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Australia Car Shipping & More

Importing Vehicles Into Australia Explained

Whether you are importing vehicles to Australia by air, or sea, there are many moving parts in the logistics chain. From the documentation, Customs, local port authorities, car carriers, shipping vessels, and customs brokers, all play a role in getting your vehicle delivered to you.


Even if one of the mentioned logistics puzzle pieces is not in order, it can cause major delays or derail your car shipping journey. Not to mention the car shipping cost which can spiral out of control if the process is not handled correctly.


It is always recommended to use a freight forwarding agent to assist with international car shipping. Whether you are importing classic cars to Australia or your motorbike, an experienced agent can make the process a breeze. 


Speaking to an industry professional such as Phoenix Shipping will ensure that each step is streamlined. Here at Phoenix, we strive to provide a full step-by-step guide tailored to your needs. In addition, not overwhelm you with the complex paperwork, clearances, and legislation involved.

Australia Car Shipping


Phoenix Shipping specialises in vehicle shipping Australia, which means we can help import a variety of vehicles. We have shipped from major international routes as well as more remote ports.


Here’s a quick breakdown of what we ship:

– Cars & Utes

– Caravans & Motorhomes

– Trailer Boats

– Motorcycles

– Heavy Machinery & Trucks


Vehicle shipping Australia is completely different from general cargo and thus requires a specialist to get it done right.

Worldwide Shipping

What taxes are payable when importing cars to Australia?


This calculator is designed to give you an indication of the taxes you may face when you are importing vehicles into Australia. It does not take into consideration the Luxury Car Tax (LCT) threshold which comes into effect for vehicles over $80,657 or $91,387 for Fuel Efficient Vehicles.


On the other hand, if you are car shipping Australia to elsewhere, you can disregard this calculator. When exporting vehicles from Australia, the import country’s tax law applies.


Once again, this information is only to be used as a guide and in no way constitutes a quote related to Australia car shipping cost. For a precise quote of importing cars to Australia, enter your details on the quote form below and one of our freight specialists will get back to you. 

Importing Cars To Australia

When it comes to Australia car shipping, Phoenix Shipping will always be one of the most competitive, experienced, and reliable freight forwarders. Get in touch now in regards to car shipping cost and the best method of import or export.

Importing Cars To Australia - Car Carrier
Car Shipping Australia - RoRo Port


Common Questions Answered Regarding Car Shipping & Importing Vehicles Into Australia


In short, yes. We offer Australia car shipping services for coastal movements as well as importing vehicles to Australia.


Coastal vehicle shipping Australia wide can often come out to be cheaper than trucking across the country. Especially when it comes to larger car shipping (in size) or importing machinery into Australia, caravan imports, etc. Phoenix Shipping can certainly assist you with coastal vehicle movements just like importing cars to Australia.


Our coastal car shipping Australia services include but are not limited to the following ports:


  • Brisbane
  • Port Kembla (Sydney)
  • Melbourne
  • Adelaide
  • Fremantle (Perth)

Phoenix Shipping offers a brokerage service offering multiple sailings per month between major ports. We are dedicated and committed to providing you with outstanding coastal car shipping Australia services. Above all, making it an easy process with minimal paperwork along with highly competitive car shipping cost. 


Our logistics expertise and extensive network allow us to provide a complete door-to-door solution. A combination of coastal shipping and trucking can significantly save you money in comparison to complete road or rail alternatives. Our customer service team works hard to ensure you are updated at every step of the way. In addition, we only deal with industry-leading contractors to ensure everything is handled as safely and securely as possible. 


Whether importing cars to Australia or coastal shipping, it is regarded as the lowest carbon-emitting mode of transport versus others. Therefore, not only is it cost-effective to ship cargo across the country, but it is also the most environmentally friendly.


From shipping bikes, heavy machinery transport, motorhomes, or importing classic cars to Australia, Phoenix Shipping can assist. 

There are 5 things we encourage our customers to do before exporting or importing cars to Australia. 


Firstly, we need to know if your vehicle is in running condition or a non-runner. Meaning does it turn on and can it be driven on and off vessels and trucks. This is particularly important when importing cars to Australia via the RoRo method as vehicles need to be driven on/off vessels. 


Next, we highly recommend thoroughly washing your car before departure. For example, when importing classic cars to Australia as a restoration project, many may have been collecting dust for years. Australia has strict biosecurity measures to help minimise exotic pests and diseases from entering. Things like foreign dirt, vegetation, and insects can end up costing you more money in customs cleaning and inspection fees. 


Especially when RoRo shipping, you must remove any personal items and secure any loose parts. As you can imagine, importing vehicles into Australia by sea can be a bumpy ride. Shipping lines can reject vehicles with personal effects inside and loose items can cause damage or get lost in transit. 


