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International Freight Services in Australia

Tap into our global network of airfreight carriers for quick delivery of your goods.

Air Freight Learn more

Take advantage of our efficient and reliable sea freight solutions for both FCL and LCL.

Sea Freight Learn more

Get expert customs advice and partner with us for all your customs clearance needs.

Customs Consultancy Learn more

Expert coordination in complex projects. We handle unique, heavy, out-of-gauge, and bulk cargo end-to-end.

Project Freight Forwarding Learn more

We select the best transport modes and storage options to suit your requirements.

Warehousing & Transport Learn more

Your logistics partner

Via Air, Land, Or Sea, We Make It Hassle-Free

Did you know that our forwarding consultants have 100+ years of combined industry experience? We have worked with hundreds of importers and exporters managing freight across the world and are proud to boast a high client retention rate.

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FAQ Section

Shipping & Freight Questions

What does a freight forwarder do?

What does a freight forwarder do?

Freight forwarders facilitate the efficient movement of goods across borders. They act as intermediaries between shippers, carriers and customs authorities coordinating the transportation of goods from the point of origin to their final destination. Whether you are shipping by sea, air, or land, a skilled freight forwarder can save you time and money by optimising routes, selecting the most cost-effective service and arranging the right transport and equipment.

Freight forwarders handle various tasks, such as:

  • selecting the right mode of transportation
  • choosing the best carriers according to price and schedule
  • booking cargo space
  • arranging marine insurance
  • coordinating communication and documentation between all stakeholders (client, shipping lines, air lines or rail lines, transport companies, wharf, container parks, cleaning/fumigation providers and customs authorities)
  • arranging customs clearance and biosecurity compliance
  • managing shipping documentation (including bills of lading, commercial invoices, packing declarations, certificates of origin, import permits or export declarations)
  • tracking shipments
  • arranging final transport
  • arranging warehousing, distribution, packing or unpacking services

What is customs clearance?

Customs clearance involves the formalities and procedures required to allow goods to enter or leave a country. It is the process by which government authorities (represented by customs officers), review and verify the documentation and contents of shipments to ensure they comply with the country’s import or export regulations.

Australia is known to be one of the strictest countries at its international borders. The ABF and DAFF have a number of rules and procedures that importers must comply with in order to bring goods from overseas.

Customs clearance involves several key steps, including:

  1. Documentation: Importers and exporters must provide a range of documents, such as commercial invoices, bills of lading, packing lists, and certificates of origin to customs authorities for review and verification.
  2. Assessment of Duties and Taxes: Customs officials determine the applicable duties, taxes, and fees that need to be paid for the imported or exported goods. The amount can vary depending on the nature of the goods and the country’s trade policies.
  3. Inspection: Customs authorities may inspect shipments to ensure that the goods match the information provided in the documentation and comply with safety, security, and other regulatory requirements.
  4. Release or Hold: After reviewing the documentation and inspection results, customs authorities decide whether to release the goods for entry into the country or hold them for further examination or investigation.
  5. Payment: Importers are typically responsible for paying the assessed duties, taxes, and fees before their goods can be released from customs. At worst, the goods might be denied entry and sent back to the country of origin (at the importer’s expense), or destroyed.

Customs clearance is a critical process as it helps ensure the security of a country and the compliance with trade and import/export regulations.

Customs brokers are the right professionals to engage if you are importing or exporting goods.

What does a customs broker do?

A customs broker, also known as a customs agent or customs clearance agent, is a licensed professional who facilitates the customs clearance process for importers and exporters. They assist clients in meeting their legal and regulatory requirements based on the goods they are shipping and the country.

