Skip to main content

If you’re thinking of growing your e-commerce business in Australia, but are not sure where to start – or if it’s worth your while – this handy guide will tell you everything you need to know about shipping down under.

In 2019, e-commerce spending in Australia hit a staggering AUS$32 billion. With the online retail market up 20.8% year on year now’s the time for ambitious e-commerce retailers to extend their business to Australia. Online sales in Australia exploded as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing from about 7.1% of total retail sales in March to more than 11% in June. While the world inches towards a new normal, smart UK business will be looking to capitalise on this increased thirst for online retail by extending their reach to the land down under.

Everything you need to know about preparing to ship to Australia

When preparing to launch your business in a new territory, planning and doing your research is vital. There are a lot of things to consider; from localising your service to your new market to understanding your USPs and where your business sits generally among your new competitors’ offerings. You also need to consider how you can deliver great customer service with the time differences…and – of course – you have to think about planning your shipping strategy. You’ll need to have a robust plan in place to ensure these great distances can be managed and that you control your costs as much as possible – while still providing that great level of customer service and satisfaction that you have been building. 

It may seem like a lot of hard work, but trust us, if you get your strategy right you should reap the rewards. This guide will talk you through all you need to know about shipping from the UK to Australia. From shipping costs to service choices to transit times, customs considerations, important tax duties, packaging tips and more – we’ve got it covered! 

So, grab your pen and paper and get comfortable – you’re about to discover everything you need to know about shipping from the UK to Australia in 2021 and beyond.

Shipping to Australia from UK – the most important things

As your complete guide to shipping from the UK to Australia, we are going to cover all the shipping information you need and more in later sections. But just to give you a rough guide of costs and times, here are a few examples using some of the most popular shipping providers who deliver between the UK and Australia. 

  • What are the shipping costs from the UK to Australia? The cost for sending an international tracked and signed for parcel weighing up to 2kg with Royal Mail starts at £30.70. Sending a 5kg package, sized 10x10x10cm to Australia with Hermes costs £56.41. This is a courier collection service and takes 3 to 7 working days. To drop off at a service point costs marginally less at £55.99.  
  • What are the shipping times from the UK to Australia? Sending a parcel to Australia with UPS using door-to-door delivery takes 3 business days (arrival before the end of the day).
  • What is the cheapest shipping from the UK to Australia? The cheapest service for your package depends on a number of factors including the service you opt for, the weight and dimensions of the shipments and any additional tracking or signature services you need. So, unfortunately, there isn’t really a straightforward answer. But don’t worry, we’ll be covering all that and much, much more. 

Read on for more information on finding the right Australian shipping service for your business.

How will shipping to Australia benefit my UK e-commerce business?

As you have already gathered, the opportunities in the Australian e-commerce market are considerable. It certainly is an exciting time to be branching out down under. Here are just some of the stats and figures that should capture your interest! 

  • Australia is currently the 10th largest ecommerce market in the world by revenue.
  • The e-commerce market is worth $33.1 billion and has a growth rate of 8.9% in 2021.
  • In 2019 58.3% of all web traffic was to online marketplaces.
  • 5.2m households shopped online in April 2020. Over 200,000 of these were new customers.
  • Online purchases grew 6.8% in April 2020, from the end of 2019.
  • In 2019, Black Friday and Cyber Monday recorded the largest number of purchases ever, with an increase of more than 28%.

It’s clear to see that Australian shoppers are growing more and more accustomed to the world of online commerce. This is highly likely to continue after the impacts of the pandemic start to recede or stabilise. What’s more, according to We are Social, many retailers in Australia are not sufficiently prepared to deliver the seamless e-commerce experience that consumers are coming to expect – so why not be one of the new wave of companies that capitalises on this ripe opportunity?

With a *population of 25.35m (including 41.45% aged between 25-54) and 22.31m internet users, 93% of whom own a smartphone. It’s, quite simply, the perfect time to be growing your business down under. 

Here’s a look at the current sales figures for industries in Australia:

  •   Variety stores: 22.3% national average YOY growth. 
  •     Fashion and Apparel: 21% national average YOY growth. 
  •     Home and Garden: 10.5% national average YOY growth.
  •     Health and Beauty: 12.4% national average YOY growth. 
  •     Hobbies and Recreational Goods: 6.1% national average YOY growth.
  •     Speciality food and liquor: 9.4% national average YOY growth.

Top tip – Make sure you localise your service to the Australian market as much as possible. This includes adapting your spelling, product descriptions and terminology. It’s also a good idea to review your marketing and messaging to make sure they are aligned – though the Australian market is fairly similar to the UK so there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Your pricing should also be localised for the AUS dollar and you might want to adapt your photographic imagery to reflect their somewhat different climate and environment!

