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Anyone Imported Shipping Containers?

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seravitae

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Hey guys and gals,

Has anyone ever imported a shipping container from overseas? I am sure some of the bigger retailers have before / do so regularly, but they might not be as so inclined to assist as I would be looking to import homebrew products and could be seen as competition, so I think it would be rude to ask directly.

As far as I understand it, the companies in china would fill a container with my goods, and get it on a ship destined to my closest port. After the ship arrives, I have no idea how to actually clear the contents via customs, and actually get the container from the port back to my business place (home). I assume all of this can be done using a customs clearing agent / freight forwarder / import agency for a fee, which im happy to cop as id rather not deal with transport companies and customs, I just like my packages to automagically appear on my doorstep as so to speak.

Once the container arrives on a truck at my house, what happens then? Do I need to have a dock and crew and unload the container right off the back of the truck immediately, and they take the container away? Or do they hoist the container off the truck and leave it on my front lawn (it's big enough for a 40 foot easily). If they leave it there, how long do I have to unload it? Am I charged per day for 'renting' the container on my lawn before I request the come to return the container? Do I have to pay to send the empty container back to china?

Some of these questions might sound dumb, but I really have zero experience with this and I'm not really having much luck finding out a clear process for all this. If anyone has any comments or suggestions I'd appreciate it!

Cheers,
S
 

fraser_john

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Hey guys and gals,

Has anyone ever imported a shipping container from overseas? I am sure some of the bigger retailers have before / do so regularly, but they might not be as so inclined to assist as I would be looking to import homebrew products and could be seen as competition, so I think it would be rude to ask directly.
<snip>
When I moved back from the USA I looked at doing the whole shipping container thing myself to save a few grand and found similar problems to you in terms of getting answers to my questions.

But, I did get an answer about the container and how long I could have it for and it was only a couple of days, depending on the booking. They indicated that they would have it booked and turned around in a week, so I could have it for those couple of days only, any longer than that and it was going to be something like $500/day!!! I had to arrange transport on my end for the container to/from port. You are right about the customs agent, something you should arrange and it will save you a bunch of time. Make sure the manifest is 100% accurate, that will save you grief as well.

Hope this tiny bit of info helps, even though it is 7 years out of date and the source country was different!
 

Dave70

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I've brought back a few cars with a mate from the US. The key is knowing what you intend to bring in, then getting in touch with the relevant authorities.
In our case, customs (obviously) and the RTA, or whatever they call themselves now as the cars were to be registered locally.
We unloaded ours at the dock as soon as they were cleared. As fraser_john said, make sure the manifest is 100% accurate. If they suspect you of pulling a swifty like for example dodging import duty or GST on new items, it will turn into a convoluted shitfight of fines and a lot of waiting, honest mistake or otherwise.

You really need to do your homework and crunch the numbers if you intend on importing stuff with the intent of flipping it locally to make a few dollars.

Once you've done it however, it's a piece of piss.
 

seravitae

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Fraser_john: Thanks for the knowledge. The items I want to import are not incredibly heavy. Me and two other people filled a 40 footer in a day full of heavy arse balinese/indian/something furniture and it was hard slog, but doable. The items I want to import are not bulky or heavy, just in quantity, so I imagine it would take me half a day solo to unload myself.

I would definitely make sure the manifest is 100% accurate in terms of descriptions but I would definitely be using a customs clearing agency, if possible I don't even want my name on any of the customs forms, I've had disputes with customs in the past and they tend to purposely give me trouble.

I did find that chinashippingaustralia website, I am going to draft a generic email describing what i want to do and what services I need, and just BCC it to a bunch of companies and see what the response is, and how much hand-holding they are willing to do.
 

mccuaigm

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Hey Sera,

All I know is that if you are buying from China, it's a weird experience. Talking to a mate of mine recently who imports Balinese stuff & decided to go to China for a whole bunch of stuff too, you need a translator/agent to buy from them & they mostly do orders of epic quantities.

They are pretty tricky to deal with according to my mate, customs is the easier part he reckons
 

Dave70

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they mostly do orders of epic quantities.
Dam right. I had an e mail sent to me at work from a (legit) Chinese yard equipment mob seeing if I would be interested in some wheelbarrows and assorted things with mostly two handles and one wheel.
So I thought, yeah why not. They seemed at least 'Bunnings quality', send me some pricing and an order form.

You know how many of those things you can fit in a shipping container once you disassemble em and stack em like plastic cups?

Minimum orders started at around 500 units..

I politely declined their generous offer.
 

Wolfy

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You can get the container-truck to simply dump the container on your lawn for you - they have a lift at either end and it lifts the container off to the side of the truck and then the truck drives away - you empty the container at your leasure and they come and pick it up when it's done.
 

seemax

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very very rough guide, $5k for a 40ft dropped on your lawn ... there are loads of companies who will manage the door-to-door service

or you can do LCL (less than container loads) where you pay per cubic metre, ideal for smaller loads but takes longer and costs more

if you plan to source stuff from china ongoing, my advice is to spend some time in china visiting potential suppliers.... developing a F2F relationship is very important in chinese culture (usually over 20 shots of 100proof chinese wine) :icon_drunk:
 

tavas

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Customs broker will help you get the goods cleared from the dock into your posession. You will have three days to clear customs before they start charging you. Agree with the comments about paperwork.

Freight forwarder will take care of logistics. They may or may not take care of customs clearing.

Look into whether you need to pay for hire of container. And also if they drop it on your lawn, how will you remove it?

Edit: I brought a 20ft container full of my furniture and personal effects from the Philippines to Perth. Cost about $2000 in shipping and around $1800 in customs fees and clearage, to give you some idea. That was about 10 years ago, I doubt it would have changed significantly.

Mind you, I didn't pay GST on my own effects, you will need to cater for that.
 

mattfos01

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Mate, engage a freight forwarder who will generally have a Customs broker they deal with. They can help you sort out the fees etc. usually you will be able to receive the container and have it returned within a set period, maybe 10 days? before having the container costs you any more. Not too traumatic, get hold of a useful freight forwarder in the first instance and go from there..
 
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