Shipping to Australia

Get up-to-date local information about export procedures and restrictions, demurrage and detention, container drop-offs and more.

Customs House Brokerage

Core product

Export Customs Clearance Duty Mitigation
Standard full export customs clearance process Customs document auditing and reporting to ensure correct duty amount is used on import shipments
  • Export declaration
  • Export document preparation
  • Cargo pickup
  • Consolidation
  • Compliance auditing of physical documents
  • Duty reporting
  • Tariff concessions and valuation advice

Additional Custom House Brokerage services

  • Air and ocean pre-clearance
  • Contract logistics
  • Customs trade compliance
  • Ground Transport Management
  • Duty Drawbacks
  • Refunds
  • Valuation advices
  • TCO applications

What is required to complete Customs House Brokerage?


Letter of Authority(LOA)  

Signed by the buyer/owner of the cargo on a company letter head. This grant’s permission for Damco to complete CHB on behalf of the buyer/owner as required by Australian Border Force.

Mandatory documents Required:

  • Signed LOA
  • Commercial invoice(s)
  • Packing list(s)
  • Packing Declarations
  • Airway Bill or Bill of Lading

Additional documents (where applicable)

  • Permits
  • Health Certificates
  • Certificates of Origin
  •  Manufacture certificate  


Q: What is the Pricing / Cost of these services?
A: Pricing is dependent on the service package you choose. Please contact our office to discuss which option is right for you

Q: What can hold up my Customs Clearance?
A: A variety of reasons can hold up a clearance, to name a few but not limited to, would be awaiting mandatory documents, awaiting payment, customs holds, Port Authority holds and vessel delays.

Q: What is a Deferment Account?
A: A deferment account is an account registered with customs, which allows the customer to make Duty & GST payments in a secure way. This initiates a smoother, quicker customs clearance, avoiding additional delays.

Q: What if I do not have a Deferment Account?
A: Damco/Maersk can help by guiding you through the process, providing a simplified answer to a complicated process

Q: What is an Importer/Exporter code?
A: An Importer/Exporter code is a unique identifier which is required by all parties for all imports & exports. In Australia, this is normally a client’s ABN or suppliers name and contact details. 

Q: What is a classification number HS Code?
A: A classification number is a unique 9 digit code that relates to a specific product and determines the correct classification in the customs tariff

Q: Why do I need to provide a classification number HS Code?
A: Correct classification of goods is critical to identification of cargo’s arriving into Australia.

Q: How will I know when my shipment has cleared customs?
A: Our team at will email the customer with clearance paperwork as soon as the shipment has been released from customs and is free to leave the port.

Q: Who can I contact regarding my Customs Clearance?
A: Please contact

Q: Who will invoice me for my Customs Clearance?
A: Damco will raise the invoice for CHB and any additional land side logistic services purchased

Q: I have a query regarding my Customs Clearance Invoice, who can I contact?
A: The Damco Customs Team are always happy to answer any query you may have in relation to customs clearance, one of our licenced customs brokers can be contacted on

Abbreviations & Explanations

CHB = Customs House Brokerage
GST = Goods & Services Tax
HTS = Harmonized Tariff Schedule
ATT = Australian Trusted Trader
LOA = Letter of Authority

Demurrage and Detention

Customers in Australia will be offered Combined Demurrage & Detention for export shipments. This means you will have one combined free time and compensation for utilization of equipment inside and outside of terminals or depots, referred to as Combined Demurrage & Detention.

Demurrage means compensation incurred by customer for utilizing equipment beyond the given free time inside the terminal.

Detention means compensation incurred by customer for utilizing equipment beyond the given free time outside the terminal.

Export tariff charges effective 22 November 2019

  • 12 days free time for Combined Demurrage and Detention (excluding Port Storage)
  • Export free time is calculated from gate-out empty to proforma Vessel ETD inclusive
  • Tariff is charged 'per day' after Free time expiry
Export Tariff
Combined Demurrage & Detention
Container Type Day 1 - 12* Day 13 +*
20' Dry Free AUD 75 per day
40' Dry Free AUD 125 per day
20' Reef Free AUD 95 per day
40' Reef Free AUD 165 per day
20' Specialised Free AUD 75 per day
40' Specialised Free AUD 125 per day

* Weekend and Public holidays are included

Separation of Storage

To increase transparency in our charges, we will separate Storage from Demurrage. This allows a clear distinction of the compensation applied for utilizing the port, terminal or depot facilities (Storage), and the compensation incurred for utilization of equipment beyond the agreed free time days inside terminals or depots (Demurrage).