Creating opportunity out of the COVID crisis

As we are all aware, the COVID pandemic has resulted in unprecedented changes to the way we buy and the way we live. While we would never seek to diminish the devastating effects the health crisis has had on the world, it is clear to see the current health crisis has opened up a number of doors to e-commerce merchants. Market growth in Australia was up more than 80% YOY in the 8 weeks after the COVID-19 pandemic was declared by the WHO. In 2020, 31% more people were shopping online in April than the average recorded in the same month the previous year. Of the 200,000 new online shoppers in April 2020, over a third (35.5%) made an online purchase more than once, and 16.7% shopped three or more times. The pandemic has taught us that we simply cannot know what the future will bring. But it’s pretty clear that right now is a good time to capitalise on this new sales potential with parcel shipping from the UK to Australia.

Shipping from the UK to Australia

So, now you’re nicely warmed up to the idea of selling your goods to this ripe Australian market, let’s take a look at the practicalities and options for shipping from the UK to Australia. 

What do I need to consider before choosing my shipping provider to Australia?

Finding the right shipping service for your business and customers is critical. Often your shipping services are one of the first points of contact your customer has with your brand – so you need to impress. You’ll want a service that is reliable, trusted, offers a good range of options, has great customer support and will get your goods to their destination, on time and in perfect condition. 

Before you begin your research, it’s important to keep in mind that you don’t need to decide on one single shipping company for all of your delivery needs. Many businesses find that using one carrier for a particular type of service, such as time-sensitive shipping works well, and opting for another for heavier goods that don’t need to arrive straight away is best. It’s more important that you find the right fit for you and that you meet your customer’s needs while protecting your bottom line. And if you would benefit from the flexibility of choosing from a variety of reputable and trusted shipping carriers with just a few clicks, why not try Sendcloud’s shipping solutions. You can connect your store in a couple of minutes, save time and money, streamline shipping processes and much more! 

Now, let’s continue with your shipping research. In the following section, we’ll be covering how much it costs to ship from the UK to Australia. Plus we’ll be taking a look at a number of the best international carriers and revealing their shipping times, different service offerings and more. 

Which carriers ship from the UK to Australia?

E-commerce retailers can choose from a variety of different shipping carriers when sending goods from the UK to the US. These include: 

  1. DPD
  2. DHL
  3. Hermes
  4. FedEx
  5. Royal Mail (Parcelforce)
  6. UPS

As we have mentioned above, you don’t need to book all your shipping services with one carrier.  If it makes financial sense to mix it up – and you still get the same great level of service –  limiting yourself to one just isn’t necessary.

Shipping from the UK to Australia with Royal Mail

Royal Mail uses its sister company Parcelforce to handle international shipping to Australia. All Parcelforce’s services are fully tracked and customers can avail of insurance cover between £200 for priority and express services and £100 for the economy services. The below prices are for Parcelforce account customers.

Shipping methods available from the UK to Australia with Royal Mail/Parcelforce

You can choose from these time-sensitive and non-time-sensitive services from Parcelforce. Maximum weight is 30kg and maximum length 1.5m apart from the Global Economy service which is 20kg and 1.05m respectively.

Shipping method Delivery time Costs
Parcelforce Global Express From 3 working days Prices start at £54.65
Parcelforce Global Priority From 5-9 days, depending on the destination address Prices start at £30.00
Parcelforce Global Value Delivery usually 6-10 working days Prices start at £9.78
Parcelforce Global Economy *this service is for heavier shipments up to 30kg Delivery usually 42-61 working days Prices start at £24.70

Examples of shipping costs from the UK to Australia with Parcelforce

For a package sized 10x10x10cm and weighing 2kg, Parcelforce offers the following costings: 

Shipping method Delivery time Costs
Global Express (collected from your address) 1+ day delivery £86.80
Global Priority (collected from your address) 3+ days delivery £65.60
Global Priority (drop off at Post Office) 5+ days delivery £55.30
Global Value (drop off at Post Office or collect from your address) 5+ days delivery £53.30

Shipping time from the UK to AUS with Parcelforce

International shipments with Parcelforce are usually delivered between 1 and 10 days, though this is very dependent on where you send to, particularly if you are sending to one of Australia’s many islands or to remote or outback areas. Check with the Parcelforce website for more details.

Shipping from the UK to Australia with DHL

DHL offers a good range of fully tracked shipping services between the UK and Australia. If you need delivery signatures you can choose between preferred, signature required and adult signature required services. Please note that insurance is not included with DHL’s services though customers can add protection costing £12.00 for shipments with a value up to £800 or 1.5% of the total value if greater than £800. Here are DHL’s shipping services between the UK and Australia.

Shipping methods available from the UK to Australia with DHL

DHL Parcel International. This is a global road delivery service from DHL that offers both proof of delivery and comprehensive online tracking. Customers can also request pre-delivery alerts and up to £500 insurance cover. The maximum dimensions for packages are 120 x 60 x 60cm and the maximum weight is 25kg. Delivery time is dependent on where the package is sent from and to. 

DHL Worldwide Air Delivery. If you need parcels to get there in a specific time frame, this service is for you. As with the previous service, end-to-end tracking and proof of delivery are included. If you’re sending high-value items, £1000 of insurance protection is available. The maximum dimensions for packages are 120 x 60 x 60 or 100 x 80 x 80cm. The maximum package weight is 25kg. Delivery takes between 1-3 days depending on the exact destination.

