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Shipping from the US to Australia – Oceania Export Market Series

Updated: Apr 3, 2023

Australia, the largest market for shipping US goods in Oceania is a perfect market for many US manufactured goods. While US exports to Australia are not near their all-time high of $31 billion in 2012, 2017 still posted a respectable $24.6 billion.

The United States is Australia’s 3rd largest trading partner; therefore it represents a significant portion of imports to Australia and is a great market for shipping your goods.

The US signed into law the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement (AUFTA) in 2004 which went into effect in 2005. Trade has been gradually increasing since that time between the US and Australia. If you are new to Exporting, we suggest you read “Doing Business in Australia” provided by the US Commercial Service.

Top Imports from the U.S. to Australia include Cars, Delivery Trucks, Recreational Boats, Medical and Optical Equipment and Instruments and Medical Equipment, Planes and Helicopters, Aircraft Parts, Machinery including Farm and Mining Equipment and Tractors, Trailers, Vehicle Parts, Refined and Crude Petroleum, Computers and Related Electronic and Consumer Goods. Much of the heavy equipment and machinery shipped to Australia go into the mining and mineral extraction industry which is a big part of Australia’s export market. According to the USTR, leading food export categories from the US to Australia included pork and pork products, prepared food, fresh fruit, dairy products, and dog and cat food.

Ocean Freight from the U.S. to Australia

Shipping to Australia is mainly done through US West Coast ports as it is the most time and cost effective way to get goods to Australia. If you are in the Midwest, and looking to ship full container loads (FCL) or less than container load (LCL) to Australia, we can offer an intermodal solution by positioning ocean containers for FCL or LTL trucks at your door location for you to load and then ship it intermodal to a US west coast port such as Long Beach or Los Angeles and then exported to the ports of Australia. The largest (major) seaports of Australia are Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Fremantle and Adelaide. Many other smaller seaports can be used to ship specialized cargo using Breakbulk or RORO vessels.

Air Freight from the U.S. to Australia

If you are shipping Air Freight from the US to Australia, we offer door pickup and exports from major US gateways to the airports of SYD, MEL, BNE, PER, ADL among others.

Wood Packaging Requirements for Exporting to Australia

Australia’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources follows the ISPM 15 standard for solid wood packaging material and has very strict wood packaging import requirements that must be followed to avoid additional charges. Australia’s Biosecurity Import Conditions (BICON) defines the purpose and requirements to import any goods that contain wood or wood packing material. The U.S. exporter and Australian importer must be aware of the requirements and follow proper packing and documentation requirements.

These requires apply to coniferous (softwood) and non-coniferous (hardwood) raw wood packaging material. This includes pallets, dunnage, crating, packing blocks, drums, cases, spools/reels, bulk heads, load boards, pallet collars and skids.

Australia’s wood packaging requirements must:

  • meet the ISPM 15 bark tolerance requirements; and

  • have been subjected to an ISPM 15 approved treatment by an appropriately certified treatment provider or manufacturer and have been marked appropriately.

  • Be declared by the Exporter or Export Packer on one of the forms found on this link

The 3 options for treatment include:

  1. HT: heat treatment using conventional steam or dry kiln heat chamber to a minimum of 56º C for a minimum of 30 minutes,

  2. MB: methyl bromide fumigation

  3. DH: heat treatment using dielectric heat

What is ISPM 15?

ISPM 15 is the ‘International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures Publication No. 15 (2009): Regulation of Wood Packaging Material in International Trade’. It is the international standard for regulating the movement of timber packaging and dunnage through international trade and aims to prevent the global spread of timber pests.

For Project Cargo or Oversized or Out of Gauge (OOG) shipments to Australia, we offer Flatrack and Open Top Containers, Breakbulk and RORO solutions. If you have such shipments, we can offer a transloading solution in Los Angeles.

If you are looking to start exporting to Australia or an existing exporter looking for an alternative freight forwarder, please contact us today at (800) 874 4748 or request a quote to learn more about how we can offers solutions that meets your shipping requirements.



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