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Machinery Shipping to Australia made easy by RoRo

used machinery imports

Containers, RoRo and Flat Racks Shipping Options

Customs Broker - Shipping Options

When it comes to choosing a shipping method for your machine there is only really three options to consider. We could containerise, load onto flat Rack or drive onto a roll on, Roll off (RoRo) vessel.

Containerised Cargo is the Cheapest Cargo Shipping to Australia

Containerised cargo provides the cheapest freight costs to Australia. Containers are limited to cargo that can physically fit inside. Containers are also provided on a lease basis by the shipping line and can be subject to container detention charges if delays occur.

The class of machinery we generally offer containerised solutions for include Rollers, Motor Graders, Skid Steer Loaders and Wheel Loaders. Larger versions of such machines can also require dismantling. We utilize specialist loading/unloading techniques to pack heavy machinery into containers.

export import - container shipping lines

Flat Racks are an Expensive Cargo Shipping Option to Australia

Flat Racks are also moved by container shipping lines and have the added benefit of being able to pack cargo that is oversize or heavy. Not all ports can handle heavy or oversized flat racks, so careful checking of the route is needed prior to booking to ensure the shipping line can discharge the flat rack as planned.  Typical machines we pack onto flat racks include:

  • Earthmoving Machinery – Excavators, Articulated Dump Trucks, Track Loaders, Wheel Loaders & Dozers
  • Construction Machinery – Motor Graders, Road Rollers, Pavers, Asphalt Machines & Profilers.
  • Agricultural Machinery – Combine, Harvesters, Tractors, Cotton Pickers, Balers, Seeders, Fertilizer Spreaders, Sprayers, Harrows & Plows
  • Forestry Machinery – Tree Fellers, Log Skidders, Log Forwarders & Mulchers
  • Recycling & Waste Management Machinery – Screeners, Shredders, Compactors & Material Handlers
  • Mining Machinery – Fixed plant, Excavators, Motor Graders, Rollers, Dozers & Drill Rigs

Cargo loaded onto flat racks can be exposed to sea spray and salt in the air. If your shipping new cargo we recommend the plastic wrapping of the machine.

RoRo is a convenient machinery shipping option to Australia

Sea Freight Forwarding Services
RoRo ship
Car Carriers Ships
roro vessels
roll on roll off ships
break bulk cargo

The last option to consider and perhaps our favorite for its simplicity is Roll on, Roll off (RoRo). We simply drive or tow the cargo onboard and secure it on board using specialist anchorage points welded across the entire deck of the vessel. Deep sea RoRo vessels are fully enclosed and are best described as a floating car park, with multiple decks connected by internal ramps.

RoRo cargo is fully protected from sea spray and a RoRo ship has air filtration equipment across its deck to remove salt from the air. This means your machinery is kept in pristine condition just like if you garaged it at home.

Most RoRo vessels also have increased carrying capacity when compared to flat racks, and we generally find most vessels can handle cargo up to 100 tonnes and up to 5m tall. There are some restrictions on RoRo ships such as axle load limits, roof clearance and weight per square meter. We find this type of service perfect for most models and types of self propelled machinery. RoRo vessels also offer solutions for static freight such as accompanying accessories/parts which can be moved on and off a vessel by MAFI trailers.

International Breakbulk Shipping

Make sure you understand Australia’s import regulations

  1. Ensure your machinery can be imported. Road Vehicles such as Cranes, Cars, Trucks and Trailers which are designed for road use are prohibited imports without a Vehicle Import Approval (VIA). A VIA is issued by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications
  2. Ensure your machinery is free from asbestos. Custom Brokers will not offer shipping solutions for machinery exposed to asbestos materials.
  3. Avoid freight prepaid offers from your suppliers such as Cost and Freight (CNF) & Cost Insurance Freight (CIF). We have seen many freight prepaid offers end in complete disaster (re-exports!). Many overseas companies do not understand the complexities of sending used machinery to Australia. These suppliers and overseas freight forwarders will often not take responsibility for the extra costs and stress created.  If you dont want the hassle we recommend buying your machinery on a Ex-Works (EXW) or Free Carrier (FCA) basis only. 

Where is the best place to source used machinery for import into Australia?

