Frequently Asked Questions – International Freight & Shipping
International freight shipping can be very complicated.
We are always happy to answer questions, however, we find some that arise more often – hence “Frequently Asked Questions”!
If you have other questions not on this list, or you would like to discuss your international shipping needs, please contact us.
Q. What countries do you deal with for international shipping?
A. We deal with most countries. As shipping can be quite complicated, it is best to give us a call and discuss what your needs are.
Q. What sort of freight services do you specialise in? What sort of freight is your speciality?
A. We mainly specialise in commercial cargo, machinery and business relocations. We also offer self-pack shipping containers for household overseas relocations. As we have been in the freight industry for so long, however, we have shipped almost everything at one time or another. Please come and speak to us about your requirements.
Q. Do you warehouse?
A. Yes, we can arrange that for you.
Q. Can you do stuff in a hurry?
A. Yes we can if space is available with the shipping lines. It depends on your requirements. Come and speak to us.
Q. How can you guarantee my cargo isn’t held up by customs?
A. Quite simply – we can’t. If we control the cargo, we take every care with all the steps in the process and documentation. However, it is standard practice for customs to do random checks for effective border control. To our knowledge, there is no legal way for any importer to avoid these random checks. It is quite simply – the luck of the draw.
Q. I love your offering – are you much more expensive because of that?
A. We will quite honestly say that we are not the cheapest. For the quality service we provide, however, we are very reasonably priced. We work with you to define an effective freight plan; our contact policy is 24/7 availability, and; we have over 30 years of experience and contacts in the industry. Additionally, being a small family company definitely has its advantages. You are valued highly by us. Of course, we also do not have the overheads of other larger companies.
Q. Why should I change to you?
A. Ultimately that is your decision, however, we can offer you a freight appraisal and furnish you with your custom freight plan. We believe this alone will be more than satisfactory for you, aside from our day-t0-day service. We know that change can often be the right thing to do for some companies.
Q. Is there a minimum amount which I can ship?
A. Strictly speaking there is not, however, if your freight needs are under 30kg you should consider Australia Post or a Courier. This is because it will typically be more cost-effective for you. Airfreight can be considered for weights up to 150kg, and ocean freight is usually best for larger weights.
Q. What is your success rate of on-time delivery?
A. What a great question! Freight forwarding is a sequence of events. If there is a break in that sequence then sometimes on-time delivery can be difficult. However, with proper planning, most deliveries are on time.
Q. What sorts of issues can delay delivery?
A. Generally a delay will occur because of one of the following reasons.
- Incorrect or late paperwork. This can happen if the customer or supplier present incorrect or late commercial invoices or other necessary paperwork to their customs broker or freight forwarder. This will hold up the documentation process this end. Unhappily, this is the most common reason for delays and is outside of our control. Correct and accurate paperwork from you is very important.
- Short shipments by both air and sea. This can happen during busy periods of the year; again we have no control over this. Airlines and shipping lines have limited space and may be overbooked.
- a random customs check.
- ‘An Act of God’ i.e. ocean conditions – excessive stormy seas, piracy, shipping accidents, or flight delays due to bad weather conditions. Luckily, this happens very infrequently.
- Strikes, wars.
Q. What is your guarantee?
A. We know you want everything to run as smoothly as possible so we offer you a satisfaction guarantee. We take on board all of your requirements in detail and strive to deliver the best service we can with the least amount of stress and interruption.
Q. I need to ship refrigerated products, can you do that and how much more?
A. Yes, we offer refrigerated shipping services. The rate varies depending upon the destination of the cargo. It should be noted, however, from Australia, there are no mixed commodity services. This means that you will be paying for a full container regardless of the volume filled. In some cases, airfreight may be a better option for smaller amounts of refrigerated cargo.
Q. What about breakability?
A. You should always have freight insurance. We can arrange this for you if necessary.
Q. What about GST?
A. International freight has no GST. However, GST may be applicable on import and all local charges.
Q. How long have you been doing this?
A. 43 years. When I was a younger man, I had a share in quite a large company with offices around Australia and overseas. Now, my company is family-owned and run; smaller, more efficient and much more hands-on with our customers.
Q. Do you pick up from our office or factory?
A. Yes – if required.
Q. Who are your competitors and how are you different?
A. Our major competitors are large freight forwarding companies who may have offices in many locations.
We are a small family company. Thanks to our connections whom we have built up over many years we have the same reach as a larger company.
