCL will save you money. 

This is because FCL is priced at a flat rate. You’ll pay the same price even if your container isn’t completely full . So if you fill the container, you’re getting the best value for money.

Less than container load: LCL, on the other hand, is ideal for smaller shipments that don’t fill up a whole container. In this case, your goods are packed alongside other shippers’ cargo. 

It’s important to note that when shipping LCL, your goods must be consolidated at the origin port and de-consolidated at the destination port. 

What is the fastest and cheapest way to ship goods?

If you’re looking for the fastest way to ship goods from China to Australia, you’ll need to opt for air freight. 

Typically, air freight between China and Australia takes around 8 to10 days. However, this method of shipping is most suitable for small loads (between 150kg / 300 lbs and 500kg / 1102 lbs), as it’s pricier than sea freight. 

If you’ve got a larger cargo volume, or want the cheapest option for your shipment, sea freight is your best bet. As sea freight takes significantly longer than air freight, however, we recommend you plan well in advance in order to save both time and money.

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Shipping from China to Australia cost

If you’re wondering about the container shipping costs from China to Australia, it’s important to note that this is influenced by a variety of factors such as: 

Shipping stretch

The overall price you shell out for shipping depends on which stretch you opt for. Some ports have higher traffic volumes, so shipping to these ports is more expensive than shipping to smaller ports, with lower container throughput. 

Shipment size and weight 

Your cargo load and the size of the containers you need will also influence the price of shipping. Plus, whether you opt for FCL or LCL.

Time of year 

Depending on the time of the year you decide to ship goods, you could be paying vastly different sea freight rates. For example, shipping during peak season will be much pricier than shipping in low season. 

Ready to get the best one-way leasing deals shipping from China to Australia? Click below to browse and compare hundreds of offers that suit your criteria and budget right now.

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Shipping from China to Australia: Plan ahead and avoid delays

As a player in the logistics industry, you’ll know that planning ahead is crucial. Here’s how you can plan your shipment in order to avoid unnecessary delays and fines.

Find a reliable container supplier 

If searching for trustworthy container suppliers leaves you in a cold sweat, don’t worry. On Container xChange, you can connect with 1,500+ vetted members all in one place. What’s more, you can check their ratings and reviews on our website before deciding which company to choose. 

It’s time to stop worrying about shipping container scams and rest easy knowing you’re working with reputable suppliers only.

Find a trustworthy freight forwarder

Another important decision is which freight forwarder to select. The company you choose should find the quickest and cheapest route for your goods, as well as help you prepare the correct documentation, and organize storage.

Research trade and tax laws

Every country has its own tax and trade laws, so it’s best to familiarize yourself with these before you start moving cargo.

Luckily, with the , most goods imported from China into Australia are duty-free or have reduced tariffs.

Define incoterms

Incoterms stands for International Commerce Terms. These are set by the , and help to clarify the responsibilities of buyers and sellers in commercial trade transactions. 

Although using Incoterms is not mandatory, it makes the process a lot more clear cut, so that you can steer clear of any misunderstandings or disputes. 

Know the customs clearance rules

It’s crucial that you research the customs clearance rules for the country you’re shipping goods to. Otherwise, you could end up having your goods confiscated or paying hefty fines.

Track your shipment 

As a member of Container xChange, you can keep track of all of your containers in one place. Receive tracking alerts when a container requires your attention, and get notified about delays, rollovers and potential problems as they occur. So that you can plan accordingly. 

With xChange Tracking, it’s finally possible to avoid follow-up costs and prevent unnecessary disruptions. Now let’s take a look at how you can save on costs.

Shipping container from China to Australia: How to keep costs down

You’ll also want to keep the overall shipping costs down to a minimum, of course. Here are a few tips to help you do so.

Ship off-peak season

If you can, avoid peak seasons altogether. This means you’ll need to be organized and plan ahead. Shipping off-peak will mean much lower overall shipping costs.

Organize your documentation 

Make sure you’ve got all the necessary documentation sorted out ahead of time. For example, if your shipment arrives without the bill of lading, you could face fines or your shipment could be turned away at customs.

Here are the documents you’ll need to ship goods from China to Australia: 

  • Certificate of origin
  • Bill of lading
  • Commercial invoice
  • Letter of credit
  • Customs value declaration
  • Proof of insurance
  • Packing list
  • Customs import declaration

There’s also another way to save on costs, with the xChange Insights tool. xChange Insights allows you to access the latest one-way leasing rates and container trading prices anytime, from anywhere. Track prices monthly, weekly or even daily, the choice is yours! This way, you can spot a good deal as soon as it appears, and avoid being ripped off for containers.

Get shipping containers at the best rates on xChange

You’re almost ready to start the process of shipping from China to Australia. But before you get going, here are the four simple steps you’ll need to follow to secure containers on the xChange platform:

Define your requirements

Start by finalizing the type and size of shipping container you’ll need for your shipment. Also, make sure you have a price range in mind before you begin your search.

Browse containers for one-way leasing

Now that you’ve got your criteria defined, use our public leasing search to start browsing. You also can compare multiple container offers in one place to make sure you’re getting the best rates.

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Finalize the deal

Once you spot an offer you like, reach out to the supplier directly to negotiate the rates, per diem charges, free days and more. That’s right – no middlemen involved!

Make secure payments

Last off, it’s time to pay for your containers. Luckily, we take all of the stress out of payments with our xChange Wallet. It’s 100% safe. Keep track of all of your transactions in one place on our platform – convenience at its finest.

And to top it off, here’s a list of benefits you’ll get as a member of Container xChange:

  • Access 100,000+ offers in one place
  • Choose from 50,000+ containers in over 2,500 locations globally
  • Enjoy complete payment protection every time you pay for containers
  • View the reviews and ratings of all suppliers on our website

Ready to find out exactly how to get the best deals for your budget today? Click below to schedule your free demo with our expert team, and you’ll get a personalized tour of the leasing platform. Lease containers from reputable suppliers at rates that suit you now.

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Container shipping from China to Australia: Common FAQs

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

The exact cost of shipping a container from China to Australia depends on the size of the shipment, the route, as well as the type of cargo being moved. This be calculated based on your unique requirements.

What is the cheapest way to ship containers from China to Australia?

The cheapest way to ship goods from China to Australia is via sea freight. If you’re shipping bulky, large cargo loads, container shipping is much more economical than air freight. However, for smaller cargo loads, air freight is a much faster option.

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

For sea freight, shipping usually takes between 30 and 40 days. This is dependent on the route, the time of year (peak season or low season), and weather conditions during the time of shipping.