Storage means compensation for utilizing the port, terminal or depot or inland container yard facilities.

Compensation for Storage will be charged separately by Australian ports directly to customers for Import shipments. For export shipments, compensation for Storage will be charged separately by Maersk. 


Pre Receival Advice:

The PRA is an electronic advice which must be submitted to the receiving terminal before an export container is delivered for shipment. The PRA contains important information such as container details, container types, destination information, confirmation of customs clearance, description of cargo, required temperature set point and vent settings.

Why is it important to enter PRA data accurately?

The data contained in the PRA is the final instruction provided by the shipper prior to handover of the container. This information is used by the terminal to determine container types and required reefer settings (where applicable). It is important to remember that a majority of reefer containers are not set to the required temperature before delivery to the terminal and the PRA information is relied upon by the terminal to determine the correct set point for the container.

What is being done?

Maersk’s reconciliation process will help us to detect discrepancies between data given to Maersk when the booking was made and the PRA information. While the reconciliation process has been implemented to help Maersk find and correct discrepancies, Maersk does not guarantee that discrepancies will be detected. It is critical that shippers and/or shippers’ agents who enter PRA information remember the importance and necessity of providing accurate information. Maersk will not be responsible for any losses resulting from provision of incorrect PRA information. New Zealand Regulations:

Shipping Instructions for all cargo from Australia to New Zealand and the Pacific Islands is required to be submitted by day of vessel departure from the load port of the booking.

If Shipping Instructions for these destinations is received after this time, a Late Documentation Fee of AUD 25 per bill of lading will be applied.

Maersk have identified that the late submission of Shipping Instructions for New Zealand and Pacific Islands cargo, combined with the quick transit time can cause issues with New Zealand Customs that can hold up the release of cargo in New Zealand or the transshipping process to the Pacific Islands.

Japan Regulations:

Japan Advance Manifest Filing Rule (JP24) compliance is applicable to all Maersk shipments destined to or transhipping in Japan. The deadline for SI submission is 48 hours prior to vessel ETA at the load port. Late or no SI submission will result in Customs rejecting the cargo to be loaded.

To ensure smooth advance manifest filing, the following information is required in the SI:

  • Shipper name/address/postal code/telephone number,
  • Consignee name/address/postal code/telephone number
  • Notify Party name/address/postal code/telephone number if Consignee is ‘to order’
  • Precise cargo description (a sample of an unacceptable description can be accessed here)
  • 6-digit HS code for at least one representative cargo. For booking placed other than e-channels, we kindly request shippers to insert 6-digit HS codes in cargo description field in the SI form.
  • If the shipment has underlying House B/L, shipper needs to indicate “Master BL-Yes” after cargo information in cargo description field in the SI form. Shipments without the indicator will be filed as having no underlying house B/L. Subsequent amendment may lead to amendment cost and failing to comply with the rule may lead to Customs’ denial of discharge and required ship back with associated additional cost.

Effective 8 March 2014, shipments that have no approval or have “Do Not Load (DNL)” notice from Japan Customs, cannot be loaded.

United States Regulations:

United States Customs filed regulations on 31 October 2002 that may have significant documentation implications for clients exporting to the U.S.A. The regulations require all lines with a direct call in any U.S. Port to lodge a complete and accurate manifest with U.S. Customs 24 hours prior to vessel’s arrival in the loading port. If any containers are not manifested within this time frame they may not be loaded under threat of significant fines or rejection of the vessel’s permit to discharge cargo in the U.S.


The following destinations must adhere to this rule due to at least one transhipment port being in the United States:

All US destinations
All Canadian destinations
All Mexican destinations

Caribbean destinations:
St Johns, Antigua
Hamilton, Bermuda
Georgetown, Cayman Islands
Oranjestad, Dutch Antilles
Castries, St Lucia

South American destinations:
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Sepetiba, Brazil
Asuncion, Paraguay
Montevideo, Uruguay


The regulations will have a significant impact industry wide and unfortunately procedures must change to comply with these regulations. For Maersk to satisfy the U.S. Customs requirements we must impose formal cut-offs for the receipt of Forwarding Instructions. To ensure sufficient time is available to submit manifest details and obtain approval, Maersk will require the receipt of Forwarding Instructions at a minimum of two full working days in advance of vessel arrival.

For any issue or query relating to US documentation, please contact your Customer Service Agent.

Contact us

If you want to speak to a sales person about a new shipment or if you have a question about your existing shipment, you can email us and we will respond within the next two days. If you have a more immediate question, you can search for help online.