The Complete Guide to All Shipping Costs to Australia From the UK – Get a Good Quote or Estimate When Moving to Australia
Every year thousands of British families move from the UK to start a new life Down Under and many Australians head home after their European adventure. All need to know how much it will cost to ship their belongings, no matter whether it’s a few boxes or a full house removal.
This guide will give an estimate on the price of shipping a container or part container to Australia and also detail the other costs involved that may not be part of your main quote.
Because of the volume of people shipping personal effects to Australia, the cost may be cheaper than you think.
The additional charges and exclusions outlined below are industry standard and typical to whichever shipping company you use, not just PSS International Removals. It is important that you discuss these with your Account Manager so you have a clear idea which apply to your shipment. Beware of the cheapest prices for shipping to Australia.
The prices listed here are based on the contents of an average UK property and includes delivery within 30 miles of all major ports of entry in Australia from Perth in the west to Sydney in the south and Brisbane on the east coast.
International Removals Costs and Prices to Australia (Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth & Brisbane) updated for 2020
Removal / Move Type
(100 cubic feet)
(250 cubic feet)
| 1 Bed House/Flat
(500 cubic feet)
| 2 Bed House/Flat
(500-750 cubic ft)
| 3 Bed House/Flat
(1000 cubic feet)
| 4+ Bed House + car
(2000 cubic feet)
Many websites list port-to-port costs for shipping containers to Australia. These can significantly underestimate the actual costs for non-commercial users. The prices listed here are for a full door-to-door removals service aimed at people shipping their personal effects.
Cost of Sending Boxes / Excess Baggage to Australia From the UK
Excess Baggage and box shipping services are ideal for shipping smaller quantities of items / luggage. Large item such as furniture will require a removals service.
The prices below include self-packing although professional packing services are available. Costs per box declines as the quantity of volume shipped increases.
Sea Freight Shipping Prices 2020 (Updated) – From UK to Australia
Cost of shipping boxes / baggage to Australia (Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth & Brisbane)
Quantity(Boxes / Bags)
Boxes are based on standard shipping economy cartons, measuring 46 x 46 x 46 cm (3.4 cubic feet), weighing no more than 30 kg each.
Bags or suitcases can also weigh up to 30 kg each.
See our online calculator for a more accurate quote for shipping boxes to Australia.
Australia Major Container Terminals and Ports
The following are some of the main container shipping ports in Australia. The cost of delivery may increase if your final destination is more than 30 miles from the port. Costs can vary between ports – Darwin & Hobart will be more expensive than other major cities.
New South Wales
- Port Botany, Sydney (AUBTB)
- Melbourne (AUMEL)
- Brisbane (AUBNE)
- Cairns (AUCNE)
- Darwin (AUDRW)
- Fremantle (Perth) (AUFRE)
- Port Adelaide (AUADL)
- Burnie (AUBWT)
- Hobart (AUHBA)
Costs for Shipping Personal Effects and Household Goods
Household goods and personal effects include everything from furniture and clothes to bicycles, golf clubs and other used personal items.
For new items and commercial goods, other conditions, duties and costs may apply.
Getting an Accurate Shipping Quote or Estimate to Australia
Your shipping costs will be based on the volume (cubic feet) that you ship. It is important therefore to get an accurate quote based on what you want to send.
The best way to do this is through an estimator visiting your house, although now some shipping companies like PSS offer video surveys via a mobile app or online calculators where you list what you wish to send.
Check everything you need to ship. Don’t forget hidden cupboards, attics, sheds, garages and anything stored at another site – it all adds up!
Adding Additional Items:
If you decide to take additional items it will likely increase the amount you need to pay. Correspondingly if you reduce your volume your shipping estimate will likely decrease.
Extra-large items or large quantities of small/fragile items will require more time and materials in packing and may increase the volume shipped.
What’s Included in the Price for International Removals?
The price estimates quoted here are based on a full international removals service to Australia. This service is designed for people moving overseas or shipping personal effects and is much more comprehensive than using a freight forwarder or shipping port to port.
