Shipping From China to Australia:
Air, Sea & Container Freight

How much does shipping cost from China to Australia?

Many factors go into the cost of shipping from China to Australia, including location, size, and shipping mode: sea FCL, sea LCL, air, or express. This guide will give you pricing estimates for each shipping mode from popular ports in China to popular ports in Australia.

Sea Freight from China to Australia

Ocean/Sea Freight FCL

Container shipping rates from China to Australia: 40’ container

Shipping from Shanghai (CNSHA Port)Shipping from Ningbo
(CNNGB Port)
Shipping to Sydney (AUSYD Port)$1,478$1,478
Shipping to Melbourne (AUMEL Port)$1,478$1,478
Shipping to Brisbane (AUBNE Port)$1,478$1,478

The quotes on this table are port-to-port peak season FCL shipping average rates.

Average Price per Month: FCL from China to Australia

Price data from 2018

 

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Ocean/Sea Freight LCL

Shipping Rates from China to Australia: LCL

Shipping from ShanghaiShipping from NingboShipping from Shenzhen
Shipping to Sydney$705$705$755
Shipping to Melbourne$707$707$757
Shipping to Brisbane$725$725$775

These rates are door-to-door shipping averages for a load of 200 kg/1 cbm

Air Freight from China to Australia

Air Freight

Shipping rates from China to Australia: Air Freight

Shipping from ShanghaiShipping from NingboShipping from Shenzhen
Shipping to Sydney$1,028$991$1,058
Shipping to Melbourne$1,045$992$1,038
Shipping to Brisbane$997$967$1,052

These rates are door-to-door shipping averages for a load of 200 kg/1 cbm

Air Freight Costs per KG

When you’re shipping air, the price per kg decreases the larger your shipment’s weight:

Chargeable weight10 kg100 kg300 kg
Price per kg$45.83$8.08$4.97

Want to learn more about how chargeable weight affects the price of your shipment? Check out our free universal chargeable and volumetric weight calculator.

Express Shipping

Shipping Rates from China to Australia: Express

Avg price for door-to-door shipping for a load of 50 kg/0.2 cbm: $1,049

Shipping freight under 100 kg from China to Australia is cheaper– and faster– by express. Around the 100 kg mark, air freight becomes the cheaper option:

China to Australia Shipping Time

How long will it take to ship from China to Australia? Your shipment’s transit time will be impacted by location, shipment size, and season. Use the following table for timing estimates for each shipping mode from China to Australia.

Ocean/Sea freight time from China to Australia

Port to PortDoor to Door
Sea Freight (FCL)13-25 days22-26 days
Sea Freight (LCL)16-28 days23-28 days
Air Freight3-6 days6-12 days
Express*––1-4 days

* Express freight is always door to door

How to Ship from China to Australia

If you have questions about shipping from China to Australia, you’ve come to the right place. This guide will cover:


  1. Freight from China to Australia: How to choose the fastest and cheapest way to ship

  2. When are the cheapest times to ship from China to Australia?

  3. What are incoterms and how do they affect freight prices from China to Australia?

  4. What customs duties and taxes will I owe when shipping from China to Australia?

  5. Do I need insurance to ship from China to Australia?

  6. What paperwork do I need to ship from China to Australia?

  7. How do I ship from China to an Amazon FBA Warehouse in Australia?

  8. Busiest Shipping Ports in China

  9. Busiest Australia Shipping Ports


Freight from China to Australia: How to choose the fastest and cheapest way to ship

When you’re shipping from China to Australia, you can choose from one of four modes: FCL sea freight, LCL sea freight, air freight, or express. Here are key factors for each mode:

FCL Sea Freight from China to Australia

FCL, or full container load, means your goods fill an entire container, either 20’ or 40’ long. If you are shipping at a high volume, you’ll save time and money by shipping FCL. Pricing for FCL is done as a flat rate, regardless of whether or not your container is completely full. Learn more about FCL here.

LCL Sea Freight from China to Australia

LCL, or less than a container load, means your goods do not fill an entire container, and will be shipped along with other boxes or pallets. Note that when you ship LCL, your goods will need to be consolidated at the origin port and deconsolidated at the destination port. That’s why LCL shipping takes a few days longer than FCL.

Air Freight from China to Australia

Shipping by air is generally faster but more expensive than shipping by sea. For help choosing which mode is right for your shipment, use our air vs. ocean comparison calculator.

Express from China to Australia

When you have a small shipment and need it delivered as quickly as possible, you might consider express.

 

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When are the cheapest times to ship from China to Australia?

Freight rates, especially FCL sea freight and air freight rates, are affected by seasonal factors. When shipping from China to Australia, remember to take into account peak seasons in both China and Australia.