Examples of shipping costs from the UK to Australia with DHL Worldwide Air Delivery

Package size and weight Delivery time Costs
For a parcel size 10 x 10 x 10cm weighing up to 2kg (drop at depot) 5 working days £39.56
For a parcel size 10 x 10 x 10cm weighing up to 0.5kg 1-3 working days £57.95
For a parcel size 10 x 10 x 10cm weighing up to 1.5kg 1-3 working days £78.95
For a parcel size 10 x 10 x 10cm weighing up to 7kg 1-3 working days £138.95

Shipping time from the UK to AUS with DHL

The shipping time between the UK to  Australia with DHL usually takes between 1-3 when you choose DHL Worldwide Air Delivery, and longer for DHL Parcel International. The delivery time depends on where the parcel is being sent from and to. Contact DHL for more information.

Shipping from the UK to Australia with DPD

DPD offers three shipping options from the UK to Australia; Express, Economy and Super Economy. The Express and Economy services require the sender to drop off at a store. Super Economy is door to door. You can customise your shipping with a variety of additional services including signature tracking and delivery drop-off. You can drop your shipments off at any of the 4,500+ DPD Drop Off locations around the UK, all of which are no more than a few minutes away from 93% of the UK population. Parcels are protected up to £50. You can take additional protection up to the value of £5,000.00.

Shipping methods available from the UK to Australia with DPD

Please note: that the delivery times below are estimates. The transit time will depend on what time and day you drop your shipments off.

DPD Express: This is the DPD service to use if you need your parcels to get there quickly. Deliveries take between 3 – 5 business days.

DPD Economy: This is a great economy option if your packages aren’t time-sensitive. Deliveries take between 4-8 business days depending on the day you send them and the exact origin and destination. 

DPD Super Economy: As the name suggests, this is the cheapest and slowest option from DPD. It’s a great service for packages that aren’t urgent and for customers who want to prioritise cost savings. Check the DPD website for exact shipping times.

Examples of shipping costs from the UK to Australia with DPD

Shipping Method Size and weight Delivery time Costs
DPD Air Classic (Economy) (drop off at shop) 10x10x10cm weighing 2kg Delivery between 4-7 working days £38.01
DPD Express (drop off at shop) 10x10x10cm weighing 2kg Delivery between 3-5 working days £39.56
DPD Air Classic (drop off at shop) 10x10x10cm weighing 5kg Delivery between 4-7 working days £52.41
DPD Express (drop off at shop) 10x10x10cm weighing 5kg Delivery between 3-5 working days £55.40
DPD Air Classic (drop off at shop) 10x10x10cm weighing 10kg Delivery between 4-7 working days £76.41
DPD Express (drop off at shop) 10x10x10cm weighing 10kg Delivery between 3-5 working days £81.80

Shipping time from the UK to Australia with DPD

Shipping time from the UK to Australia with DPD Express takes between 3-5 working days. For the DPD Air Classic service, deliveries should arrive within 4-7 working days.

Shipping from the UK to Australia with FedEx

FedEx customers offer 3 options for sending parcels from the UK to Australia. All are fully trackable via the website or FedEx mobile app. If you require a delivery signature you can choose from no signature, indirect signature, direct signature and adult signature. FedEx does not provide cargo liability or all-risk insurance but you can pay an additional charge for Declared Value for Carriage. 

Shipping methods available from the UK to Australia with FedEx

Exact shipping times depend on the origin and exact destination of your goods as well as when you send it and the service you choose. 

  • FedEx International First: This premium service from FedEx will get your shipments to their destination within approximately 2 days. 
  • FedEx International Priority: As the name suggests, this is the fastest shipping service from the UK to Australia with FedEx. Shipments will be delivered in around 1-3 business days. 
  • FedEx International Economy: For shipments that are less time-sensitive, this economy service from FedEx is ideal. Deliveries will arrive at their destination between around 3-6 business days.

Examples of shipping costs from the UK to Australia with FedEx

Shipping Method Weight Delivery time Costs
FedEx International Priority Package weighing 2kg Delivery within approximately 1-3 business days £87.40
FedEx International Economy Package weighing 2kg Deliveries within approximately 3-6 business days £91.80
FedEx International Priority Package weighing 5kg Delivery within approximately 1-3 business days *Deliveries may take longer to more remote locations £147.80
FedEx International Economy Package weighing 5kg Deliveries within approximately 3-6 business days £131.20
FedEx International Priority Package weighing 10kg Delivery within approximately 1-3 business days *Deliveries may take longer to more remote locations £204.80
FedEx International Economy Package weighing 10kg Deliveries within approximately 3-6 business days £180.20

Important note: FedEx offers the possibility to negotiate preferential rates, so we definitely advise contacting their team and discussing possibilities. 

Shipping time from the UK to the US with FedEx

Shipping times from the UK to Australia with FedEx vary from 2 business days with the FedEx Priority service to 3-6 business days for the Economy service.

