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    International Shipping to Australia & The World

    Moving to Australia, or other countries for that matter, involves making many decisions, including whether or not to ship your entire household to your new location. There are endless options for household shipping, but this comes with a substantial amount of work.

    What are your options for household shipping?

    There are a number of ways to move your household items to a new country – by air, sea cargo or international mail post. What service you choose will depend on the goods to be shipped; restrictions, if there any; insurance; and the shipping company to hire.

    Air and sea freight are the two most common options used, both of which have their share of pros and cons.

    Pros of Air Freight

    • Speedy and faster delivery

    • Recommended when shipping to a landlocked country

    • Cost-effective to a certain extent

    Pros of Air Freight

    • Expensive because of the speed of delivery

    Pros of Sea Freight

    • Cost-effective option when shipping belongings that can fill a full container load

    • Pre-custom checking may be available, which guarantees that the contents of a container is fully acceptable in a new country

    • There is a Groupage option available where household items are shipped with other goods going to the same destination. This is recommended for when you can’t fill a full container load, but there’s still a substantial number of goods to be relocated.

    Cons of Sea Freight

    • Full container load requires sufficient access from and to your home.

    • Group shipping is subject to availability

    • Household items will be delivered to the closest port, which, depending on the international shipping company you use, could mean you need to arrange transport of goods to your house.

    What household items can or can’t you ship or fly?

    If you’re relocating to Australia, know that the country is very strict in accepting, rejecting and inspecting personal and household goods coming from overseas. The Australian Quarantine Inspection and Service (AQIS) is responsible for carrying out a high level of physical inspection.  

    • Foodstuff and foreign materials are strictly prohibited

    Australia is committed in keeping its unique environment and agriculture industries pest-free, which is why smaller items of food, soil particles, and even traces of foreign matter found in your golf club, vacuum cleaner or garden tools, would be grounds for seizure and destruction by AQIS.

    • Unaccompanied Personal Effects (UPEs) must meet the required time frame

    UPEs must be owned and used overseas for at least 12 months, before they are shipped to Australia. Otherwise, they will be subject to GST and duty assessment, which could cost a lot. UPEs must be your personal property, but does not include items you purchased online, those bequeathed to you, commercial goods, and motor vehicles and parts.

    • Small electrical items are fine, big ones – not so much

    Due to the power system of Australia, some electrical items may not work in your new home. A television from the UK, for example, must have a SCART connection to avoid sound processing problems. As for kitchen appliances, such as refrigerators and washing machines, you should take into account the fixtures available in your new house, or the standards in Australia, so you won’t have trouble hooking them up.

    • Garden furniture and tools must be cleaned before shipment

    As previously mentioned, any foreign matter or soil particles found in any household items are a major no-no. Make sure garden furniture, tools and similar equipment are cleaned before they are packed and shipped to Australia. If necessary, treat them for safe transport.

    • Some kitchen goods are prohibited items

    Dry foods can be shipped to Australia, provided that they are properly packed and tightly sealed. The same thing is true if you want to bring herbs and spices that may harbour insects. It would be a lot safer, however, if you simply leave them behind.

    The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry also consider prohibited fresh fruits and vegetables, live plants and bulbs, live animals and pets, unidentified seeds, prohibited and restricted seeds, biological products, unprocessed goods, and any items that are soiled, contains organic residues or infected with disease or pests.

    In the event that you really want to ship items considered as prohibited, you need to declare them in the shipping document.

    Other goods that need to be declared are dried fruits and vegetables; biscuits, cakes and confectionery; tea, coffee, and milk-based drinks; noodles and rice; wooden articles; basket or ware made of bamboo or rattan; and fresh flowers.

    Knowing what you can and can’t fly or ship will help narrow down the number of household items you need to move to Australia or other countries. It would also help to identify whether or not it is less expensive to buy new items in your new destination.

    How to pack household items?

    Once you have a list of acceptable household items, it’s time to start packing.

    • Pack well in advance, so you’ll have everything ready by the time movers arrive to collect household goods.

    • Create a packing system that will help you stay organised. For instance, store all kitchen utensils in one box, with each carton labelled properly, complete with a detailed inventory of what’s inside. This will not only make it easier to unpack, but also guide the removal company to pack each box appropriately.

    • Appliances and electrical items connected to the main power supply must be disconnected by a professional.

      Defrost refrigerator and freezers the day before shipping, and wipe them with a damp cloth.

    • Make sure to wrap artworks carefully, properly and securely.

    • Make sure to get a letter from Your GP or physician when packing prescription medicine.

    • Clean outdoor equipment thoroughly before shipment. Even if it is generally quarantined, ensuring it is clean would mean you get to keep it. Remember, AQIS? Yes, don’t give them a reason to destroy your household goods.

    • Check for import permit in your new country if you want ship firearms.

    In addition, you need to ensure that the international shipping company will be allowed to park outside both your previous and new premises, or at least has enough room for their vehicles to manoeuvre within your property. You wouldn’t want to have problems with your neighbours just when you’re about to leave. Nor annoy your new neighbours!

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