Shipping costs from China to Australia

Are you wondering how much does it cost when shipping products from China to Australia?

Are you worried about the effect of COVID-19 on these shipping costs?

It is well-known that buying wholesale from China is the best way for those international buyers. The suppliers there always provide high-quality products and good prices to the wholesalers.

However, along with the pandemic, many international traders have to decline their orders because shipping costs are increasing. Many Australian businessmen also are influenced by COVID-19.

In this blog, we will introduce you to the shipping costs you need to pay when importing goods from China to Australia. What’s more, you can learn the changes that happened under the impact of COVID-19 and so on. So, let’s start.

Table of Content

Chapter 1: How Does COVID-19 Influences Shipping Cost from China to Australia?

Chapter 2: What are the Shipping Costs from China to Australia Dependent Upon?

Chapter 3: How Much is the Shipping Cost From China to Australia?

Chapter 4: Shipping Process of Shipping from China to Australia

Chapter 5: Tips and Tricks to Save Time and Money in Shipping costs from China to Australia

Chapter 6: FAQs About Shipping Costs from China to Australia

Chapter 1: How Does COVID-19 Influences Shipping Cost from China to Australia?

With the COVID-19 pandemic in full swing, the shipping costs from China to Australia increased. Not only this, the shipping costs all over the world have increased.

How Does COVID-19 Influences Shipping Cost from China to Australia

However, the trade has not decreased at all. On the contrary, the orders have increased. Therefore, it is important to know the effect of COVID-19.

1. It Increases shipping orders in China port

COVID-19 has forced people to stay at home for the past 2 years. Along with more and more people having to work from home and lack of social activities, they find different ways of killing time.

Most people resort to online shopping. This is why the demand for Chinese products has increased a lot during the past few years.

It is a simple rule of economics. As the demand increases, the cost of the product/service in demand also increases. In this case, this rise in demand affects the price of China to Australia shipping and increases it.

2. It causes container shortage Issues globally

The COVID-19 pandemic did not come gradually, it spread overnight. This is why when the pandemic hit, the shippers did not bring many containers back to Asia.

They thought that the demand for goods will decrease and they won’t need many containers. The increased demand for goods further led to the shortage of containers.

What’s more, while the pandemic, many countries cut the connections with outside, for example, as the most affected country in the beginning, China stopped nearly all the transportation to overseas countries.

After the end of the lockdown, there were already stockpiling a lot containers to ship.

These are the main reasons that the container shortage issue happened in China, and those businessmen who need to bring their goods into Australia paid a lot effort to get them back.

3. It causes port congestion in many Chinese ports

It causes port congestion in many Chinese ports

Keeping the pandemic in view, a lot of countries are undergoing lockdown measures.

Businesses have suffered a lot, some of the warehouses are either fully closed or partly closed. There are a handful of manufacturers and retailers that have said no to pick cargo from the port.

Another reason for port congestion is the reduced workforce. Fewer people on the ports also disrupt the working at the ports. Cargo is loaded late or taken off late, the entire supply chain is badly affected.

4. Many ship operators have to change their crew

In light of the pandemic, the immigration and health authorities have put many restrictions on the crew members. The number of people on the port, the number of working hands-on the cargo ships all have been reduced.

Less people on board means less helping hands. The cargo takes longer to load, the efficiency of people decreases and it causes delays.

There are many travel restrictions in place now which were never there. Seafarers are not allowed to get on ships anymore. Countries are not allowing people to enter without vaccination of the COVID-19 virus.

Freight forwarders are working hard to get everyone vaccinated in time. Before importing/exporting, it is important to check the trade restrictions of the particular country.

5. It Increases the difficulty of customs clearance

It Increases the difficulty of customs clearance

There are many formalities when it comes to imports and exports. Custom clearance is already a difficult task. With the pandemic and new restrictions, it gets difficult.

The best thing is to keep all the documents required ready and at your disposal. In this way, the custom clearance process can be made easier.

To keep human contact minimum, digital custom clearance is also being seen. Though digital and remote management of the clearance process, everything can become simpler.

Goods will be able to reach on time, there will be less human error involved and the health of the people will also be protected.

Chapter 2: What are the Shipping Costs from China to Australia Dependent Upon?

1. Whether you are sending through the ocean or air transport

The first thing to consider when you are calculating the cost of moving goods from China to Australia is the mode of transport. The cost will largely be affected by whether you are sending goods by air or ocean.

The advantage of air transport is that you can get goods much faster than sending them by the ocean. But, it will cost you much more. This in turn increases the total cost of imports.