In a global market with long manufacturing lead times or excessive new prices, a lot of Australian importers are looking to purchase or relocate premium, low hour, used machinery from overseas. Brands typically include Caterpillar, Komatsu, Hitachi, Liebherr, Tadano, Grove, Wirtgen, John Deere, Case, Atlas Copco & Sandvik. Typically we see a range of used machinery being imported including:

  • Earthmoving Machinery – Excavators, Water Carts, Articulated Dump Trucks, Skid Steers, Track Loaders, Scrapers, Wheel Loaders & Dozers
  • Construction Machinery – Cranes, Motor Graders, Road Rollers, Pavers, Asphalt Machines & Profilers.
  • Agricultural Machinery – Combine, Harvesters, Tractors, Cotton Pickers, Balers, Seeders, Fertilizer Spreaders, Sprayers, Harrows & Plows
  • Forestry Machinery – Tree Fellers, Log Skidders, Log Forwarders & Mulchers
  • Quarrying Machinery – Crushers, Screeners, Stackers, Wheel Loaders & Rock hammers
  • Recycling & Waste Management Machinery – Screeners, Shredders, Compactors & Material Handlers
  • Mining Machinery – Fixed plant, Excavators, Rigid Dump Trucks, Water Carts, Motor Graders, Rollers, Dozers & Drill Rigs

Such used machinery is often sourced from around the world but we recommend the sourcing of machining from New Zealand, Japan, China, Europe and United States due to regular roll on, roll off shipping services available.

Additionally before you transfer any money, please verify the supplier is real by researching phone numbers, emails, website and company names. There is alot of fake websites and suppliers being imitated online. We recommend getting a reference or conducting your own google search into the company to verify its legitimacy. 

Auction Companies to buy Machinery from

These auction companies have been in business for many years and have a good reputation for providing good quality, low hour machinery to support Australian business. However we always recommend inspection as these auctions are generally conducted as is, where is.

They are also familiar with machinery shipping, and can provide you with other services such as financing.

Machinery Collection

When buying machinery on a “as is, where is” basis, it is your responsibility to facilitate loading and transport. As long as the machine is still operational then the collection can be a simple process with collection arranged utilising a ramped trailer. As part of shipping solutions, Custom Brokers will offer pickup services of all machinery.

What are quarantine risk materials and why are they important for imported machinery?

used machinery imports

All machinery purchased overseas needs to be free from all quarantine risk materials (QRM) on importation to Australia. QRM includes:

  • Animal Materials (Nests, Animals, Insects, Ficeases)
  • Plant Materials (Leaves, Branches, Seeds)
  • Dirt/Soil

Due to the complexity of machinery, this often means significant effort to remove all traces of QRM. Cleaning of machinery will typically require the removal of belly plates, dismantling of cab, removal of batteries, flushing of channels and radiator, degreasing (due to soil stuck in grease), vacuuming and hot pressure washing. We have compiled a list of cleaning guides provided by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) for ease of reference.

Failure to comply with these cleaning requirements can lead to a re-export direction from DAFF. This means at your cost you will have to arrange the export of the machine from Australia, washing and shipping back. A re-export is a significant cost and time penalty. As a result we encourage only the use of experienced washing companies overseas. 

Did you know that if Custom Brokers arrange the overseas washing through our appointed washing depots that we provide a no re-export guarantee. 

Please note that all used machinery imported to Australia is subject to verification at a Quarantine Approved Premise (QAP) on arrival. These inspections require machinery to be de-panelled and verified through flushing and inspection to be free from QRM. As a result clients should budget for cleaning charges at both origin and destination.

Air Conditioning / Fire Extinguishers Requirements

The importing of air conditioning and fire extinguishers are restricted imports due to the presence of Ozone Depleting Substances and Synthetic Greenhouse Gases (ODS and SGG) contained within. Such equipment can be included with machinery purchased overseas, which can complicate the customs clearance process of the shipment.

Importers can import up to a total of 25 kilograms of synthetic greenhouse gas (hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) or nitrogen trifluoride (NF3)) in equipment during a calendar year before a license is required. It should be noted that the importing of several types of gasses such as HCFC and CFC are prohibited entirely. And whilst we do not expect to see these gasses contained in low hour machinery, we do feel the need to mention it. You should verify the type of refrigerant gas contained in your machine before you proceed further with the purchase.

Custom Brokers provides administrative support to our clients in applying for a EQPL license and in compiling a list of imports across each period and reporting these directly to the relevant bodies for assessment and invoicing of applicable levies payable.

Did you know – Importers can typically choose to degas machinery overseas prior to shipment to avoid the need for licensing/reporting.

Machinery Repairs and Dismantling

Machinery Imports into Australia

When it comes to buying self propelled machinery you can just about guarantee a mechanical breakdown at some point in your importing journey. Whether it be something simple like a flat battery, a leaking tyre or a broken hose. We engage our local mechanics to solve the problem and get your shipment back on track.