Your petrol tank must also be lower than a quarter full in order to comply with dangerous goods regulations. However, no lower than 10% in order for the vehicle to be driven on/off the vessel without running out. In addition, shipping staff will disconnect the car battery in transit to comply with the same regulations.


You should also carry a spare set of keys while importing vehicles to Australia. A pair of keys must be shipped with the vehicle for it to be driven on and off the vessels. Although not compulsory, we recommend keeping a spare set of keys should anything happen during transit. 

It is a reasonable question to know how long it’s going to take when you’re importing cars to Australia. Although we can’t list all the global locations you can ship cars from, we can list a few popular routes. We are an international car shipping Australia specialist, so the answer to your question is only an inquiry away. Don’t hesitate to contact us for sailing schedules and transit duration. Importing cars to Australia via container generally takes slightly longer as a result of the packing and unpacking process. Car shipping Australia via the RoRo method is normally a few days quicker when it comes to final delivery. These estimated transit times are specific to “days on the water” for popular routes:


  Import cars from Japan –  Approximately 11 – 20 days

  Car shipping Australia to NZ –  Approximately 5 – 21 days

  Import car UK to Australia – Approximately 36 – 51 days

  Import car USA to Australia – Approximately 22 – 47 days


Exporting vehicles from Australia typically follows a similar transit schedule. 


Regular importers understand that these are only indicative and may change based on global shipping schedules. Of course, the distance between ports plays a role in transit times when importing vehicles to Australia. An additional factor in international car shipping Australia is a direct route versus multiple layovers.


When you’re importing vehicles into Australia, you must also consider the time it takes for port clearance and compliance. On average, these two steps add an additional 7 – 14 days to the Australia car shipping journey. Although as a leading Australia car shipping company we keep you informed throughout, vehicle export and import take time. By contacting us we can give you a more accurate estimate of the duration for vehicle shipping Australia wide.

From anywhere in the world to Australia car shipping by plane is possible. As you would expect, it is much more expensive compared to importing vehicles into Australia by boat. Your car shipping cost by plane will likely be around 4x more than by boat. If you are seriously considering it, our team can certainly help you. 


In fact, our freight specialists have first-hand experience in car shipping Australia to an event overseas by plane. The vehicle is crated, securely strapped, and moved into the storage compartment of a commercial or cargo plane. While importing vehicles to Australia by ship can take months, it generally takes 1 or 2 days by plane. 


If you have the budget, importing classic cars to Australia by plane is generally the safest option. Not only is it quick, but it also goes through less handling, which decreases the chance of accidents and damage. Expedited air freight solutions are great for car shows or short stays. Our trusted network of logistics agents takes care of everything on your vehicle shipping Australia journey. 


Without the right experience, your vehicle can still be delayed in customs clearance procedures once landed at the destination country. More often than not, with delays, your car shipping cost also rises rapidly. Our team of logistics experts handles all documentation on your behalf to ensure the process is expedited. Talk to us about how we can help expedite your journey of importing vehicles into Australia.


International rallies and racing events can make exporting or importing vehicles to Australia by boat impossible. The tight fixtures across the globe may leave car shipping Australia by plane as the only option. We’re here to help arrange everything from a logistical point of view and ensure those deadlines are met. 

When deciding between Australia car shipping or buying in the domestic market, there are two main factors worth considering. One is of course the monetary factor. Does the cost justify importing cars to Australia? The other, besides car shipping cost, is a matter of convenience and sentimental value that your family vehicle may have. The same applies to exporting vehicles from Australia to another country you are moving to. 


In terms of car shipping cost, you’re looking at anywhere from $1500 to $5000 for international car shipping Australia wide. That is generally the cost of the logistics aspect of the move. You may also face taxes and cleaning fees on imports, which are set by Customs. Depending on the value of the vehicle, taxes like GST (10%) can range from an additional $1000 or $10,000. Whether it is worth importing vehicles into Australia in a monetary sense can be compared easily by getting a quote. You can compare your international car shipping Australia quote with the local market and see whether importing is worthwhile. 


However, cost is not the only factor people will consider when importing vehicles to Australia. You may just want to keep the car you know and trust. That may be the case whether it’s a classic or you want to import your family station wagon. Especially when shipping from a right hand drive country such as the UK or New Zealand, the process is easy.


It is also worth looking at what the alternative of importing vehicles into Australia is. You could be looking at making a significan loss if you are to sell your own vehicle and buy another. Therefore, the cost of car shipping Australia wide may still be less than the value you would lose when selling. 

While importing classic cars to Australia is a dream of many enthusiasts, there are pitfalls you can fall into. That’s why it’s important we discuss some of the main problems when it comes to classic car shipping Australia wide. 


Firstly, there are strict regulations set by the government that prohibits the import or use of asbestos in Australia. In most cases, when importing vehicles to Australia that are considered old, you must also present a certificate of inspection deeming the vehicle asbestos-free. Common places where you find asbestos in classic cars are break pads, water pump, or gasket. Failure to detect prior to vehicle shipping Australia could cost the importer thousands of dollars to meet compliance requirements.


Import regulations were strict up until 1 July 2021 where a wider choice of classic vehicles were eligible for import. You will still need to get approval for importing classic cars to Australia through the ROVER portal. And, one of the main sticking points is that the classic vehicle must have original parts or modifications that are older than 25 years old. That naturally excludes components containing asbestos.


Before even considering vehicle shipping Australia wide from overseas, you must insure your vehicle import is approved. You can check whether the classic vehicle you are intending to import is on the Register of Approved Vehicles (RAV). Thus, assuming that you can import any classic vehicle into Australia can leave you disappointed.


While the Australia car shipping and import regulations may seem strict, they are there for a reason. The best you can do is contact a freight forwarder specialising in vehicle shipping Australia wide to see what’s possible. On the other hand, if you’re exporting vehicles from Australia, you must meet the import requirements of the other country.



Which countries are a good source of RHD when importing vehicles into Australia?


RHD stands for Right-Hand Drive which refers to cars with a steering wheel on the right side. As Australia is a RHD country, importing classic cars to Australia that are LHD is very difficult. In most cases, a LHD vehicle must be over 30 years old to even be considered for import. While that works for some looking for classic vehicle shipping Australia wide, it is a hindrance for most. With that in mind, let’s explore some RHD countries that can be a great source when importing vehicles into Australia. 


In Europe, the United Kingdom and Ireland are one of the few RHD countries along with Malta and Cyprus. Moreover, most former British colonies in the Oceania region are also RHD, including Australia of course. Former British, Portuguese, and French colonies in the southern region of Africa also drive RHD vehicles. Lastly, a few countries in Asia, such as India, which was also a former British colony follow the same standards. 


When considering international car shipping Australia wide, the best source countries are New Zealand, Japan, and the United Kingdom. If we look at yearly statistics, the majority of people importing vehicles to Australia do so from those countries. Not only are they RHD countries too, but you can also find high-quality used cars at a bargain. Australia car shipping cost may be cheaper than buying an alternative locally. Many people also migrate between the UK, Australia, and New Zealand and prefer the option of importing cars to Australia. Meanwhile, due to less stringent regulations, southern African countries are a destination for people exporting vehicles from Australia. 


Phoenix Shipping provides a combination of sourcing and vehicle shipping Australia services to help you find exactly what you’re after.

In most cases, there is the possibility of importing cars to Australia via 5 ports of entry. Australia car shipping normally goes through the ports of Melbourne, Port Kembla, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Fremantle. 


Whether your vehicle changes vessels or not depends on whether the shipping line stops at your port of choice. For example, say you are importing vehicles into Australia from Asia on a Toyofuji vessel. Toyofuji vessels only stop at the ports of Brisbane, Port Kembla (Sydney), and Melbourne. Therefore, Asia car shipping Australia bound via a Toyofuji vessel is predetermined to stop at these 3 ports only. However, if you are based in other regions, you have the option of trucking or locally transferred Australia car shipping. 


On the other hand, if you are importing classic cars to Australia from Los Angeles for example, you can deal with Wallenius Wilhelmsen (WW) throughout. Granted, your vehicle is likely to switch vessels in the journey, however, it will all be handled internally by WW. Wallenius handles car shipping Australia through the ports of Adelaide and Fremantle in addition to Brisbane, Port Kembla, and Melbourne. Therefore, if you are based in Adelaide, importing classic cars to Australia on a WW vessel is a good choice. Your car shipping cost is also likely to be cheaper than having to truck the vehicle from Sydney after import. 


In summary, various shipping lines offer different services, prices, and times for Australia car shipping. The best move you can make is to work with an experienced freight agent who will recommend the best route. Due to various factors, some options may not be available at all at the time you’re looking to ship. Getting in touch ahead of time will help in arranging the best option for you.

Delays can be the single most frustrating part of car shipping Australia wide. Whether it is documentation, port congestion, or space shortages, these are common challenges when importing vehicles into Australia.


Getting paperwork in order is the first step to importing cars to Australia. Before you even consider the car shipping cost, you must first meet the eligibility requirements to import. If your documentation is incorrect or partly missing, that will either cause delays or a denied entry by Customs. Working with a freight agent like Phoenix will get you on the right path to ensure your documents are correct.