What are the Shipping Costs from China to Australia Dependent Upon

On the other hand, shipping by the ocean is going to be cheaper. Especially when we are talking about China and Australia. Both have ports and this makes directly shipping much easier.

The presence of ports greatly reduces the shipping charges from China to Australia.

2. The type of goods you are selling

Another big consideration when calculating China to Australia shipping charges is the type of good. Some goods are FRAGILE and need to be handled with care.

For the shipment of these goods, you might have to pay more. They need to be packaged properly and send in high-quality cartons.

For goods that are standardized and not very fragile, the cost might be reduced. When sending goods in bulk, the cost is again reduced.

If you are sending cargo on a ship that has the cargo of other manufacturers and exporters too, the cost will be reduced. This is because everyone will be sharing the overhead cost.

3. The size and shape of your goods

The size and shape of your goods

The size and shape of the goods being sent greatly affect the rates of shipping from China to Australia. Larger and heavier packages are on the expensive side. It not only takes up more space, but also more money is also required.

 Packaging plays an important role in this. The dimensions, weight, height, length etc of the package needs to be optimized keeping in mind the type of goods being packaged.

It is also important that you hire professionals to pack your goods. If you don’t and stacks boxed haphazardly, fewer goods will take up more space on the ship. This increases the shipping costs from China to Australia.

4. The type of delivery you opt for

Most importers overlook the type of delivery and how it affects the shipping cost from China to Australia. There are 4 different delivery options that you can have.

  • a. Door to door Delivery

In this form of delivery, the freight forwarder has the entire responsibility. The goods are picked from the warehouse and are delivered to the final destination of the importer. This includes all charges and also has trucking added to it.

You don’t need to worry about anything. Only the cost is to be paid by the exporter or importer (as pre-decided). The final charges are added to the invoice.

The type of delivery you opt for

  • b. Port to port delivery

Port to port delivery is very economical in many ways. But, it is recommended for people who have prior experience in shipping and picking up goods from terminals and ports in Australia.

In the port, your freight forwarder will load all the goods that picked up from factory. Then, what you need to do is to unload your goods in the port that located in your country.

The goods will be delivered according to the delivery information is given by the supplier or your freight forwarder.

  • c. Port to door delivery

To make things easier for importers, Chinese companies provide this service. The freight forwarder is involved only after the goods reach the destination port.

He/she is responsible to transport the goods from the destination port to the final location of the importer.

With this delivery service, you still only need to stay at the destination and wait for the packages.

  • d. Door to port delivery

For international shipments, door to port shipment is one of the most cost-effective and efficient ways to deliver goods.

In this, the cargo/goods are picked from the manufacturers/exporters location. They are then delivered to the port designated by the company/manufacturer.

This is helpful in many ways. The freight forwarder must help you with the paperwork. They also help you with customs clearance.

Chapter 3: How Much is the Shipping Cost From China to Australia?

How Much is the Shipping Cost From China to Australia

Many different factors affect the rates of international shipping from China to Australia. These include the obvious ones like custom clearance and not so obvious costs like full or half container.

In this chapter, we will show you what costs are needed to be calculated when shipping from China to Australia.

1. Factory to port transportation cost

The shipment process can start once the production of the goods is done. The buyer or representative of the buyer (sourcing agent) checks the goods. If they are approved, the supplier is responsible for arranging the transportation of the goods.

Depending on the contract, the supplier can take responsibility for sending the goods from his/her warehouse to the port.

To give a rough estimate, the cost for the transport of a full load capacity container of 20” height is around $470.

The best thing about buying wholesale from China is that most of the export manufacturers are placed near the port. This reduces distance and time, and the total cost of shipping will be less.

If you are doing FOB, the in-land or local transportation fee would be included in your contract. The supplier includes this price and gives you a quotation. Be sure to check it.

A rough estimate of the factory to port cost can be anywhere between $50-$500 (mostly included in FOB cost).

2. Export clearance in China


The cargo will not be loaded on the ship until and unless you have export clearance. Mostly, the sourcing agent or the supplier is responsible for this process. This is because they have better knowledge about the clearance process in their country.

For this, proper documentation is required. Almost 10% of all the exports are checked by the Chinese Customs Authorities. A higher percentage is checked for imports. If the documentation is not in order, you can be charged a fee of more than $156.

The fees for the customs clearance of goods are also charged and increase the total shipping costs from China to Australia.

The most cost-effective and efficient way is to ask the supplier to include it in their fees. They are aware of the process and it is their daily work. So, it is best left to the experts.

3. Freight cost

The freight cost is the total cost of shipment to the port of destination of the buyer in his country. Different countries have different freight costs. This depends on the distance, weight and time required for the cargo to reach.

