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Freight and Logistics

Plan your market entry with the right freight forwarders.

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  • Understand the role of freight forwarders in exporting your products

Freight and logistics explained

To export merchandise from Australia you will need to transport it by either sea or air. Sea freight costs less but is often more economic to despatch small volume/high value items by air. It is also much quicker by air than sea.

Where sea freight is used, there may be regular scheduled sailings between popular destinations organised by Shipping Conferences. These are formed by associations of shipping companies which agree on and set freight rates over different routes. They may also adopt policies such as customer allocation, loyalty and open price contracts. Because they offer consistent freight rates, this simplifies planning through price stability.

Role of freight forwarders for export businesses

Most exporters will need to use the services of reputable freight forwarders who can ensure that cargoes are despatched in the most efficient and cost-effective manner. Freight forwarders are able to:

  • arrange bookings of cargo space with shipping companies and airlines
  • calculate the cost of alternative forms of transport to determine the most economic mode to use
  • monitor the movement and location of cargoes during transit from seller to buyer
  • arrange export documentation
  • offer storage facilities (including bond storage) and inspections, if required
  • provide information on market conditions, import regulations and tariff schedules/duty rates if applicable.

Some freight forwarders have the capability to offer specialist services for handling live cargo, sensitive equipment or bulk shipments. They may also be able to negotiate preferential rates with certain carriers.

Further information is available from Australian Federation of International Forwarders (A.F.I.F.) or Customs Brokers and Forwarders Council of Australia (CBFCA).