Shipping from the UK to Australia with Hermes

Hermes offers one shipping method from the UK to Australia – Hermes International Economy. Your shipments are fully tracked and should arrive at their destination between 3 and 7 days. Delivery times on international shipments are not guaranteed. The costs are the same whether you’re shipping to Darwin or Adelaide, Perth or Hobart.

There are two different options available for the sending part of the process; either by a courier collection service or by dropping the parcel off at any of the conveniently located 4,500 Hermes ParcelShops across the UK. The latter method costs slightly less than using a courier. It’s important to note that Hermes ParcelShops can only accept packages up to 115cm in length and up to 15kg in weight. If you use the Hermes ParcelShop service you won’t be able to request a delivery signature. The parcel may be left unattended at the delivery point. This is because Hermes isn’t an international service. They generally partner with local couriers which means packages are passed to 3rd party services for delivery. 

Examples of shipping costs from the UK to Australia with Hermes

Shipping method Weight and size Delivery time Costs
Drop off / courier collection international service 10x10x10cm weighing 2kg package 3-7 working days £35.21 drop off / £35.63 courier collection
Drop off / courier collection international service 10x10x10cm weighing 5kg package 3-7 working days £55.95 drop off / £56.41 courier collection
Drop off / courier collection international service 10x10x10cm weighing 10kg package 3-7 working days £102.05 drop off / £102.47 courier collection

Shipping time from the UK to the US with Hermes

Delivery takes between 3 and 7 days for both the courier pick up service or by dropping your parcel off at a Hermes ParcelShop. It’s important to note that this is not a guaranteed service so parcels may take longer than 7 days to arrive.

Shipping from the UK to Australia with UPS

UPS offers 2 shipping methods from the UK to Australia with a money back guarantee for failed deliveries. Both services are fully tracked and proof of delivery includes the time of delivery, full delivery address, and the name and signature of the person who accepted your shipment. UPS also offers parcel pick ups on Saturdays. 

Shipping methods available from the UK to Australia with UPS

  • UPS Worldwide Express Freight: Morning Express Service. Delivery is within 2-4 business days before noon. 
  • UPS Worldwide Express Freight: Economy Service. Delivery is within 6-8 business days before the end of the day.

Examples of shipping costs from the UK to Australia with UPS

An extra small parcel sent from the UK to Australia will cost the following for the two services:

  • UPS with Worldwide Express Freight – Morning Express Service (door to door delivery): from £46.97 
  • UPS with Worldwide Express Freight – Economy Service (door to door delivery): from £51.99

For more information on rates, check the UPS website or contact Sendcloud. 

Shipping time from the UK to the US with UPS

Shipping from the UK to Australia with UPS takes between 2-4 business days for the priority service and 6-8 business days for the economy service. 

What other important information do I need to know for shipping from the UK to Australia?

Even experienced e-commerce retailers can find shipping to new territories confusing. With this in mind, we have put together a wealth of information to prepare you for shipping from the UK to Australia. We have included guidance on factors that might affect your shipping such as bank holidays for each Australian state. We have also compiled some handy packaging tips to help you avoid delays and damage – and save you money. There is also a raft of information about your responsibilities for customs and duties and understanding what is classed as prohibited goods. Australia is very cautious when it comes to screening imported goods. As an island nation with incredible natural resources – and a history of dealing with the devastating impacts of invasive species – it is easy to see why!  

If you don’t find the answers to your queries below, head over to the Sendcloud resource hub. We’ve got an enormous amount of information on shipping, Brexit considerations, choosing the right shipping provider, mitigating the impact of COVID-19 and much, much more.

What factors affect shipping costs from the UK to Australia?

As with deliveries to all other international destinations, the costs for shipping to Australia depend on a number of factors including:

  • The weight of your package. 
  • The width, length and height of your package.
  • How time-sensitive your package is. 
  • If you need a delivery signature.
  • The kind of tracking you require. 
  • Any other additional services i.e insurance. 

What factors affect how long it takes to send a parcel from the UK to Australia?

As above, the transit time for your parcel shipping to Australia depends on your requirements and a number of process-related factors, such as: 

  • The shipping carrier you opt for.
  • The shipping method you want e.g standard, express, premium etc. 
  • Whether you choose a package pick up service or you drop the package off. 
  • The exact destination of the goods (Australia is huge, so more remote destinations may take longer). 
  • The time the goods take to clear customs.
  • Any further disruptions due to COVID-19. 

Potential delays in transit to Australia due to public holidays

Same as in the UK, the transit times for your parcels may be impacted due to public holidays. If you aren’t sure how much your services will be impacted, it’s a good idea to add a disclaimer or note to your website and/or sales receipts. 

Here are the public holidays in Australia (2021). Some holidays are Australian-wide but not all, so we have segmented the holidays into states for clarity. 

