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How much does it cost to import used machinery to Australia?

importing brand new machinery

Breaking down the cost factors for used machinery import to Australia

importing brand new machinery

Bringing used machinery into Australia isn’t just a matter of shipping and receiving. It’s a nuanced and complex journey, filled with various costs and considerations that are quite different from what you’d encounter when importing brand new machinery. Each factor contributes significantly to the overall expense and process efficiency. This is why understanding the financial implications and logistical challenges is crucial for effective cost management of importing used machinery to Australia.

Assessment and Repair Costs

The assessment and repair phase is a critical first step in the importation of used machinery into Australia. This stage involves two key tasks: evaluating the machinery’s condition and performing necessary repairs. It sets the foundation for understanding the overall costs and challenges that come with importing used machinery.

Evaluating Used Machinery

The initial step in the importation process of used machinery involves a comprehensive evaluation of the equipment. This critical assessment aims to gauge the machinery’s operational efficiency and pinpoint any requisite repairs.

The cost implications of this phase are complex and often exceed initial estimates, primarily due to the unpredictable nature of the machinery’s wear and tear. To mitigate these unforeseen expenses, importers can engage with specialised evaluators who offer a more accurate analysis of the machinery’s condition, thereby providing a clearer picture of the potential costs involved.

Repair Costs

Repairing used machinery is an integral and often costly part of the import process. Unlike new machinery, which is typically ready for use upon purchase, used machinery often requires significant refurbishment. These repair costs are not limited to monetary expenses; they also include the time needed for repairs, which can delay the overall shipping schedule.

We recommend engaging with experienced repair service providers. These partnerships can lead to more favourable repair rates and quicker service, streamlining the repair process and potentially reducing overall costs.

Shipping expenses

used machinery shipping cost

The process of shipping used machinery involves several unique considerations compared to new machinery. The size and weight of the equipment, along with its fragility and age, play critical roles in determining shipping costs. These factors can require specialised shipping methods, such as flat racks or open-top containers, which are often more expensive than standard methods used for new machinery.

Additionally, the journey of used machinery often requires extra precautions to ensure safe transit, further influencing the shipping costs. Importers need to carefully choose the right shipping method that balances cost with the safety of the machinery, taking into consideration the equipment’s specific requirements. We have a dedicated article on the different shipping methods available for shipping machinery to help you choose the right method for your import.

Insurance considerations

Insurance is a significant factor when importing used machinery, often attracting higher premiums than new equipment due to the increased risk associated with pre-used items. The insurance policy for used machinery typically covers potential damages that might occur during transit, including accidents, natural disasters, and unforeseen events.

Given the higher risk profile, it’s essential for importers to thoroughly research and select an insurance plan that provides adequate coverage without being prohibitively expensive. Work with insurance providers who have expertise in used machinery to ensure that all potential risks are adequately covered. This is crucial in safeguarding against unexpected financial losses during the machinery’s transportation.

Customs, duties, and import taxes

Customs authorities assess GST and Customs Duty charges based on the commercial value of the cargo.
Effectively estimating customs, duties, and import taxes demands a thorough understanding of international trade laws and regulations. The process involves more than just assessing the age and condition of the machinery; it also requires accurate valuation of the equipment.

This is where engaging with experienced customs brokers becomes invaluable. Professionals like our customs broker agents can navigate the complexities of customs valuation, helping importers to avoid costly mistakes and unforeseen expenses.

Quarantine and clearance costs

The quarantine and clearance phase is a critical component in the importation of used machinery, ensuring compliance with environmental and safety standards. This stage not only impacts the timeline but also adds to the financial outlay of the import process.

Upon completion of customs clearance, an inspection direction is issued by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF). For Roll-on/Roll-off (RoRo) shipments, this inspection typically occurs at the Australian port of discharge or, alternatively, at a Quarantine Approved Premises (QAP).

Our staff, located in our offices in QLD, NSW, VIC, SA, and WA, attend most machinery inspections in person. This hands-on approach allows us to assess your machine’s condition thoroughly and plan transport more efficiently.

While the port inspection primarily serves as a formality to ensure the machinery isn’t heavily contaminated, it’s crucial for compliance. If the inspection goes well, the officer will direct the machinery for washing at a QAP of our choosing. We have approved QAPs in major ports across Australia, including Brisbane, Sydney, Port Kembla, Melbourne, Adelaide, Fremantle, Mackay, Dampier, Port Hedland, and Darwin.

quarantine and clearance costs

The QAP will dismantle and clean the machine to verify it is free from all Quarantine Risk Materials (QRM). Once the goods have been cleaned and re-inspected, they will be released by DAFF, and arrangements for collection/delivery can be made once all costs are settled.

The fees for these inspections can vary depending on the type and condition of the machinery, as well as the complexity of the inspection process.

Transportation and handling fees

Transporting used machinery, particularly over long distances, involves various fees. These include loading, unloading, and handling charges, which can vary greatly based on the machinery’s size and weight.

Handling fees for used machinery might differ from new machinery due to the additional care needed to transport older equipment safely. These fees are often negotiable and can vary from one transporter to another.

When it comes to door delivery, we have access to a wide range of heavy haulage transport solutions across Australia. Once your machine is cleared, we can arrange delivery to your specified location, offering everything from low loaders to platform trailers to meet your delivery needs.

Additionally, the importation of used machinery is typically managed on a project basis, with each shipment being unique in terms of scope and origin. This is where our expertise as experienced freight forwarding partners comes into play.

At Custom Brokers, we manage the risks associated with machinery importation, consolidating all necessary requirements. We use experienced contractors and provide a comprehensive quotation that covers everything needed for the successful importation of your machinery.

Importers are encouraged to work with seasoned handling service providers like us, who can provide detailed breakdowns of these fees and help minimise handling costs through efficient practices and expertise.


In summary, navigating the costs associated with importing used machinery into Australia is a complex but manageable journey. The key areas impacting your budget include assessment and repair costs, shipping expenses, insurance considerations, customs duties, import taxes, quarantine, clearance costs, as well as transportation and handling fees. Each of these factors requires careful consideration and planning to ensure a cost-effective import process.

Custom Brokers, with our extensive network and expertise, can offer tailored solutions to suit your specific needs, ensuring safe and efficient delivery of your machinery. If you’re ready to navigate these complexities with ease, or if you’re seeking a detailed quote for your used machinery import project, our team at Custom Brokers is here to assist you.

With our hands-on approach and extensive experience in machinery importation, we’re well-equipped to manage every aspect of your project. Contact us today to discuss your requirements and let us help you streamline your used machinery import process for a hassle-free experience.


The import duty for machinery in Australia can vary. Most machinery can be imported duty-free, but this is not a universal rule. Some machinery and additional attachments might be subject to up to 5% duty. This duty is calculated on the price of the goods plus all costs incurred up to the point of delivery to the place of export. It is advisable to check with a customs broker or relevant authority for confirmation on the specific duty rates for your machinery.

The pricing of machinery shipment can depend on several factors, including the size and weight of the equipment. The dimensions (size) and weight play critical roles in determining shipping costs, especially for used machinery that might require specialised shipping methods. It’s important to balance these factors to choose the most cost-effective and secure shipping method for your machinery.

To avoid delays when importing used machinery, ensure that all necessary documentation is complete and accurate. This includes having the Customs Authority Letter, Bill of Lading, Commercial Invoice, Treatment Certificate (if applicable), and other relevant documents. Additionally, partnering with reliable repair service providers and experienced customs brokers can help streamline the process. Regular communication and proper planning for quarantine inspections and repair works can also mitigate potential delays.

Yes, used machinery differs significantly from new machinery in several aspects. Used machinery often requires thorough assessment and potential repairs before it can be shipped, which isn’t usually the case with new machinery. This can lead to additional costs and time considerations. Additionally, insurance costs for used machinery are often higher due to the increased risks associated with pre-used items. The customs valuation process can also differ, as the age and condition of used machinery affect its commercial value and consequently the customs duties and taxes.

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