Shipping to Australia

Get up-to-date local information about import procedures and restrictions, demurrage and detention, container pick-ups and more.

Demurrage and Detention

Maersk will be introducing the following changes to our Australian surcharge structure starting from 1 January 2017.

Going forward, customers in Australia will be offered Combined Demurrage & Detention for both export and import shipments. This means you will have one combined free time period and compensation for utilisation of equipment inside and outside of terminals or depots, referred to as Combined Demurrage & Detention.

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

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

Import tariff charges effective 1 January 2017

Free time calculation will start upon the day of discharge of the container

Import Tariff Combined Demurrage & Detention
Container Type Day 1-8* Day 9 +*
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

We will separate Storage from Demurrage. This allows a clear distinction of the compensation applied for utilising the port, terminal or depot facilities (Storage), and the compensation incurred for utilisation of equipment beyond the agreed free time days inside terminals or depots (Demurrage).

Storage means compensation for utilising the port, terminal or depot or inland container yard facilities. For import shipments, the compensation for Storage related to use of Terminal or Depot facilities will continue to be charged separately by Australian port companies directly to customers. For export shipments, the compensation for Storage related to use of Terminal or Depot facilities will continue to be charged separately by Maersk.  



We recommend that you use our online business services to book and conduct your business with us.

Customs clearance:

Maersk Australia will lodge the Import Sea Cargo report with customs based on the shipment details specified on the OBL.

The Exporter is responsible for providing details of multiple suppliers in Assembly Shipments imported into Australia at time of booking.

The consignee is responsible for lodging an Import Declaration for full containers with Customs.

Alternatively, a Customs broker or agent or freight forwarder may be used by the consignee to arrange clearance on its behalf.

Further information on Australia Customs requirements for import cargo can be found on the Australian Customs website.

Please check customs and quarantine requirements for your cargo type prior to booking your shipment.

Australian Quarantine Inspection Service:

All SeaCargo Import Declarations to customs will automatically be screened for the purpose of identifying any shipment that may impose a risk of introduction of foreign pests or deceases into Australia.

If your shipment is assessed to be of Quarantine or Imported Foods concern your shipment will be referred to Australian Quarantine Inspection service (AQIS).

For more information please go to

Minimum Required Information for Importing Cargo:

  • Original Bills of Lading
  • Company Stamp / Endorsement
  • Settlement of "Collect" freight charges if any

Prior to vessel arrival, an Arrival Notice will be sent to the consignee via email for your convenience and as a courtesy. Please note that the responsibility of cargo tracking remains with the consignee.

The Arrival Notice contains the estimated Date of Arrival (ETA).

Meanwhile, an Import Delivery Order will be will be made available for release 3 days prior to estimated time of arrival (ETA).

The consignee (or appointed transport company) should pre-book a slot with the terminal within the cargo free time using the delivery order.

After the devanning of cargo, the consignee (or consignee appointed trucker) should bring the Delivery Order to return the empty equipment to our named depot (as specified on the Delivery Order) within the equipment free time offered.

Road Limits:

  • National road weight limits apply
  • For standard trailer movement - not to exceed 27000kgs Gross weight (Container tare + Cargo weight) for 20’/40’.
  • Swing lifter trailer / Side loader- not to exceed 22500kgs Gross weight (Container tare + Cargo weight) for 20’/40'.
  • Higher weights are possible but must be quoted on an individual basis.
  • Axle weights are measured for all containers at the terminal. Any unbalanced loads will be scrutinized and could be subject to repacking at shipper’s expense.


45’ containers: 

 Maersk do not accept transportation to Australia of cargoes in 45’ containers. Only 20' and 40' containers will be accepted.

Cocoa Liquor: Maersk does only accept the transportation of cocoa liquor to Australia in refrigerated containers

Live animals: 

 The import of live animal in Australia is not accepted by Maersk.


Bark is a prohibited import in Australia. If timber has been used in the container, the packer must make a declaration to state whether the timber has been inspected and found free of bark contamination. 

If a packing declaration has timber declared and there is no bark statement, the container will be ordered for unpack inspection at an approved Australian Quarantine Inspection Service (AQIS) premises. 

Dangerous Cargo:

Maersk do not accept inland transportation  of the below dangerous goods cargo:

  •  Class 1 - Fireworks – Explosive
  • Class 5.1 - UN no.1942 Ammonium Nitrate,
  • Class 7 - Sensitive cargo

For more information about packaging restrictions, please Click here.

Email your local office

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.