Australian Capital Territory

  • Friday 1 January – New Year’s Day
  • Tuesday 26 January – Australia Day
  • Monday 8 March – Canberra Day
  • Friday 2 April – Good Friday
  • Saturday 3 April – Easter Saturday
  • Sunday 4 April – Easter Sunday
  • Monday 5 April – Easter Monday
  • Sunday 25 April – Anzac Day
  • Monday 26 April – Additional public holiday for Anzac Day
  • Monday 31 May – Reconciliation Day
  • Monday 14 June – Queen’s Birthday
  • Monday 4 October – Labour Day
  • Saturday 25 December – Christmas Day
  • Sunday 26 December – Boxing Day
  • Monday 27 December – Additional public holiday for Christmas Day
  • Tuesday 28 December – Additional public holiday for Boxing Day

New South Wales

  • Friday 1 January – New Year’s Day
  • Tuesday 26 January – Australia Day
  • Friday 2 April – Good Friday
  • Saturday 3 April – Easter Saturday
  • Sunday 4 April – Easter Sunday
  • Monday 5 April – Easter Monday
  • Sunday 25 April – Anzac Day
  • Monday 14 June – Queen’s Birthday
  • Monday 2 August – Bank Holiday (applies to banks and certain financial institutions)
  • Monday 4 October – Labour Day
  • Saturday 25 December – Christmas Day
  • Sunday 26 December – Boxing Day
  • Monday 27 December – Additional public holiday for Christmas Day
  • Tuesday 28 December – Additional public holiday for Boxing Day

Northern Territory

  • Friday 1 January – New Year’s Day
  • Tuesday 26 January – Australia Day
  • Friday 2 April – Good Friday
  • Saturday 3 April – Easter Saturday
  • Monday 5 April – Easter Monday
  • Monday 26 April – Anzac Day (substitute day as Anzac Day falls on a weekend)
  • Monday 3 May – May Day
  • Monday 14 June – Queen’s Birthday
  • Monday 2 August – Picnic Day
  • Friday 24 December – Christmas Eve (from 7pm to 12 midnight)
  • Saturday 25 December – Christmas Day
  • Monday 27 December – Additional public holiday for Christmas Day
  • Tuesday 28 December – Boxing Day (substitute day as Boxing Day falls on a Sunday)
  • Friday 31 December – New Year’s Eve (from 7pm to 12 midnight)

Queensland

  • Friday 1 January – New Year’s Day
  • Tuesday 26 January – Australia Day
  • Friday 2 April – Good Friday
  • Saturday 3 April – Day after Good Friday
  • Sunday 4 April – Easter Sunday
  • Monday 5 April – Easter Monday
  • Monday 26 April – Anzac Day (substitute day as Anzac Day falls on a Sunday)
  • Monday 3 May – Labour Day
  • Wednesday 11 August – Royal Queensland Show (Brisbane area only)
  • Monday 4 October – Queen’s Birthday
  • Friday 24 December – Christmas Eve (from 6pm to 12 midnight)
  • Saturday 25 December – Christmas Day
  • Sunday 26 December – Boxing Day
  • Monday 27 December – Additional public holiday for Christmas Day
  • Tuesday 28 December – Additional public holiday for Boxing Day

South Australia

  • Friday 1 January – New Year’s Day
  • Tuesday 26 January – Australia Day
  • Monday 8 March – Adelaide Cup Day
  • Friday 2 April – Good Friday
  • Saturday 3 April – Easter Saturday
  • Monday 5 April – Easter Monday
  • Sunday 25 April – Anzac Day
  • Monday 26 April – Additional public holiday for Anzac Day
  • Monday 14 June – Queen’s Birthday
  • Monday 4 October – Labour Day
  • Friday 24 December – Christmas Eve (from 7pm to 12 midnight)
  • Sunday 26 December – Boxing Day / Proclamation Day
  • Monday 27 December – Christmas Day (substitute day as Christmas Day falls on a Saturday)
  • Tuesday 28 December – Additional public holiday for Boxing Day / Proclamation Day
  • Friday 31 December – New Year’s Eve (from 7pm to 12 midnight)

Tasmania

  • Friday 1 January – New Year’s Day
  • Tuesday 26 January – Australia Day
  • Monday 8 March – Canberra Day
  • Friday 2 April – Good Friday
  • Saturday 3 April – Easter Saturday
  • Sunday 4 April – Easter Sunday
  • Monday 5 April – Easter Monday
  • Sunday 25 April – Anzac Day
  • Monday 26 April – Additional public holiday for Anzac Day
  • Monday 31 May – Reconciliation Day
  • Monday 14 June – Queen’s Birthday
  • Monday 4 October – Labour Day
  • Saturday 25 December – Christmas Day
  • Sunday 26 December – Boxing Day
  • Monday 27 December – Additional public holiday for Christmas Day
  • Tuesday 28 December – Additional public holiday for Boxing Day

Victoria

  • Friday 1 January – New Year’s Day
  • Tuesday 26 January – Australia Day
  • Monday 8 March – Labour Day
  • Friday 2 April – Good Friday
  • Saturday 3 April – Saturday before Easter Sunday
  • Sunday 4 April – Easter Sunday
  • Monday 5 April – Easter Monday
  • Sunday 25 April – Anzac Day
  • Monday 14 June – Queen’s Birthday
  • TBC – Friday before AFL Grand Final (subject to AFL schedule)
  • Tuesday 2 November – Melbourne Cup
  • Saturday 25 December – Christmas Day
  • Sunday 26 December – Boxing Day
  • Monday 27 December – Additional public holiday for Christmas Day
  • Tuesday 28 December – Additional public holiday for Boxing Day