Talking about the shipping costs from China to Australia, the average shipping cost of a full 20” container is $688-$780 from the Shenzhen port to the port of Sydney.

The thing to remember is that when the local charges and freight costs combine, the overall cost can increase to almost 4 times the actual cost. This is the “kickback” rate and is very common.

When the freight cost is very low, the local charges end up being higher. This trick is used to manipulate the importers into thinking they are paying less and they pay more.

Doing your homework well is important so that you know what you can be charged overall.

4. Insurance of cargo

Insurance of cargo

EJET always recommend you set aside some money for insurance. If your cargo is not insured, you can’t get any sort of compensation for any mishap. There are so many things that can go wrong.

The supplier might have used sub-standard cartons to ship goods. There can be any natural disaster and you can lose your entire shipment.

The insurance rates are pretty good. You need to look for the proper authority to get insurance from. According to experience, insurance companies don’t take long in settling claims.

All you need are proper photographs and the information about your goods and damage and you are good to go. The rate for calculating insurance is 0.2% of the total value of cargo.

The thing to understand is that not everything will be covered in your insurance. What you need to do is to check what kinds of situations are not involved into the insurance policy, and sign the contract carefully.

5. Delivery of documentation

An additional fee that the buyer will incur in the sea freight rates from China to Australia is the documentation fee. This includes the fee for coming up with the following documents and more:

  1. Bill of Landing
  2. Packaging List
  3. Commercial Invoice
  4. Certificate of Origin

6. Port charges in Australia

Once your goods reach the port in Australia, there are different costs there too. Those will be paid in Australian currency. Do check that the supplier covers these costs or not.

Port charges in Australia

These are usually minimal and include the off-loading charges. In certain cases, the goods need to be stored in the warehouse for a while and this cost is separate.

7. Transportation charges to the Destination

The last leg of the journey is when the cargo/goods are transported to the destination of the buyer.

Mostly it is done through trucks or cars. Depending on the agreement between the exporter and importer, it is already decided who is responsible for the final transportation.

This cost can also influence China to Australia shipping rate. The best thing is that the person importing goods in Australia should take this responsibility.

The reason is that they are the locals there. This will be an advantage as they would already know people working in the field. This can result in lower transportation charges to the final destination.

Chapter 4: Shipping Process of Shipping from China to Australia

1. Get hold of a freight forwarder in China

We don’t realize, but the best way to get goods from China to Australia is to involve a freight forwarder. Even though it looks like an additional cost, it is not.

They are experts who are well aware of the import/export process. They know all the costs, requirements and legalities of the process.

Shipping Process of Shipping from China to Australia

When you hire a good and reliable freight forwarder, you will be stress-free. The buyer can’t manage things on their own if he/she is not physically present in the country. Going for a freight forwarder in China will ensure that you will get the best price and smooth shipment of goods.

2. Ask for a Shipping Quote

Once you are done with selecting a freight forwarder, you need to take a quote. To make sure you get the best price on the market, we advise choosing 3-4 freight forwarders. Take a shipping quote from each of them. See which one suit you best.

The price will depend on the goods being shipped, load, budget and how quickly you need the goods delivered.

3. Get freight insurance on your Cargo

As mentioned earlier, ensuring your cargo is important. Many things can happen. So, you need to know you are covered. If you ask the freight forwarder, they can get you the best insurance. Or you can get it yourself.

There is no hard and fast rule or it is not required legally to get it done. But, the wise decision is to go ahead with it. When you are getting insurance, be sure to read properly which elements are included in it and which are not.

Get freight insurance on your Cargo

Mostly, all companies provide insurance against natural disasters, the cargo being lost and accidents at sea. Things like ruining of material because of poor packaging is not covered in any type of insurance.

4. Custom clearance needs to be arranged

The worst thing that can happen is the goods getting stuck at customs. Also, this happens very frequently. Almost all the importers/exporters have faced difficulty at custom clearance in their life.

Until and unless your goods and all documentation are in order, the customs officials don’t allow the movement of goods from and into the country.

To make sure this does not happen, label and package the goods properly. Keep all documentation at hand and ready. See that the documents are updated. Be sure to have all the documents available.

Chapter 5: Tips and Tricks to Save Time and Money in Shipping costs from China to Australia

By now you must have got a good idea about the shipping costs from China to Australia. The freight charges make up the biggest chunk of sea freight rates from China to Australia.

The best way is to save money on the transport costs. For this, there are a few tips and tricks you can follow to reduce your transportation costs. In turn, the total shipping costs from China to Australia will decrease.

