Experts can help take away logistical aches

In the first instalment

of a five-part series on transport logistics, Alison Birrane discovers that transportation does not have to be a logistical nightmare.

THE logistics of transporting goods for import and export can be daunting, especially for small to medium-sized enterprises, however, the process does not have to be a logistical nightmare. 

In fact, exactly how to go about it is a common question directed to Austrade’s Export Advisory Services, according to spokesperson Ron Jackson.

While there are many factors at play, Mr Jackson said the process could be simplified by using a freight forwarding and custom broking organisation.

Consideration will need to be given to the type of goods that are being transported, the quantity, packaging, insurance, quarantine, legal issues, documentation, language barriers and duties and excises in the country of destination or origin – all of which have an impact on cost and speed of delivery.

In addition, special deals can be sought if a particular freight forwarder has an agreement with certain shipping or air cargo companies.

Customs Brokers and Forwarders Council of Australia (CBCFA) chief Stephen Morris likens the transportation issue to filling out a tax return – you could do it yourself, but you are probably better off organising it through a professional organisation that can arrange the whole process for you.

Mr Morris said most reputable freight forwarders and customs brokers were members of the CBCFA and finding a company you are comfortable with was a key factor in getting your goods to or from their destination in the most optimal time at the most competitive prices.

Customs brokers provide professional advice on the importing and exporting of goods and services covering everything from customs clearance, government duties and taxes, valuation, tariff concessions, dumping, prohibited goods and other consultancy services. Freight forwarders, on the other hand, specialise in providing a complete transport service to and from any part of the world.

In fact, most freight forwarders are also qualified customs brokers, however, Mr Morris said it was important to shop around, source different quotes and find out what sort of deals could be had for the country of destination and the type of goods you are transporting.

Mr Jackson said Austrade was often the first port of call for a small to medium-sized enterprise wanting to export goods.

“Shipping boutique wine will carry different costs and considerations to the exporting of a cargo of fresh food or livestock,” he said.

Austrade can provide advice as to whether the type of goods you are shipping to a particular destination are legal, including whether they are legal for import into Australia, which Mr Jackson says is often a consideration not taken into account.

He said anecdotes abounded of companies that had gone through the correct process of exporting goods, appointing a distributor in the country of destination, only to have the goods arrive and be deemed illegal for import.

“For example, it is illegal to send second-hand clothes to the Philippines,” Mr Jackson said.

Another issue that Austrade can assist with is the determination of customs duties and the types of trade agreements that Australia has with the country of destination or origin.

Mr Jackson cited a recent query he received regarding exporting wine to Singapore.

The inquiry involved determining whether a recent free trade agreement that Australia had signed with Singapore would affect the duty the Australian wine producer would need to pay when the goods arrive in port.

“There is no duty tax in Singapore to begin with as it is a duty free port, however, there is an excise tax of about 13 per cent,” he said.

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