Western Australia

  • Friday 1 January – New Year’s Day
  • Tuesday 26 January – Australia Day
  • Monday 1 March – Labour Day
  • Friday 2 April – Good Friday
  • Monday 5 April – Easter Monday
  • Sunday 25 April – Anzac Day
  • Monday 26 April – Additional public holiday for Anzac Day
  • Monday 7 June – Western Australia Day
  • Monday 27 September – Queen’s Birthday (Some regional areas in WA hold the Queen’s Birthday public holiday on a different date)
  • Saturday 25 December – Christmas Day
  • Sunday 26 December – Boxing Day
  • Monday 27 December – Additional public holiday for Christmas Day
  • Tuesday 28 December – Additional public holiday for Boxing Day

Shipping to Australia from the UK after Brexit

The impacts of Brexit on shipping services and processes between the UK and the EU are well-known. But if your shipments are being sent directly from an address in the UK to an address in Australia your shipments shouldn’t be affected. Need to know more about Brexit and shipping? Visit our Brexit resource centre.

Top tips for packaging shipments to Australia

Your goods are going to be making a 9,443-mile journey, by a variety of different transport types and traversing their way through multiple customs processes. With this potentially bumpy road ahead, you need to make sure you package your goods securely and well. Failing to do so risks them arriving in poor condition, or not at all. Poorly packaged goods can also cause delays at customs and even incur extra costs as sending large packages is more expensive and protrusions can also add unnecessary pounds to your shipping bill. 

Here are some top tips for packing your packages well and safely:

  1. When booking your shipment make sure you check the price gradations for package size (dimensions) and weight.
  2. Always opt for lightweight yet sturdy filling material. Bubble wrap and styrofoam are popular traditional options. But considering that a 2020 report revealed that 47% of Australians want sustainable packaging, why not offer environmentally friendly materials such as FSC-approved recycled cardboard and paper or biodegradable packing peanuts? It’s always good to set yourself apart from your competitors! 
  3. Use hard-wearing, water resistant packaging materials and reinforce the corners with tape for extra protection if necessary.
  4. Avoid surcharges by sticking to the maximum size of 120 x 60 x 60 cm (external dimensions) and 360 cm (belt size). 
  5. Attach all the important customs documents securely to the outside of the package (more on this later). 
  6. Address the package in the accepted way for Australia. Which brings us neatly to our next section…

How is the address written when sending a parcel from the UK to Australia?

When you are shipping from the UK to Australia you can avoid delays and parcels going missing by making sure you fill in the address correctly. Here’s a step-by-step guide to getting it right: 

  1. Left align all text. 
  2. Write the recipient’s name on the first line. To avoid delay at customs it is best to write the full name, in fact, it is mandatory with carriers such as Parcelforce. 
  3. Write the street address with the number first; eg 25 Byron Way. If it is an apartment, write the apartment number first then the building with a slash between the two numbers e.g 2/25 Byron Way. 
  4. After the street address, write the name of the town or city. 
  5. Then write the state (we have listed the abbreviations below). 
  6. Write the postcode at the bottom.
  7. Then the country name – Australia – in capitals. 

An example of how the address should be written in Australia: 

Jackie Smith, 

44 Hobbs Hill, 

Byron Bay

NSW

2481

AUSTRALIA

Australian state and territory abbreviations

There are six states in Australia and two territories. The abbreviations are shown in the table below:

  • Australian Capital Territory – ACT
  • New South Wales – NSW
  • Northern Territory – NT
  • Queensland – QLD
  • South Australia – SA
  • Tasmania – TAS
  • Victoria – VIC
  • Western Australia – WA

What customs documents are required for shipping from the UK to Australia?

Making sure you understand the customs processes when shipping from the UK to Australia is vital. Failing to honour your responsibilities or fill out the paperwork correctly could result in fines, delays in shipping – or your shipments not arriving at their destination at all. These issues are all avoidable, so it’s a good idea to take time to make sure you really understand the processes. 

The three most important documents you need to complete and submit when shipping from the UK to Australia are the commercial invoice, air waybill (AWB) and either the CN22 and CN23 form. Read on to discover everything you need to know about these forms

What is an airway bill?

An airway bill (AWB) is a customs document that is supplied with goods being sent by an international courier. It acts as a legal contract between the sender and the shipping carrier, so it is vital that the AWB is filled out and supplied correctly. 

The AWB contains important information about the shipments including:

  • The address of the buyer
  • The value of the goods
  • Description of the products
  • The weight of the goods
  • The airport code where the package was sent from. 

All the items mentioned above are important not only for shipping processes but also because they assist with tracking. It is a good idea to add the recipient’s phone number. In fact, some of the carriers we have included in this guide require recipient contact numbers to be on the AWB to avoid delays or other issues.

