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Shipping used machinery to Australia: Everything you need to know

machinery shipping

In a global market where new machinery can come with hefty price tags and long manufacturing lead times, many businesses in Australia are turning to importing premium, low-hour used machinery. Brands like CAT, Komatsu, Hitachi, John Deere, Bell, Liebherr, Tadano, Grove, Wirtgen, Sandvik and Atlas Copco are often on the radar of importers.

machinery shipping

The range of imported used machinery includes various categories:

  1. Earthmoving Machinery: Excavators, Water Carts, Articulated Dump Trucks, Skid Steers, Track Loaders, Scrapers, Wheel Loaders and dozers.
  2. Mobile Cranes: Rough Terrain Cranes, Tower Cranes and Yard Cranes
  3. Road Making Machinery: Motor Graders, Road Rollers, Pavers, Asphalt Machines & Profilers.
  4. Agricultural Machinery: Combine Harvesters, Tractors, Cotton Pickers, Balers, Seeders, fertiliser spreaders, Sprayers, Harrows & Plows.
  5. Forestry Machinery: Tree Fellers, Log Skidders, Log Forwarders & Mulchers.
  6. Quarrying Machinery: Crushers, Screeners, Stackers, Wheel Loaders & Rock Hammers.
  7. Recycling & Waste Management Machinery: Screeners, Shredders, Compactors & Material Handlers.
  8. Mining Machinery: Fixed Plant, Excavators, Rigid Dump Trucks, Water Carts, Motor Graders, Dozers, Wheel Loaders & Drill Rigs.

While sourcing used machinery from around the world is an attractive option, it’s essential to be well-prepared for the process. In this article, we’ll explore various aspects of importing used machinery, including regulations, potential challenges, and the quarantine clearance process. Additionally, we’ll also touch on the cost factors involved in this endeavour.

Key Considerations Before Importing Used Machinery

Before embarking on importing used machinery into Australia, it’s crucial to understand the nuances of this process. This not only to streamline your operations, but ultimately ensure a smooth and compliant process.

importing used machinery into Australia

Assessing the age and condition of used machinery

  • Performance Impact
    Assess the wear and tear of used machinery, as it directly impacts its performance and service life. A thorough inspection is crucial to determining if the equipment meets your operational standards and requirements.
  • Future Viability
    Consider the longevity of the machinery. While it might be operational now, ensure it remains viable for your intended duration of use.

Ensuring compatibility with your operations

  • Integration into Existing Systems
    Evaluate that the used machinery aligns with and can be seamlessly integrated into your current operational infrastructure. This includes checking compatibility with existing processes, software, or hardware systems.
  • Operational Efficiency
    Determine if the machinery will enhance your operational efficiency or require adjustments and additional investments to fit into your setup.

Anticipating long-term maintenance costs

  • Budgeting for Repairs
    Used machinery often requires more frequent maintenance than new equipment. When planning your budget, include potential costs for replacement parts, upgrades and labour expenses.
  • Reliability Concerns
    Be prepared for the possibility of unexpected repairs and downtime, which can affect operational efficiency and overall costs.

Understanding import permit and regulations

Adhering to legal and regulatory requirements is non-negotiable when importing machinery into Australia. Familiarise yourself with the common regulations and necessary certifications to ensure a smooth import process. For more detailed information, learn more about the regulations for machinery shipping to Australia.

Consider consulting with expert customs brokers specialising in machinery shipping and import regulations to ensure full compliance and to streamline the import process.

Potential Challenges with Used Machinery Imports

When importing used machinery to Australia, there are some notable differences in the import process compared to new machinery.

For example, used machinery undergoes more rigorous scrutiny from border controls, particularly if it has been in contact with biosecurity risk materials like soil or plant matter. This often requires offshore treatment and comprehensive cleaning to eliminate all biosecurity risks before import.

Used machinery import

Used machinery may also require maintenance upon arrival, so having a plan in place to address any mechanical issues that may arise is essential. Depending on the machinery’s size and configuration, dismantling may be necessary to facilitate shipping.

For a more detailed look at these and other mechanical challenges, see our dedicated page on the potential challenges that comes with importing used machinery to Australia.

Quarantine Clearance Process: Meeting Stringent Standards

As stated before, used machinery undergoes stringent quarantine and clearance procedures upon arrival in Australia. Inspection takes place at the wharf for break bulk shipments and at Quarantine Approved Premises (QAP) for containers and flat racks.

The inspection may involve de-paneling and dismantling, depending on the used machinery’s configuration. Meeting these stringent standards is essential to avoid re-exportation, which can incur significant costs and delays. Learn more about the quarantine and clearance procedures for used machinery imports.

Cost Factors: Budgeting for Importation

One of the critical aspects of importing used machinery is understanding the cost implications. This encompasses insurance, customs duties, and various transportation fees. We’re breaking down the expenses associated with importing used machinery to Australia, helping you prepare and plan ahead.


import used machinery

Importing used machinery into Australia is a viable option for businesses seeking cost-effective solutions. However, it requires thorough preparation and understanding of various factors, including regulatory compliance, potential challenges, quarantine processes, and associated costs.

By carefully considering these aspects and planning accordingly, businesses can successfully navigate the complexities of importing used machinery, ensuring a smooth transition into their operations and maximising their investment’s value.

Contact us for a free consultation to discuss your specific machinery shipping requirements. If you’re closer to making a decision, request a free quote and we’ll provide you with a detailed and competitive pricing structure. And for those who prefer a direct conversation, call us at 13SHIP.

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