Peak seasons for shipping from China to Australia

EventEffects on ShippingWhen
Chinese New YearFactories and facilities shut down for several weeks of celebrations, causing price spikes and delaysLate January/early February (exact dates follow the lunar calendar)
Golden WeekThis week-long festival exacerbates holiday season price spikes and delaysOctober 1st and the week following
Dragon Boat FestivalBusinesses typically close for three days, causing potential delaysJune (exact dates follow the lunar calendar)
Holiday Shopping SeasonPrices rise steadily over a period of months as businesses prepare for holiday shoppingOctober-December(air), July-October (sea)

Use these tips to stay on track when shipping during peak season.

To see in-depth research on how pricing fluctuates throughout the year, check out the Freightos Baltic Index.

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What are incoterms and how do they affect freight prices from China to Australia?

When you’re comparing freight quotes, note the level of service the freight forwarder is offering.

For example, if you’re shipping from Shanghai, China to Sydney, Australia, you’re going to want to ask your supplier about the cost difference between shipping from the supplier’s warehouse in Shanghai– which means using the EXW incoterm– and shipping from the port of Shanghai(CNSHA) – which means using the FOB incoterm.

Prices for FOB are typically lower, but shipping FOB doesn’t mean your total costs will necessarily be lower. You might make up the cost by paying your supplier to bring your goods to port. When comparing prices, take all your costs into account.

Note that some incoterms, including FOB, are used for sea shipping only.

Learn all about incoterms here.

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What customs duties and taxes will I owe when shipping from China to Australia?

When importing from China to Australia, you will need to pay Customs Duty and GST before your goods are released into the country. These costs can be significant. Researching your costs early can keep you from getting caught by surprise.

How the Customs Process Works

When goods arrive at port, customs officials will first check to make sure all your paperwork is in order, and then calculate the amount of duties owed and collect payment. After payment, goods will be released.

To handle customs clearance, you can hire your own broker, or use the brokerage provided by your freight forwarder. If you book on Freightos, you can use our brokerage services as well.

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Do I need insurance to ship from China to Australia?

When calculating your shipping costs, don’t forget to protect yourself in case your goods are damaged or lost. You can do this through your freight forwarder or a third party insurance agent. Insurance costs are typically around 0.3% – 0.5% of your Commercial Invoice Value, which is the amount you paid for the goods.

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What paperwork do I need to ship from China to Australia?

When shipping freight from China to Australia, make sure to get all your paperwork, such as the Commercial Invoice and Bill of Lading, in order.

Use our paperwork checklist here to make sure all your paperwork is in order before you ship.

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How do I ship from China to an Amazon FBA Warehouse in Australia?

As an Amazon shipper from China to Australia, you’ll need to consider issues of timing and storage, as well as choosing the right forwarder. Check out this guide to learn more.

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Shipping ports in China

Your factory, supplier, or freight forwarder will likely advise you which port is best for your export from China, based on location, ease of customs clearance, transit time, port volume, and any relationships or agreements between the factory and the port.

If you’re choosing a port on your own, important factors to consider include location, cost, and transit time. Here are the top ports for exporting from China:

Port Name: Shanghai

Port code: CNSHA

Port Name: Ningbo

Port code: CNNGB

Port Name: Shenzhen

Port code: CNSZX

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Shipping ports in Australia

These are the top ports for importing into Australia:

Port Name: Sydney

Port code: AUSYD

Port Name: Melbourne

Port code: AUMEL

Port Name: Brisbane

Port code: AUBNE

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Key Information for Freight Shipping from China to Australia

Average price for an FCL container from China-Australia (peak season): $1,478

Average price for sea LCL (load of 200 kg/1 cbm): $729

Average price for air freight (load of 200 kg/1 cbm): $1,019

Average price for express (load of 50 kg/0.2 cbm): $1,049

Tips for Keeping Down Costs and Shipping Time from China-Australia

  • Book in Advance. Shipping by sea is the cheapest, but also takes the longest. Booking in advance when you can saves you money– and cuts out the stress if delays arise.
  • Ship off-peak. When carriers get busy, both shipping prices and transit times go up. Ship during off-peak seasons whenever you can.
  • Get your documentation in order. Having your documentation in order can make all the difference when it comes to clearing customs quickly.
  • Know your HS Codes. A lot of shippers are surprised by how much customs fees can affect business costs. Do your research so you can budget effectively.
  • Compare quotes from different providers. Quotes can vary, so check out offers from different providers before making a decision.
  • Understand what’s included in your quote. Is your quote port to port or door to door? What service does it include? Know what you’re paying for to avoid getting hit with surprise fees.

FAQ for Shipping from China to Australia

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

It depends on which shipping mode you use. Shipping express can take as few as 1-4 days – but express is the most expensive mode, and is not suitable for large shipments. Air freight shipping will take about 6-12 days. Sea freight shipping takes 22-26 days, but is the most affordable if you can wait.

How much to ship a container from China to Australia?

On average, it costs $1,478 to ship one 40’ container from China to Australia during peak season.

What’s the cheapest time of month to book from China to Australia?

Carriers can introduce increases to shipping charges, called General Rate Increases (GRIs) at the start of each month. But, toward the middle of the month as they try to fill supply on vessels, they often lower these prices. That means booking during the latter two weeks of the month can often save you money.

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