What is a commercial invoice?

Commercial invoices help customs officers decide what customs and duties need to be applied to your goods. So, as you can imagine, filling them out incorrectly could cost you either in fines or by simply paying too much tax or duty. 

The commercial invoice is a universal standardised form so it helps speed up processes and prevents delays at customs. Although it is the seller’s responsibility to ensure they complete and supply this document, it is a good idea to send a copy of the commercial invoice to your customer before shipping so they can check and confirm that all the data is correct. It also demonstrates to your customer that you care about providing great customer service!

Why do I need to fill out and supply a commercial invoice?

Commercial invoices are mandatory if you ship with an international carrier, such as DHL Express or UPS. If you want to ensure your shipments clear customs swiftly, that you prevent delays to your customers and that you don’t incur fines you need to fill out and supply a correct commercial invoice. If you want more information on commercial invoices including how to fill them out correctly first time, visit our complete guide to commercial invoices. You can also download a free commercial invoice template there. 

What are Customs declarations CN22 and CN23 and why do I need them?

Merchants must include either a Customs declaration CN22 and CN23 form when shipping from the UK to Australia when shipping with a postal company like Royal Mail or Parcelforce. Both the CN22 and CN23 are designed to provide clear concise information to customs officials so they can understand what is in your parcels. This information helps them process and clear your shipments more efficiently so your customers receive them in a timely fashion. 

What’s the difference between a CN22 and CN23? 

If your shipment has a value of up to £270 you need to attach a signed and dated CN22. If the value is greater than £270, or your package weighs more than 2kg, then you need to supply a Customs Declaration CN23.

Need more information on these important shipping forms? Take a look at our complete guide to customs declarations CN22 and CN23 for everything you need to know. Plus there’s  a free, easy to use tool for creating your own CN22 and CN23 forms. 

What are the import and tax duties for shipping from the UK to Australia?

Import and tax duties apply when shipping goods from the UK to Australia. Many merchants find this subject a bit daunting and it can take a few goes to feel completely confident.  But take your time, do your checks and you will be fine. 

Here’s a rundown of all you need to know about import and tax duties for shipping to Australia from the UK. 

What are duties? 

Duties are fees that are collected by the government on goods as they enter a country such as trade tariffs and export and excise duties. Duties are usually paid by the importer. 

What are taxes?

Even if goods are purchased overseas they may still be subject to government taxes such as VAT and GST when they arrive in the country. The amount of taxes varies per country and they are usually paid by the importer. 

In your situation, as an online retailer, during the exchange of sale, you are classed as the exporter, and your customer is classified as the importer.

How do I know how much I need to pay in duties and taxes?

How much duties and taxes you need to pay depends on a number of factors, including: 

  • The HS code: This is a short universally accepted code that is used to classify your goods. You can find out more about these codes and how to find yours in our complete guide to HS codes
  • What the goods are, and what their value is: How much your goods are worth and the type of products they are will directly affect the taxes and duties you pay. So, another good reason to fill out your commercial invoice correctly. 
  • The Incoterms: Like HS codes, Incoterms are a universally-accepted coding system to help standardise and streamline shipping processes. Incoterms describe the different responsibilities the seller and buyer have agreed for insurance, transport, customs clearance and liability. Basically, your chosen Incoterm determines what you as the seller are responsible for, and what your customer is responsible for. They determine whether you will cover the costs of the duties and taxes, or whether your customer will pay for them. For more information, and to ensure you get it right first time, check out our  complete guide to incoterms.

How do I calculate import duties that I need to pay? 

  1. Firstly, check the duty percentage rate on the goods you’re shipping from the UK to Australia. You can find this with our free HS code finder
  2. Add up the value of your goods, all the freight costs, any insurance premiums or additional costs. Then multiply the total by the duty rate. This amount is the duty you need to pay for your shipment.

An example of calculating import duties on your shipments

  • You, as the e-commerce merchant, are sending a t-shirt worth £20 from London to Sydney. 
  • You use the Sendcloud HS Code Finder to check which code you need to use. It’s 6109. 
  • You decide to send it by DHL Air Classic which costs £33.21. You decide against insurance. 
  • The rate of duty on this item is 5% when sending from the UK to Australia. 
  • So, Value = £20 + freight cost = £33.21 = £53.21. 
  • The total duty you need to pay is £2.66.

What is the Australian Goods and Services Tax (GST)?

The majority of goods and services in Australia are subject to a 10% Goods and Services Tax (GST). Here’s the lowdown on GST for e-commerce merchants sending from the UK to Australia: 

  • GST is applied to retail sales made either online and offline. 
  • GST is charged to low-value goods (AUD $1,000 or less) that have been imported to Australia and sold to consumers. 
  • If you are importing and selling goods in Australia and generating sales of more than $75,000 you need to charge GST low-value products as well. 
  • If the imported products are worth more than AUD $1,000, the party importing the goods will have to pay GST, as well as duty. There may be other additional taxes and charges. Please check with the Australian border force for more information. 