Machinery Dismantling can also be utilized to minimize the costs of machinery shipping. These solutions are often provided to our customers as standard when a link to the machine or photos is provided to our team at Custom Brokers.

high risk BMSB countries

Over the past 10 years we have witnessed the emergence of an agricultural threat known as the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB). This insect, a native to North East Asia, has hitchhiked across the world establishing itself across Europe and North America. As a result the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) introduced treatment requirements for cargo originating from certified countries. If you are importing cargo from a BMSB high risk country listed below then the cargo must be treated.

  • Albania
  • Andorra
  • Armenia
  • Austria
  • Azerbaijan
  • Belgium
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • Croatia
  • Czechia
  • France
  • Georgia
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Italy
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kosovo
  • Liechtenstein
  • Luxembourg
  • Montenegro
  • Moldova
  • Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Republic of North Macedonia
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Serbia
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Switzerland
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine
  • United States of America

BMSB Treatment Options

Whilst the rules and treatment options for BMSB are varied and complex, this article will include information on the requirements for used machinery being imported to Australia during the 2022-2023 season.

BMSB seasonal measures will apply to targeted goods manufactured in or shipped from target risk countries, that have been shipped between 1 September and 30 April (inclusive), and to vessels that berth, load, or tranship from target risk countries within the same period.

Note: The shipped on board date, as indicated on the Ocean Bill of lading, is the date used to determine when goods have been shipped. “Gate in” dates and times will not be accepted to determine when goods are shipped.

Shipping Method \ Treatment LocationOff-ShoreOn-Shore in Australia
Hard Top ContainerAllowedAllowed
Open Top Container, Flat Rack, RoRo and LoLoAllowedNot Allowed

Please note if you import an Open Top Container, Flat Rack or Break Bulk cargoes (RoRo/LoLo) treatment maybe required overseas. We strongly recommend checking that the overseas treatment provider is currently approved by DAFF. Untreated goods or those treated by unapproved treatment providers may result in re-export.

Custom Brokers have access to a large network of agents across the world which arrange the treatment of cargo in line with the requirements for BMSB issued by DAFF. Get in touch with the team at Custom Brokers should you require assistance with your next shipment.

import Customs Clearance

Customs Clearing your shipment requires advanced planning and correct documentation. The documentation we require at a minimum are:

  • S181 Customs Authority Letter from the importer
  • Bill of lading
  • Commercial Invoice
  • Treatment Certificate (if goods subject to BMSB treatment)
  • Vehicle Import Approval (if goods are a road vehicle)
  • EQPL License (if you need one)

Customs Duty – Most machinery can be imported duty free but it is best to check with us for confirmation. All other machinery and additional attachments are subject to up to 5% Duty calculated on the price of the goods plus all costs incurred up to the point of delivery to the place of export.

Customs GST – All machinery is also subject to 10% GST, calculated on the price of the goods plus freight, insurance and duty.

Please note it is advisable if you are importing a machine with multiple attachments then the value of the additional attachments be declared separately on the invoice. For more information on import tax calculations, please contact one of our licensed customs brokers.

Quarantine Inspection and Cleaning

Upon completion of the customs clearance an inspection direction will be issued by DAFF. For RoRo shipments this takes place at the port of discharge in Australia, and alternatively at a Quarantine Approved Premises (QAP).

Our staff in QLD, NSW, VIC, SA and WA attend most machinery inspections in person. Our hands approach enables us to understand your machine’s condition and plan transport more efficiently.

The inspection at the port is more a formality than anything else, designed to ensure the machine is not heavily contaminated requiring re-export consideration. If the inspection goes well, the officer inspecting will fail the consignment and direct it for washing at a QAP of our choosing. We have approved QAP’s in all major ports including:

  • Mackay
  • Brisbane
  • Sydney
  • Port Kembla
  • Melbourne
  • Adelaide
  • Fremantle
  • Dampier
  • Port Hedland
  • Darwin

customs clearance

The QAP will create access and verify the machine is free from all QRM by dismantling and cleaning the machine.Once the goods have been cleaned and re-inspected they will be ultimately released by DAFF and arrangements for collection/delivery can be made once all costs are settled.

Door Delivery

We have access to heavy haulage transport solutions across Australia. So once your machine is released we can arrange delivery to your designed location from low loaders to platform trailers, we got your delivery needs covered.

custom shipping solutions

The importing of a used machine is typically done on a project basis, with each shipment being unique in scope with cargo coming from different suppliers and locations. This is where using experienced freight forwarding partners like Custom Brokers can provide real benefit and risk manage the machinery importation for you. We pull together all the requirements, use experienced contractors and provide you with a quotation that covers everything needed to complete the importation.

So when it comes to choosing your next freight partner look no further than us with our local and global networks having you covered at both ends. For a quote please contact your nearest branch by calling us on 13 SHIP or submit a quotation request and we will get back to you asap.

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