  1. Documentation: Customs brokers are experts in preparing and reviewing the necessary documentation for customs clearance, including invoices, bills of lading, packing declarations, certificates of origin, import permits and certificates.
  2. Customs Entries: Customs brokers prepare and submit customs entries on behalf of their clients to the relevant customs authorities. These entries provide details about the imported or exported goods, their value, and other critical information required for customs clearance.
  3. Compliance: Customs brokers stay up-to-date with changing customs regulations and trade policies. In Australia, customs brokers ensure compliance set by the ABF and DAFF.
  4. Duties and Taxes: Customs brokers assist in calculating the applicable duties, taxes, and fees for imported goods and help their clients understand the financial obligations associated with the importation. They can also assess if you are eligible for tax concessions or GST deferrals.
  5. Communication: They act as intermediaries between their clients and government customs officials, addressing any inquiries or issues that may arise during the customs clearance process.
  6. Classification and Valuation: Customs brokers determine the correct tariff classification and valuation of goods to ensure accurate customs duties and taxes are assessed.
  7. Risk Management: Customs brokers help clients identify and mitigate potential issues with certain goods, particularly the ones categorised as dangerous, risky or prohibited goods.
  8. Record Keeping: They maintain records of all transactions and documents related to customs clearance, which can be valuable for audit purposes.

The expertise and knowledge of a customs broker can save businesses time and money while helping them avoid potential compliance issues and delays.

At ICE, we have our own in-house team of customs brokers to clear your imported goods. Unlike other forwarders, we do not sub-contract any of our functions to save on operational costs. Not only this means more control over the quality of our services, but faster communication between you and our brokers so we can process your customs entry as quickly as possible.

What is the difference between a freight forwarder and a customs broker?

A freight forwarder is responsible for organizing and overseeing the physical transportation and logistics of goods, coordinating with carriers, and managing aspects of cargo movement, while a customs broker specializes in customs clearance and regulatory compliance, ensuring the correct documentation is submitted, customs duties and taxes are paid, and all legal requirements for the entry of goods into a country are met.

More on our blog: 

What’s the difference between a freight forwarder and a logistics provider?

Freight forwarders specialize in coordinating the physical transportation of goods and managing customs documentation, serving as intermediaries between shippers and transportation carriers. Logistics providers, including 3PLs, offer a broader range of supply chain services, encompassing transportation, warehousing, inventory management, and more, focusing on optimizing the entire supply chain. In contrast, 4PLs act as strategic supply chain consultants, overseeing and coordinating all aspects of a company’s supply chain, including selecting and managing 3PLs and other service providers, with an emphasis on delivering end-to-end supply chain solutions and optimization.

What is project cargo?

Project cargo, or project logistics, refers to the transportation of oversized, overweight, or otherwise specialized goods and equipment that do not fit within a standard shipping container or require unique handling and logistics solutions. This type of cargo is often associated with large-scale industrial, construction, energy, and infrastructure projects. Project cargo can include items such as industrial machinery, power plant components, construction equipment, wind turbines, and more.

Key characteristics of project cargo include:

  1. Non-Standard Dimensions: Project cargo often includes items that are exceptionally large, heavy, or irregularly shaped. These items may require custom-built transport solutions.
  2. Specialized Handling: Due to the unique nature of project cargo, it often involves specialized handling equipment, such as cranes, forklifts, and rigging, to load, transport, and unload the cargo.
  3. Complex Logistics: The transportation of project cargo typically requires careful planning and coordination. It may involve multiple modes of transport, such as road, rail, sea, or air, and may require permits and route surveys to ensure safe and efficient movement.
  4. Custom Packaging: Project cargo may necessitate custom packaging or crating to protect the items during transit and to facilitate handling and transportation.
  5. Regulatory Compliance: Compliance with customs regulations, safety standards, and environmental requirements is crucial when dealing with project cargo. This often involves securing permits and adhering to specific regulations for transporting oversized or hazardous cargo.
  6. Time Sensitivity: Many project cargo shipments are time-sensitive and need to align with project schedules. Delays can have significant cost implications for large-scale projects.

Companies often work with specialized project cargo logistics providers or freight forwarders with expertise in this field.

At ICE, you get a dedicated project manager with over 10 years of industry experience to manage your project cargo, so you can rest assured your valuable cargo is in safe hands.

What goods do you NOT handle?

Please note that we work with registered businesses to move B2B commercial products only.

We don’t provide marine insurance alone, only on freight that we arrange and we cannot handle the following items:

  • Personal effects
  • Live exports (animals)
  • Fresh produce (fruits, vegetables)
  • Cold cargo (dairy, meats, refrigerated foods in general)
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We Consult. We Plan. We Deliver.

  • CONSULT – We discuss your specific needs.
  • PLAN – We develop a bespoke tailored plan that is cost-effective & efficient.
  • DELIVER – We manage your shipment and keep you updated from beginning to end.