You can get more information on the tax on retail sales of goods and services into Australia by accessing the official guide from the Australian Taxation Office

How do I register for GST in Australia?

You can register with GST in Australia by heading to the Australian Government web page. You can also register for an Australian Business Number (ABN) at the same time. More on AMBs shortly! 

What do I need to do once I have registered with GST in Australia?

Once you have successfully registered your business for GST in Australia you need to do the following: 

  • Always include GST in the price of the low value goods you ship from the UK to Australia.
  • Include your GST number on the CN23 in the Sender’s Customs Reference field. 
  • If the customer has an ABN, include the GST number in the Addressee’s Reference field of the CN23 form.
  • Make sure you issue receipts to your customers in Australia showing the correct amount of GST.
  • Include your GST registration number on the receipt.
  • Include your Australian Business Number (ABN) on the receipt, if you have one. 
  • Ensure you meet all your reporting, payment and record-keeping requirements.

How do I calculate the amount of GST that I need to pay? 

  1. Find out the GST rates for Australia. At the time of writing, this was 10%. 
  2. Add up the value of your goods, all your freight costs, insurance premiums, import duty and any additional costs you have incurred. 
  3. Multiply the total by Australia’s GST rate. That’s the amount of GST you’ll need to pay to customs for your shipment.

How do I know when to pay the duties and taxes on my goods?

Senders usually pay duties and taxes on goods before they arrive at customs in their country of destination. Some carriers offer a chargeable service to help you speed up import processes. This can be really useful for e-commerce merchants who are unused to sending parcels internationally.

What is an Australian Business Number (ABN) and do I need one?

An Australian Business Number, or ABN is a unique 11 digit number that helps to identify your business to the Government and Australian citizens. Applying for an ABN is free and easy and you will be immediately added to the Australian Business Register (ABR). You will receive your 11 digit number straight away, which means you can get on with applying for GST and other business registration processes. The Australian Government aims to review your application within 20 days and will contact you if they need more information. 

Top tip – Registering a website domain in Australia can help build trust with your new market.  If you want to do this, having an ABN can help expedite the process.

Which goods cannot be shipped to Australia?

Australia is well-known for its strict customs standards, which are part of their extensive efforts to preserve their rich and varied wildlife. Be part of this important campaign – and get your parcels to their destination on time and in great condition – by understanding and honouring the rules around prohibited goods. 

Types of prohibited goods change over time so it’s important to check with the official Australia import information if you are sending a new type of product. Your shipping carrier may also be able to help you with this. Check the list of prohibited goods to Australia to make sure you comply.  

Important note – all the products you sell in Australia must also comply with the Australian Consumer Law. This law was established to protect Australian consumers and must be adhered to. 

Sending groceries to Australia – important considerations

Alongside being aware of the strict regulations around prohibited groceries, merchants should also be aware that Australian customs have very strict rules around the import of wood products, so it is best to avoid using pallets or wooden packaging when sending shipments down under. 

As you will have gathered from the above section, Australia works very hard to ensure that they are not exposed to disease or vermin through imported goods. With this in mind, here are some important rules to follow when sending groceries from the UK to Australia: 

  • Food must be in the manufacturer’s original unopened packaging.
  • Food labels must list all the ingredients in the product.
  • The expiry date must be more than 6 months from the date the products are shipped.
  • The products must not contain alcohol, dairy, meat, poultry, fish or seafood ingredients.
  • The products can not be home made (they must be store bought). 
  • Always clearly list food items and quantities on customs documents. Including brand names is always useful, but don’t use nicknames in case customs officials are not familiar with them. 
  • Provide an approximate value for the groceries.

What types of food are banned from import into Australia? 

Here is a list of the food types that are banned from import into Australia. This list is subject to change at short notice so it is best to check with the Australian Government website to make sure. 

  • Perishables
  • Fruit and vegetables
  • Seeds and nuts
  • Eggs and egg products
  • Dairy products
  • Meat, chicken or fish products
  • Baby formula (milk powder)
  • Tobacco products

Conclusion

So, now you have reached the end of your complete guide to shipping from the UK to Australia. There’s a lot of information, rules and legislation to get your head around, we know, but considering the opportunities available it’s definitely worth the effort! 

When it comes to the bureaucratic side of things it really is all about paying attention to detail and giving yourself time to get it right first time, so you can build your confidence from there upwards. Similarly, when it comes to choosing your shipping provider, take your time to conduct your research and find the right carrier or carriers for you. You might decide that one company offers everything you need, or you might discover that carrier #1 is best for your heavier shipments and carrier #2 is great for smaller parcels that need to get there as soon as possible. With such great distances to cover, offering a choice to your customer could be really beneficial. It is up to you to decide what is best for you and your customers in both the short and long-term. 

And if you find that variety really is the spice of life why not sign up with Sendcloud you can choose from a variety of shipping providers with just a few clicks! Sounds good? Find out more today

Want more help shipping to other locations? Check out our full guides for the following countries:

Leave a Reply