'Whale Knows' - What Documents Do You Need for Customs Clearance?

'Whale Knows' - What Documents Do You Need for Customs Clearance?

Our Customs Brokers understand your difficulties when dealing with customs and quarantine, whether it is having the right broker or the appropriate documents. That's why in this blog post, Alice, our Customs Classifier, has shone some light into what documents you may need for clearing customs.

Importance of early documentation and accurate documentation

There are a variety of documents which may be required by both the Australian Border Force (ABF) and Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (Bio Security).

If customs clearance documents are provided promptly it allows time to correct any errors and follow up any missing documents. Below is an example of the most common errors:

  • Wrong container number or minor typo on the fumigation certificate
  • Incorrect invoice number on COO
  • Major weight discrepancy on packing list when crosschecked against other documents
  • Incorrect numerical link or minor typo on the packing declaration

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When do you need to lodge these documents?

The import declaration must be lodged at least 24 hours prior to vessel arrival. Late reporting & import declaration lodgement means the inspection process may commence late, take longer and may result in additional storage and related costs from container terminal operator.

If documents are provided late, i.e 2 days before the ETA it doesn’t allow enough time to correct any errors and chase missing documents this will likely cause a delay which may result in additional charges such as wharf storage. It’s important to remember if an import declaration isn’t lodged 24hrs prior to vessel arrival the free storage period when the container comes off container examination/Xray processing is waived.

Therefore, Whale strongly suggest all customs clearance documents are provided at least a week to two weeks prior to ETA.

Customs Clearance checklist

Below is a general checklist for each and every consignment when clearing customs. However, each consignment is different from one another, so please check with our customs department for more details.

Air freight

  • Airway bill: The airway bill is the consignment note for air freight, and is a flight identifier should your consignment gets lost.
  • Commercial invoice: A commercial invoice lists what’s inside the shipment, such as the shipment name, Incoterms, quantity, value, and any other information about the product. It is an informal way of showing a purchase order.
  • Packing list: A packing list is similar to the commercial invoice, but will specifically states how heavy the shipment is, and the size of the consignment. These details will be matched with the airway bill document.
  • Free Trade Agreement certificate or preference country declaration: Depending on which country the goods are originating from, your consignment may be eligible for reduced duties. Please check with your customs department on whether your consignment qualifies for any FTAs.

Sea freight

  • Bill of Lading - A bill of lading is a consignment note for sea freight, similar to an airway bill. However, there are different types of bill of lading. Read this article to find out which type of bill of lading you need.
  • Commercial invoice: A commercial invoice lists what’s inside the shipment, such as the shipment name, Incoterms, quantity, value, and any other information about the product. It is an informal way of showing a purchase order.
  • Packing list: A packing list is similar to the commercial invoice, but will specifically states how heavy the shipment is, and the size of the consignment. These details will be matched with the bill of lading document.
  • Free Trade Agreement certificate or preference country declaration: Depending on which country the goods are originating from, your consignment may be eligible for reduced duties. Please check with your customs department on whether your consignment qualifies for any FTAs.

Packing Document Requirements

  • Packing Declaration: Old packing declaration format will not be accepted by DAWR from 1st July 2018. New packing declaration template must be used. Please see the below link for the new packing declaration and new annual packing declaration:

http://www.agriculture.gov.au/SiteCollectionDocuments/biosecurity/import/general-info/documentary-requirements/packing.pdf

http://www.agriculture.gov.au/SiteCollectionDocuments/biosecurity/import/general-info/documentary-requirements/fcl-lcl-ann-dec.pdf

  • Possible Free Trade Agreement/Certificate Of Origin/DCS declaration depends on the export country and the nature of the goods - see above

For wooden articles only

  • Fumigation certificate
  • Fumigation Storage Declaration if fumigation certificate is provided. Please check with our customs team for a declaration template.

For further information on wooden articles in Australia, see our blog post here.

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Whale Logistics are Australia’s leading Freight Forwarder and Logistics company located in Sydney and Melbourne. We deliver digital services such as Australian customs parcel tracking, parcel delivery box, and comprehensive ocean, air and road freight solutions. For cost competitive and innovative ocean freight solutions, please click the link below to contact a Whale Logistics Ocean Freight Specialist today for a quote.

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