5 Things You Should Know about the Process of Sea Freight Importation


However, having the knowledge of how the process works is anytime useful in order to understand why your freight forwarder needs you to give certain information and why a certain time is taken by the process.

This will certainly reduce your stress and will give you peace of mind because you know how things go on.

10 Steps of Importation

Sea Freight Importation

In general, there are 10 steps in the process of importing sea freight, which are based on the objects you are importing and the country from which you are importing. Here are the steps:

1 Origin of Booking

The booking of shipment is typically done at the origin, for example, Tokyo for an import from Japan to Australia.

2. Origin Clearance, Loading, and Trucking

3. Sea Freight

The item is shipped to the destination Australian port.

4. Documents Issued

The necessary papers are issued and handed over to the shipper and/or importer.

5. Arrival at Wharf

Your item arrives at the destination seaport in Australia such as Sydney, Adelaide, Townsville, Brisbane, Melbourne, Fremantle (Perth)

6. Import Clearance

This should be in process before arriving at the wharf. The more it is in advance, the smoother will be the arrival of goods and the faster will be their release.

7. Customs/Quarantine

Duty may apply and some quarantine actions should be taken depending on the type of goods.

8. Availability of Wharf

The freight should be collected in the window suggested by the terminal for every vessel so as to avoid storage penalty.

9. Delivery to Site

The goods are delivered to the importer’s site.

10. Return Empty Container

After containers containing the goods are emptied, they are returned. They are parked at container parks till being used again by carriers.

Read also: Car subscriptions during a business travel and other tips.

Necessary Documents

Bill of Lading

Providers of coastal shipping Australia like Dazmac Logistics can advise you about which documents you should have while importing goods.

Bill of Lading

This is a very important document being the proof of the contract of carriage between the “Shipper” and the “Carrier”. It can also be evidence of ownership of the goods.

Usually, two types of this document are used:

Original Bill of Lading: This is the standard for overseas shipping and is produced when the goods are ‘laden’ on a ship at origin and are given to the shipper.

Express Release Bill of Lading: In this case, the shipper leaves the hold on the goods immediately which means that an “original” is never issued.

The shipper gets only a copy of the bill of lading for their reference once the goods are laden on the ship. Due to this, the goods are released the moment they reach the destination.



Stevedores use a slot system to control import/export road movements. It is accessed by the transporters.

Although there may be some variation between operators, generally slots should be booked up to 3 days beforehand.

All containers should be collected within 3 days of the arrival of the vessel; or else you can incur an expensive wharf storage charge.

Container Detention

Container Detention

Freight forwarders set limitations on when you should return their empty containers. These are typically 10 days of wharf availability. However, sometimes they are 7 days.

Charge for carrier detention may also vary. But it’s typically costly and increases further with time.



Importing goods valued more than AUD 1,000 will be charged Customs duty and taxes. The rate will depend on the classification of your item.

Thus if you get importing a car from Japan to Australia with Dazmac Logistics, you have to pay the charge accordingly.

Understanding these rules and norms will help you make the process of importation smooth and understandable without being stressed out.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *