Sea freight


International Sea Freight Shipping: Cost Efficient & Flexible

If you are working with longer lead times and cost-effectiveness is a must, partnering with a sea freight forwarder like ICE is your ideal solution. Our experienced and dedicated team can compare all your options to provide the most competitive seafreight quote. From port handling & Stevedores to inland transportation, ICE is your #1 provider for reliable, end-to-end logistics management.

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Sea freight

SEAFreight Features

Our SEA Freight Services in Australia

Unparalleled Local Expertise

You will have access to our best-in-class forwarding team who have decades of experience and unmatched local knowledge.

Customs-Bonded Warehouses

We have two bonded warehouses to move your cargo from the port of arrival and store them safely at our premises while customs formalities are being arranged.

100% In-House Customs Clearance

Our highly experienced team of licensed customs brokers can help you navigate customs compliance and biosecurity regulations.

Free Trade Agreement Advice

Receive advice from our team on Free Trade Agreements you can benefit from.

Insurance Made Easy

We offer a range of marine insurance options so your goods are covered during every step of the journey (including for damage, theft and loss).

Quotes That Work

Benefit from the expertise of a seasoned sea freight forwarder with tailored door-to-door seafreight solutions designed to meet your unique business requirements.

Shipping of All Sizes

We handle cargo of all shapes and sizes. We can offer both direct and transhipment services to give you the best solution.

Ship to Anywhere

As an independent sea freight forwarder, our membership in 4 major global industry networks provides flexibility to source the best seafreight shipping options in the market.

project cargo

Your Sea Freight Forwarder experts for Bulk, Heavy & Oversized Sea Freight

No matter the stage of your project, ICE is equipped with the expertise to support you. With access to a range of specialist project cargo operators and over 35+ years of experience, your cargo is in safe hands. Every shipment is planned, scoped and monitored by our dedicated project forwarding manager to ensure effective delivery. We can assist you with:


FAQ Section

Sea Freight FAQ

“I need it urgently off the boat! Can you get my container first?”

Unfortunately, we don’t have control on vessel unloading and accessing containers in a specified ordered. When your container will be uplifted depends on the cargo stack. Heavy cargo will automatically sit on the bottom of the vessel, for safety and weight distribution purposes.

It can take up to 5 days (typically 2 days) for a container to be offloaded from a vessel, depending how far back and accessible the container is.

Once available at the wharf, we usually have three days to collect before demurrage charges apply.

Is the ETA the date when I will receive my cargo?

Arrival Date is NOT the delivery date.

Vessel ETA means the date the ship will arrive at the port, not when your shipment is going to be delivered. It can take up to 10 days for your goods to be delivered to your premises, after vessel arrival.

Once the vessel berths, all containers need to be offloaded and allocated for pick up from the wharf. This process takes 4 days on average for FCL and up to 10 days for LCL (as LCL cargo needs to be deconsolidated before it can be made available for collection). Please know that our team will work to get your cargo to you as quickly as possible but can only do so once cargo becomes available for collection.

Does ‘Direct Service’ mean direct to the port of arrival I booked to?

A ‘Direct Service’ means direct to Australia, not direct to the port you booked to.

A vessel from China, for example, typically calls the ports of Sydney and Melbourne first and then makes its way back up to Brisbane, depending on the port rotation established by the shipping line.
So please note that the term direct service is used generically for direct shipping into Australia, only. ICE can advise what port rotations are scheduled on your direct service and provide an ETA for when your cargo will be available at the port of arrival.

How long does sea freight to Australia take?

Shipment times depend on where your cargo is coming from, where it is headed, if it is on or off shipping peak season and other external factors, such as port congestion. You should always request a quote for accurate transit times, but generally speaking:

  • From China to Australia: 15-25 days
  • From Europe to Australia: 42-55 days
  • From US to Australia: 30-45 days
  • From New Zealand to Australia: 5-7 days

When should I choose seafreight over air freight?

Seafreight is considerably cheaper than air freight, however, it takes much longer. What is typically delivered in a couple of days via air, can take weeks via ocean.

Seafreight offers flexibility in terms of available routes and service options. It is also suitable for heavier, bulky loads and hazardous cargo.

If your cargo isn’t urgent and you want to save money, we recommend seafreight.

Connect with our sea freight specialists now on 1300 227 461. 

How much does shipping a full container cost (FCL)?

This will depend on a multitude of factors such as peak season, origin and destination locations, container type required  and whether a transhipment or direct service is preferred

As general guidelines, you can expect the following:

  • USD $2,500 for a 20’ container from China
  • USD $6,000 for a 20’ container from Europe
  • USD $4,500 for a 20’ container from the US
  • USD $3,500 for a 20’ container from New Zealand

How much does shipping a partial container cost (LCL)?

Less than Container Loads are charged per cubic metre. The minimum charge for LCL shipping is based on 1m3. Prices vary accordingly.

For smaller shipments (less than 1m3), it is worth exploring a courier service option.

If you are shipping goods from multiple suppliers to a single destination, ICE can arrange a consolidation service to ensure all your goods are loaded together in one container – saving you time and money.

Request a quote now to begin saving your money!

Does ICE offer Warehousing or 3PL services?

Yes! In addition to our very own warehouses, we can manage 3PL services for both short and long-term storage anywhere in Australia.

Plus: ICE has customs bonded warehouses in Sydney and Melbourne, which means that we are licensed to accept imported goods for storage until all customs formalities are arranged (such as duty payment).

What is coastal shipping and is it cheaper than rail freight?

Coastal Shipping is a cost-effective solution if you need to move cargo domestically, such as from the East Coast to the West Coast of Australia. This is serviced by both Australian flagged vessels and foreign-flagged vessels and can be a cheaper alternative than crossing the country via rail freight.

Recommended: How Coastal Shipping Can Reduce Your Transport Costs within Australia

How we can help you

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
we consult. we plan. we deliver. footer image

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.