When you import goods from China to Australia, there are many shipping methods to choose from, such as sea/air freight and express delivery. In this post, I’ll explain their shipping time and cost in detail so that you can better choose your shipping.

How long does sea freight take?

Sea shipping time mainly depends on ports. For example, it takes 15-18 days from Shenzhen port to Sydney port, and around 22 days from Ningbo port to Sydney port. If you transport goods to some remote areas in Australia, the shipping time will be even longer.

The above delivery time is under normal conditions. If you meet peak season or Chines major holidays, the transportation time will become much longer. In particular, you should pay attention to the 7-day Chinese New Year Festival in Jan or Feb and the National day in Oct. If you do not arrange delivery in advance, it may cause delays.

How much does sea freight cost?

FCL and LCL have different charging methods.

FCL charges freight by container types and numbers, because FCL means that the entire container is only filled with your cargo. For example, from Ningbo to Sydney, the price of a 40HQ container is $450. If you have two containers of goods:

FCL sea freight fee = $450 x 2 = $900

LCL is charged per CBM, because your cargo is small and shares container space with others. For example, if you have a general cargo of 5CBM, also shipped from Ningbo port to Sydney port, your freight forwarder quotes you $20/CBM:

LCL sea freight fee = $20 x 5 = $100

Please note that this is only the price of shipping from a China port to an Australian port. If you want to deliver to your goods to your door, you need to pay import customs clearance fees and local delivery costs.

In addition, the sea shipping rate changes frequently. You need to contact your freight forwarder to get a real-time shipping rate. And you may find different shipping agents quote you various prices. This is because forwarders get agency prices from different shipping companies.

For some shipping quotes that seem very cheap, you usually need to pay extra port charges like THC fees. So, when asking about the shipping cost, you’d better ask clearly, and ask several freight forwarders for a comparison. Or contact us to get a reliable freight forwarder.

Jingsourcing can offer you real-time and competitive sea shipping prices

How long does air freight take?

Compared with sea freight, air shipping time is much shorter. For example, from Shenzhen to Sydney, it takes 1-2 days with a direct flight, and around 3 days for transit. If including the customs clearance time, it will take about 2-6 days. Please note that some airlines have flights every day, and some only have 3-4 flights a week. You can ask your freight forwarder to get the specific time.

How much does air freight cost?

Air freight charges by the weight of the goods. Here are two kinds of weights: actual weight and DIM weight. Freight forwarders will compare these two weights and charge the larger ones.

The DIM Weight = Total Shipment Volume (cm³) / 6000 = Total Shipment Volume (CBM) * 167kg

Suppose transport 750kg (5CBM) general cargo from Shanghai to Sydney by air, and the price is $3/KG. Then the calculation is :

  • DIM weight = 5CBM x 167kg = 835kg
  • DIM weight > the actual weight (750kg), so forwarders charge you by DIM weight.
  • Then the shipping fee = $3 X 835kg = $2,505

The above price is only airport-to-airport. If you want to deliver to your place, you also need to pay local fees in Australia, such as customs clearance, customs duties, and local logistics costs. So when the freight forwarder quotes, you have to ask clearly whether it is an airport-to-airport or an airport-to-door price.

And international air freight rates are updated frequently. It is recommended to confirm the price with your forwarder.

What is the transit time and cost of commercial express?

There are many commercial expresses to be used from China to Australia, including DHL, UPS, and FedEx. They usually take around 1 week to ship goods. The specific delivery time is related to the delivery distance. If you transport your goods by FedEx from Yiwu, it usually takes around 8 days to those places that are not very close to city centers in Australia.

The calculation of express cost is similar to that of air freight. It also charges the heavier one by comparing the actual weight and DIM weight. But the formula in express delivery is slightly different. You need to know

DIM weight = Total Shipment Volume (cm³) / 5000 = Total Shipment Volume (CBM) * 200kg

The minimum charging unit. For goods < 21kg, the charging unit is 0.5kg, like 12.5kg charged for 12.3kg. For goods ≥ 21kg, the charging unit is 1kg, like 22kg charged for 21.2kg.

The first weight and additional weight. The first weight is 0.5kg and the excess part is the additional weight. They have different charging standards.

Now let’s see an example. Suppose you have a general cargo of 70*30*40 (cm) and a weight of 13kg. You will send it from China to Australia by FedEx. And they charge you $23/0.5kg for the first weight and $6/0.5kg for the additional weight. Then you can calculate the express shipping cost as below:

DIM weight = 70*30*40 (cm)/5000 = 16.8kg

Actual weight = 13kg

DIM weight > actual weight (13kg), so the chargeable weight is charged by 17kg for 16.8kg.

The first weight is 0.5kg, and the additional weight = 17kg – 0.5kg = 16.5kg

Then the total express fee = $23 + $6 x 2 x 16.5kg =$221

The above price is quoted by freight forwarders. If you directly contact express companies, it may be more expensive. Now many freight forwarders cooperate with major international express companies. They can get a better price, which will be about 20%-50% cheaper than the official price, and the shipping time is the same as the official one.

In addition, forwarders can offer you other services like free packaging, warehousing, product inspection, etc., saving you a lot of time and cost of shipping.

Air/sea freight+ express shipping

Besides traditional sea/air shipping or express delivery, you can also choose a combined shipping solution: sea/air freight + express delivery to your door. In this way, when your shipment arrives at the Australian port, it will be cleared at customs efficiently and transported by express like UPS to your address.

About the combined shipping time,

  • Under air freight + express to your door, it usually takes 10-13 days.
  • Under the sea shipping + express to your door, it usually takes 40-50 days.

About the cost of combined shipping solutions, here I use an example to explain. If you buy 26kg general cargo from China and choose sea shipping + UPS delivery to your door in Sydney, and the shipping price is $2/kg, the total shipping fee = $2 x 26kg = $52

This combined shipping method is greatly suitable for Amazon FBA sellers. Because it is more cost-effective than express/air shipping and faster than sea freight. Please note that this shipping rate is also real-time. If you want to know the specific charges, you need to contact your shipping agents to get the latest quotation.

To sum up, sea shipping is the cheapest among all shipping methods. It is suitable for a large volume of goods that is not urgent to be received. Other shipping methods take a shorter time than sea shipping, but the price is also higher. So you need to choose the most suitable transportation method according to your current situation and budget.

As a leading sourcing company, Jingsourcing can help you source premium quality goods and solve any problems that occur. We also have long-time cooperative freight forwarders, so we can offer you competitive prices to ship your goods to your door.

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