Shipping to Australia

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

Customs House Brokerage

Core product

Import Customs Clearance Duty Mitigation
Standard full customs declaration, paying Duty and import GST upon arrival in the country in scope to gain release of the cargo for onward delivery Customs document auditing and reporting to ensure correct duty amount is used on import shipments
  • Full import customs clearance
  • Fiscal representation
  • Inward + outward processing
  • 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

Direction : Import
Effective Date : 01/10/2019
Expiry Date : Until further notice
Free time : Calendar Days

Calculation Period: Detention is calculated from the day of discharge until the date the container is de-hired.

Import Tariff
Combined Detention & Demurrage

Days 20' DRY 40' DRY / 40'HC DRY 20' REEF 40' REEF 20' Flat & Open top 40' Flat & Open top
1 to 8 Free Free Free Free Free Free
9 to 20 AUD 80 per day AUD 160 per day AUD 130 per day AUD 260 per day AUD 100 per day AUD 200 per day
21+ AUD 120 per day AUD 240 per day AUD 220 per day AUD 440 per day AUD 160 per day AUD 320 per day

NOR will be charged as DRY equipment.

Combined Detention & Demurrage

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. Combined demurrage & detention will be invoiced as 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.

Separation of Storage

Storage means compensation for utilising the port, terminal or depot or inland container yard facilities. Compensation for Storage related to use of Terminal or Depot facilities will be charged separately by Australian ports directly to customers.

Re-Use Containers

Import detention will cease calculating on the date the re-use request is made via Matchbox and export detention will begin.



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.

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.