Port congestion is also another main factor of delay when importing vehicles to Australia. This issue has been particularly heightened in 2023 due to what reports are calling a ‘quarantine gridlock’. Australia has very tight biosecurity regulations which means rigorous inspections are part of the Australia car shipping process. During Covid-19, vehicles were parked up on fields in their country of origin due to shipping delays. Now that international car shipping Australia wide has picked up steam, these vehicles are being finally imported. However, having been exposed to the outside environment for a long period of time, they come with biosecurity hazards like seeds and pests that threaten Australian agriculture. The quarantine cleaning and inspection can cause congestion at the ports handling vehicle shipping Australia wide. The best thing you can do is ensure you deliver a clean vehicle at the port of export.


Vessel space shortages are also a problem from time to time when importing or exporting vehicles from Australia. With worker shortages and vessels unable to operate, that was a major issue during the Covid pandemic. The best thing to do is to enquire about importing vehicles to Australia in advance in order to secure space.

Someone who is importing vehicles to Australia for the first time may neglect the car shipping Australia journey post-import. Australia is a large country and getting your vehicle from the port of import to the final destination takes time. We can provide a door-to-door quote when importing cars to Australia, inclusive of local transport. 


Firstly, your vehicle must go through a compliance check before it can be registered and deemed roadworthy. You can choose to take this step right after importing cars to Australia with the help of your freight agent. Alternatively, you can opt out and we can simply arrange delivery to an address of your choice. 


There are two ways of transporting your vehicle to you after arrival from international car shipping Australia wide. One method is truck transport by land and the other is through coastal shipping from one national port to another. 


Coastal shipping can be cheaper than the Australia car shipping cost via truck transport. However, it can take longer and some part of the car shipping Australia journey will be done by truck nonetheless. That is because you typically need special access in and out of ports which trucking and freight companies have. Similarly to importing cars to Australia, there is a shipping schedule we must work around to make coastal transport viable.


In terms of Australia car shipping cost, we can only give an accurate quote at the time of quoting. However, to get an idea, it can cost as little as $200 to deliver your vehicle near the unload port. Sometimes, this may even be included in the overall quote of the international car shipping cost. If your final destination is further than a 50km radius and crosses state lines, it can cost $500 and over. 

Congratulations! Whether you’re importing classic cars to Australia or your family car, it’s just landed at your nearest port of import. What’s next? Well, Australian Customs will inspect it to ensure there are no biosecurity hazards and give a stamp of approval. Thereafter, the next step after importing vehicles to Australia is to get them through compliance. 


Think of compliance as a vehicle health check that ensures the imported car is roadworthy and meets Australian safety standards. After importing vehicles into Australia, this must be done before registration and ability to be used on Australian roads. Compliance, otherwise called Vehicle Certification, is a type of approval system post international car shipping Australia wide. The vehicle is tested to demonstrate compliance with the safety and emission standards set by the Australian Design Rules (ADRs). 


Having conducted all the appropriate inspections, the vehicle will be expected to be issued a compliance plate. That is of course if it passes all the requirements as set out by the Australian government. Before importing cars to Australia, we urge you to do some research and ensure that your vehicle is compliant. Your Australia car shipping cost will go through the roof if the vehicle fails compliance. You may need to look at exporting vehicles from Australia or costly repairs to get it up to standard. 


For more information on compliance and vehicle certification, you can visit the RVCS website. As a full-service car shipping Australia agent, we offer compliance as part of the total package importing cars to Australia. Get in touch with us for more information and a quote that covers compliance inspection. We aim to make the process of importing vehicles into Australia a breeze even for the most inexperienced importer. 

Because of its strict customs regulations, importing vehicles into Australia is no easy feat. You must obtain an import permit before you book with us or another international car shipping Australia freight specialist. You can begin your application and track and manage the approval process through the government’s ROVER online portal. 


Furthermore, there is legislation regarding road vehicles that makes it an offence importing vehicles to Australia without import approval. Penalties for this offense can equate to a fine of as much as A$13,200. 


Without import approval, the Australian Border Force (ABF) will not issue a customs clearance once it has landed in Australia. Storage costs for ceased vehicles can be as high as $100 per day and are the responsibility of the importer. You can imagine, your car shipping cost going through the roof as your vehicle is held up by Customs. 


We understand that importing classic cars to Australia is tempting for any enthusiast for example. However, booking international car shipping space before getting import approval is a risky business. If your vehicle gets here and is denied entry, exporting vehicles from Australia may be your only option. And, it will have all been for nothing. 


The good news is that the online application process has improved significantly in recent years. You can quickly check if the vehicle meets the criteria well in advance of engaging an Australia car shipping agent. Approval decisions must be made within 60 business days after receiving your application, although the government aims for faster processing. The best thing you can do to speed up your import approval process when importing cars to Australia is planning. If your application is submitted at a high quality with all relevant documentation in check, the process is likely quicker.

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PO Box 1018
Camden NSW 2570

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