- Door-to-door service (including pick up and delivery)
- Professional export standard packing materials and cartons.
- Use of reliable, regulated shipping lines such as Ocean Network Express (ONE), Maersk, Hapag Lloyd and Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC).
- Advice & assistance with completing forms, & other paperwork.
- Customs inventory – numbering and listing of all packages.
- UK & destination Port/Terminal handling charges.
- Ocean freight to arrival vessel destination port.
- Customs Clearance, haulage of container and unloading.
- Some Storage may be included at UK or destination country.
- Delivery of household effects to the residence, unwrapping and removal of packing materials (assumes good access and not above the first floor).
Cost of Car and Vehicle Shipping to Australia
There are two main methods for shipping cars to Australia, in a shipping container or using a RORO (Roll-On-Roll-Off) service. If you are shipping other household goods it’s worth seeing if you can save money by shipping them in the same container.
Cars, bikes, motor homes, caravans, motorbikes, boats can all to be shipped to Australia. Some cars or vehicles especially motor homes and caravans may be too wide and tall to fit in a shipping container and will need to be shipped RORO.
Customs Duty and/or GST applies to all car imports into Australia. Customs Duty is 5% of the FOB value and 15% of the VOTI value (Customs Value + Duty + Overseas freight + Insurance). In addition, Luxury Car Tax (LCT) at 33% can apply to more expensive cars.
Motor cycles are exempt from Customs Duty but subject to 10% GST.
For a quote and full details of the costs of shipping and importing vehicles to Australia, please click here to visit our car shipping page or call our advisers on 020 8686 7733.
If you need to send items urgently you can use express delivery by air freight. Costs are higher and depend both on weight and volume. There are also further restrictions on what you can send by air. For more details and a quote visit our air freight to Australia page.
Why Australia Shipping Estimates Vary
The shipping quotation you are given is an estimate and your final invoice may be different for a number of reasons.
This is the case with all shipping companies as much can change between receiving your quote and your actual moving or shipping day.
Final shipping costs can change due to:
- Exchange rate fluctuations.
- Additional items being added that were not included in the original quotation.
- Increases in port/shipping fees and other charges in between receiving your estimate and your actual departure.
- Varying costs and charges for different ports and shipping lines.
- Seasonal variations (time of year).
Getting a Discount On Your Shipping to Australia.
Being flexible or planning your move date can help get a lower price on your shipping/move costs. During peak season, costs are likely to be higher and in quieter periods shipping companies may offer discounts and promotions to help fill containers.
Quantity discounts are also available, so it could well be cheaper for you to ship more of your belongings rather than buy everything new in Australia where they may be expensive to replace. Therefore, it can be a false economy not to ship items such as white goods, tools and furniture.
What’s Not Included In Your Quote – Additional Charges and Fees
There are a number of additional charges and fees that are the responsibility of the shipper rather than the removals company and these are not included in standard quotes. Some fees and charges will need to be paid separately at your destination.
- Customs fees, duties, quarantine fees and other charges payable to Government bodies (see below).
- Wooden crates and antique wrapping for delicate items if required.
- Additional charges for difficult access, e.g. above the first floor or if a shuttle service is needed to transport belongings from your house to the container.
- Additional storage time in the UK or at the destination before delivery.
- Shipping protection cover/ maritime insurance.
- Parking permits, charges or associated fees for suspension /dispensation in order to facilitate removal in the UK or delivery at destination.
Customs Duties, Taxes and Other Fees
Customs duties and import taxes are the responsibility of the person shipping and will need to be paid separately to Australia Customs, although the local shipping agent at your destination port may handle these for you.
Good news is that returning Australian citizens and people with permanent resident visas who have been away for over 12 months do not have to pay Customs Duties and GST on Household Effects. You will need to check with your shipping company that you meet the criteria. There may, however, be other customs related charges and fees you need to pay.
