Shipping goods from the United Kingdom to Australia

Roberto Efflandrin

In 2021 alone, goods being imported from the United Kingdom into Australia increased by 4% or £173 billion in comparison to the previous year.¹ With a free-trade agreement (FTA) between the United Kingdom (UK) and Australia looming, importing goods to Australia will become easier, and even more popular.

This article will take you through the process, costs and time it takes to import goods into Australia.

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What are the shipping methods from the UK to Australia?

As an island continent, Australia relies heavily on air and sea systems for the shipment of goods from other countries. Which system is best for shipping items from the UK to Australia will depend on a few things. This includes:

  • The type of good being shipped
  • The specifications of what is being shipped such as the size and amount of goods
  • Whether it is a personal or commercial type shipment

Below we’ll outline the process and the types of companies that can be used to ship your goods from the UK to Australia for each method.

Shipping by Air from the UK to Australia

Shipping your goods via air freight or air cargo (these terms are used interchangeably) is a popular shipping method for those who require their goods to come quickly. To ship goods by air you’ll generally need to:

  1. Contact or make an account with a provider of choice
  2. Package your goods according to the certain requirements
  3. Provide certain documentation about your package including contents, addresses, value of foods, type of goods etc.
  4. Organise how and where your goods will be sent from
  5. Save your tracking number to trace your shipment

If there is no urgency for when you need to receive your goods, you can look into shipping by sea.

Shipping by Sea from the UK to Australia

Shipping by sea is a good option for those who need to ship a lot of items at once, or have no urgency for when they need to receive their goods. Although weight and dimensions are still important, you can usually ship large items with unusual dimensions by sea easier than by air freight.

Following a similar process to shipping by air, a key difference is that you’ll need to choose whether you require a Less than Container Load (LCL) or a Full Container Load (FCL). For a LCL order, the goods will be in a container with other goods, while an FCL order will have exclusive use of one or more shipping containers.


Some popular shipping companies from the UK to Australia

There are different types of companies that you can organise to ship your goods from the UK to Australia. You can use courier services, international logistic companies, or freight forwarders. The differences between these entities are as follows.

  • Courier services specialise in door to door logistical services
  • Freight Forwarders are third party individual agents or corporations that organise shipments for individuals or corporations
  • International logistic companies plan, store and control the movements of goods, services and information

Here are some popular shipping companies that many use to ship goods from the UK to Australia.


DHL is an international logistics company. DHL offers shipping services international mail, parcels and freight via air, road, ocean and rail systems. From the UK to Australia specifically, DHL offers different air and sea services that vary in price and shipping time.²

Anglo Pacific

Anglo Pacific is one of the UK’s largest international shipping and removals companies that ships all consignments by sea. They offer shipping services for baggage, international shipping of goods, pet transportation and car shipping.³


Fedex is a large multinational logistics company. Fedex specialises in express air freight and transportation services, shipping to 220 countries worldwide.⁴

Seven Seas Worldwide

Seven Seas Worldwide is based in the UK and specialises in storage and shipping services by sea. They help customers move anything from personal belongings, baggage and household items by sea.⁵

What are the typical costs of shipping goods from the UK to Australia?

To gauge the typical costs between air and sea freight shipping, we’ll compare FedEx, Anglo Pacific and DHL in the table below to ship a parcel weighing 20 kgs from the UK to Australia.

Example shipping costs from the UK to Australia

Shipment type* FedEx⁶ Anglo Pacific⁷ DHL⁸
20kg Parcel Two options (Air freight only)

International express, flat rate for 25kg box = 273.23 GBP

FedEx Economy = 293 GBP

Two options (Sea freight only)

Sea Freight to Door = 125 GBP

Courier express to door = 315 GBP

Three options (Air Freight only)

Drop at DHL service point = 221.86 GBP

Home collection = 222.36 GBP

Drop at DHL depot = 220.91 GBP

*Prices quoted on the 26th July 2022

These prices are just a guide and may not include extra duties and fees. Each provider offers the ability to submit an online quote on their website to check approximately how much your actual shipment will cost.

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Import duties and fees to know about

When exporting goods from the UK to Australia, you don’t have to pay any Value Added Tax (VAT) if you provide evidence that your shipment of goods is being exported abroad.⁹

Regardless of which method of shipping you choose to import your goods, you may have to pay added import duties or fees on the value of your goods once they arrive in Australia.. Some reasons that you may incur extra import costs include¹⁰:

  • Goods are valued at more than $1000 AUD
  • Goods fall under fuel, tobacco or alcohol products
  • Goods that may pose a biosecurity risk
  • The goods being sent are unaccompanied personal effects (UPE)¹¹

All imports coming into Australia are subject to 10% Goods and Service Tax (GST) unless a GST tariff or free trade agreement is in place.¹⁰

Documentation required

The documentation requirements will change depending on if the goods are personal effects, unaccompanied personal effects (UPE) or commercial goods.

Despite this, every parcel being imported from the UK to Australia will need to be accompanied by a UK customs form that specifies what the contents of the parcel is. On top of this, depending on the contents, you may also need to provide¹¹:

  • The retail value of the contents
  • Australian border force declaration form
  • Invoice, packing list and photo of a personal ID such as a passport of the sender

Some companies such as DHL will provide copies of any forms that you need when setting up a shipment.

Are there any shipping restrictions into Australia from the UK?

There are some items that will require you to declare or apply for an import permit or risk them being seized on arrival. These include goods that may pose a risk to biosecurity such as plant, animal or certain chemicals.¹⁰ There are also goods that are prohibited and under no circumstances be shipped to Australia. You can read more about import permits and licences here.

How long does shipping take from the UK to Australia?

Generally shipping your goods by air freight is faster than by sea. Timeframes for either method from the UK to Australia can range from:

  • Air transport can offer express or standard packages that can take anywhere from 3-10 days
  • Shipping by sea can take on average 50 days from port to port

These timeframes can vary between companies and sometimes can be subject to delays.

Country specific information to watch out for

As there is a Free-Trade Agreement between the UK and Australia going through parliamentary approval, some of the information and requirements above may change once this FTA is approved.

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  1. UK Government trades with Australia
  2. DHL corporate information
  3. Anglo Pacific company profile
  4. FedEx Corporate information
  5. Seven Seas Worldwide company information
  6. FedEx Rates
  7. Anglo Pacific Quote (private form)
  8. DHL shipping rates
  9. UK GOV VAT on exports
  10. Australian Government import duties and fees
  11. DHL Australian Customs forms

Sources checked on: 26 July 2022

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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