Tips and Tricks to Save Time and Money in Shipping costs from China to Australia

1. Make sure to get the shipping done yourself for larger cargo

When importing goods from China to Australia, most people leave the shipment to the supplier. This is the biggest mistake an importer makes. NEVER leave bigger shipments to the supplier.

The best way is to pick a freight forwarder yourself. This will give you autonomy and authority over the shipment.

Choosing the right shipping company can help you forget the problem of your shipment. You should not book in mid-season or peak season. This will increase costs. It is even possible that the good shipment companies are all booked.

2. Avoid rush hours and plan beforehand

International transportation depends on a lot of things. When booking shipments, planning is crucial.

The time of delivery of the goods is critical. If you need goods quickly, you will go for air transport. If you have time and have planned properly, you can go for ocean transport.

Keep a track of the holiday schedule in China. This will allow you to plan shipment properly. You can save a lot of time as well as money if you do it right.

Avoid rush hours and plan beforehand

In peak season, it takes longer for the cargo to reach and it is almost double the usual price. The shipping costs from China to Australia generally increase in the following period:

  • Chinese New Year

There is a total shut down of factories and warehouses and agencies at this time. This can result in the unavailability of the workforce or very high rates.

  • Dragon Boat Festival

There is a 3-day closure of all businesses and markets on this day

  • Golden Week

This is an entire week of holidays. The season rates spike drastically at this time.

  • Holiday Shopping Season

For the ocean freight, the months of high prices are July, August, September and October. For airfreight, the months are October, November and December.

From this, we can see that March and April and best. The New year just ends around this time and the price rate is flatter.

3. Pick a reliable logistic or sourcing partner

Finding a reliable sourcing or logistics partner is not very easy. There are so many scammers out there that it gets difficult to select one.

Be sure to work with logistic or sourcing partners who have multiple freight companies, truckers and steamship lines at their disposal. Check the previous clients, look at their reviews and get in touch with them if possible.

4. Try to go for a hybrid transport system

Try to go for a hybrid transport system

At times, going for air freight is expensive and transporting by sea can take time. For these situations, you can go for a hybrid transport system. The three modes of transportation can be combined to come up with a hybrid system.

The goods are mostly transported to the port or airport through road transport like trucks etc.

One they reach the destination, they are send through air or sea transport. From there, the goods can be moved to the final destination through railroads or trucks again.

In this way, you can mix and match the most economical forms of transport to make a system yourself. The carrier is legally responsible for these modes of transport and it is not the duty of the importer.

5. Package wisely

Most of the companies allow the suppliers to do all the packaging and all. This seems to be cost-effective and time-saving.

This is because the suppliers are aware of the product dimensions, weight and specifications. This makes them the best people to have the responsibility of packaging the goods.

Even if you leave all the responsibility on the supplier, you should be involved in the process.

Ask them how they are packaging it, what materials they are using and how they think about the quality of packing. After all, it is your package and you need to know that it is done perfectly.

Chapter 6: FAQs About Shipping Costs from China to Australia


1. How do I calculate the shipping costs from China to Australia?

The above blog highlights all the important costs that you have to consider when shipping from China to Australia. All these costs need to be calculated and added to the final cost of the cargo.

Some of these are already included in the invoice and some are not. So, you need to be aware of these concepts.

2. When is it Important to get cargo insurance for the Goods?

There is no limit on when you can get your cargo insured. It is not required legally. But, it is very important to get your cargo insured.

This is because the cargo will pass through a lot of steps. There is loading/unloading. The cargo goes through different inspection steps etc.

3. What documents are required to ship from China to Australia?

A detailed list of the documents required has already been discussed in the blog on how to import from China from Australia. The list of documents is provided below.

  • Certificate of Origin
  • Commercial invoice
  • BOL (Bill of Landing)
  • Packing list
  • Notice of arrival
  • Customs bond
  • Import license
  • Documents for Commodity Specification
  • MSDS Document – this is required when shipping any type of hazardous goods

4. How long does it take for goods to arrive in Australia?

On average, it takes anything between 12 or 63 days for the goods to reach Australia port from China. It depends on the period and your packages. If you need to ship products in the hot seasons, you need to wait.

That’s also the reason why many importers always choose off season in China for shipping their products.


There is so much that goes on when you are shipping goods from China to Australia. You need to make sure you have the proper documents like import license, custom clearance etc.

If not, the total cost of shipping from China to Australia can increase. The COVID-19 pandemic is indeed affecting the shipping costs from China to Australia. The thing to realize is that this effect is not always negative.

To know more about the shipping process and the import duties from China to Australia, check the relevant blogs. To make things easier, we at EJET are there for you. Message us today to get in touch and leave your sourcing worries to us.