Additionally, your custom actually matters to us. We love to know who you are personally. We strive to give you excellent service and we are available to you 24/7.
Q. How do you make sure my products don’t get bumped off?
A. We use quality carriers with whom we have built a relationship over many, many years.
Q. We deal in dangerous goods – do you handle that?
A. Yes. We can ship dangerous goods.
Q. How do you track my product?
A. We track shipments via each individual carriers. We keep you updated according to your freight plan requirements.
Q. Is your storage facility approved by customs?
Q. Are you going to complete all of the annoying paperwork?
A. Yes, of course. that is part of our service.
Q. Do you have freight insurance or do I need it?
A. We can arrange insurance for you. As a rule, individual carriers do not provide cargo insurance.
Q. Do you pack products?
Q. Do you do one-off cargo jobs?
Q. Do you do airfreight and sea freight?
A. Yes. We do both.
Q. Can you get me from Port to Place?
Q. Can you help me set up an export business?
A. No, that is not our speciality. But we can give you advice from an international freight perspective.
Q. What if my freight is really urgent – can you organise that for me?
A. Yes. Subject to shipping line availability, of course.
Q. Can you advise on the different types of delivery and the different costs?
A. Yes. We work with you on this as part of the freight plan.
Q. Can you help negotiate with overseas vendors?
A. No. This is outside of our scope of work.
Q. Is there any cargo that you can’t handle?
A. Not so far.
Q. Do you do volume discounts?
A. We can negotiate with the carriers on your behalf if this is a concern for you.
Q. Do you ship live animals?
A. We can.
Q. How do you get me a better deal?
A. We use our knowledge and experience to get you the deal possible.
Q. Why are you better than anybody else? Surely it must be easy to find freight forwarders?
A. It is easy to find a freight forwarder. It is less easy to find the quality of service you need if things get rough.
Q. Are we contracted for a certain period of time to use your services?
A. No. Whilst we have many long-term customers, each transaction is considered individually.
Q. Do you do customs entries?
A. Yes, we can organise this for you. Companies who do regular imports, however, usually prefer to use their own customs broker who knows their work. We can, of course, recommend a broker to you.
Q. What is Oversized or Out Of Gauge Cargo?
A. Basically anything that doesn’t fit into a container is classified as oversize or out of gauge (OOG). We do often use flat rack containers to carry over-dimensional cargo.
Q. Are there any government charges such as GST applicable on export sales?
Q. Is GST applicable on imported machinery?
A. Yes. If you pay your GST on a quarterly basis, then import GST is payable at the time of importation, along with any Customs Duty and Customs user fee.
For large importers, you may have the option of lodging your BAS return monthly and having any import duty deferred and included on your monthly statement. If you think that this may be an option for you, then please discuss this with your accountant.
Q. What is the duty rate on (anything)?
A. Firstly, please check the Australian Customs website yourself. We can also assist you with tariff classification advice and other information at a cost. We also have a page with other shipping resources.
Q. Is my cargo automatically insured by the carrier?
A. No. Although you may have some limited recourse, we strongly recommend that you take out freight insurance cover for all your shipments. We can assist in arranging this.
Q. My goods need to arrive by a certain time. Can you guarantee this?
A. Planning is everything. Obviously, we can’t guarantee natural or unforeseen disasters. With proper planning, however, we can schedule the transport to meet your deadlines.
Q. Are you able to effectively use all methods of transport to meet my various supplier or customer schedules?
A. We are able to use any and all forms of transport to meet your needs. We have no preset schedules or arrangements that may inhibit us from providing you with the best service possible.
Q. Can you quote me a complete price to move my cargo from one place to another?
A. Yes. We will need to know the cargo dimensions, weight, and transport terms – eg, ex works, FOB, CNF.
Q. Are there any countries that I can’t trade with?
A. Only a few. If you are thinking of doing any business with any country that you might question, please give us a call to discuss.
Q. Do you only handle cargo that won’t fit into a container?
A. No. We handle all sorts of commercial cargo.
Q. I often have shipments from one country to another – neither of which is Australia. Can you handle this?
A. Yes we can. We have specialised agents in most other countries who can handle any shipments like this for us. We maintain complete control over the total process and can provide you with the completed documents here.