Antiques are free of Customs Duty but GST at 10% applies.
Customs regulations and duties are subject to change so we suggest you check that you have the most up to date information. A FIDI Guide to Australian Customs is available here.
If you don’t meet the criteria for Household Effects or your goods are deemed commercial imports then Customs Duty and GST may apply.
These fees will often be handled for you by the shipping company’s agent in Australia and you will need to reimburse them before your shipment can be delivered. The Australian Government website provides more details here.
Australian Quarantine Costs and Fees
Everyone has to pay an inspection fee based on the volume (or type of container for full loads) imported, but there may also be additional charges if quarantine want to do additional inspections, treatments or disposal etc.
If you have done your research and taken advice on what you can and cannot import into Australia, you should be able to limit these charges but there are some you need to be aware of.
Australia’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR), Biosecurity may charge additional fees and your goods will not be released until they are paid.
These fees can include:
- Additional inspection fees.
- Documentation charges.
- Treatments including steam cleaning, fumigation & gamma irradiation.
- Destruction, transportation, re-shipment, or other disposal of goods.
- Storage and quarantine of goods.
- More details here
You can reduce your chances of paying any by ensuring you don’t ship prohibited or restricted items and that all your goods are properly cleaned and prepared before shipping. Ask your shipping company for more advice.
Why The Cheapest Shipping to Australia May Not Be So Cheap
Whilst many people are surprised, considering the distance, at the low cost of moving to Australia compared to moving house within the UK, other people ask:
“Why is it so expensive to ship to Australia?”
Hopefully, this article explains more clearly the costs and expense for shipping to Australia.
You may be able to find some cheap shipping quotes but beware – quotes that look a lot cheaper often don’t provide a quality full service.
Most reputable shipping and international removal companies will have fairly similar costs and estimates. Cheap shipping quotes may look attractive on the surface but often have hidden costs or shortcuts which could put your belongings at risk.
Reasons For Cheap Shipping Quotes For Australia Can Include:
- Incorrect calculation of volume on original quotation
- Your cheap quote is not for a full removals service including packing, customs clearance, delivery etc.
- The shipping company are using unaccredited shipping lines which may be cheaper but there is a higher risk of something going wrong.
- Unacceptable lower grade packing materials or not professionally packed.
- Port-to-port rather than door-to-door delivery.
- Some charges & fees added on as extra so the headline quote looks cheap.
- Removal/shipping company is not BAR or FIDI regulated.
- The quote is cheaper as it does not include customs clearance and handling.
- Unregulated or unreliable agents used at destination.
For more information read our article on cheap shipping to Australia or contact us for advice on getting the best price.
Shipment Protection and Maritime Insurance
How Much Does Shipment Protection or Insurance Cost to Australia?
Shipping companies, like PSS, who are members of BAR, are covered by the Advance Payment Guarantee scheme. Although this guarantees the payment and cost of removal in the rare event that your removal company cannot complete your move, you should also consider protection for your belongings.
Shipment protection and insurance costs vary between companies and depending on whether it is self-packed or packed by the shipping/removals company.
Expect to pay anything from 3% to 7% of the total value of your goods.
(Some removals companies will allow you to select which items you wish to cover so this can save you significantly on your insurance costs).
Get a Quote For Shipping To Australia From the UK
If you are moving to Australia, PSS International Removals will be happy to help. Over the last 36 years we have helped thousands of people and families to move or ship belongings to Australia. No matter whether you are a first time migrant or an Australian returning home, PSS can offer you the best prices on shipping for household removals, boxes of personal effects and also cars.
Australia is one of our top shipping destinations. Due to our years of experience and the high volumes we ship, we are able to offer our customers the best service at the lowest prices.
To get an estimate or quote call the PSS team on 020 8686 7733.
For more information or to get an online quote:
Behind the Scenes at Port Melbourne, Australia
Ariel View of Shipping, Fremantle Port, Western Australia
Header Image from Port of Melbourne