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Australia Car Import Process: A Step by Step Guide

Excited importers of a classic car that have been waiting patiently for their car to arrive in Australia have one last unavoidable process to consider when the container with their vehicle arrives at the wharf.

On arrival into Australia importers need to allow at least 10 days for the destination services to be completed before they are able to get their hands on their prized possession. So you can set your expectations, here is a run down of what happens when your car arrives into the country.

  1. West Coast Shipping's appointed agent has the responsibility to book at slot time at the wharf to collect the container.   This is not an immediate process. These are big vessels carrying multiple containers , so the shipping dock may take 1 -2 days to get the containers to the location where they can be collected.
  2. If the vehicle has arrived in fumigation season the container will be taken to the fumigation location.  This process may take 1-2 days. Some locations do it on sight so it will depend on which city the arrival is in to the precise way this will happen.
  3. Once the fumigation is complete the container is able to be taken to the depot for unpacking.
  4. West Coast Shipping's appointed agent at this time would have already completed the customs clearance process so once the vehicle is unpacked the agent can request the quarantine inspection. 
  5. The quarantine inspection is often the part in the process when things can get slowed up.   Quarantine has lots of responsibilities so inspecting vehicles is just one of the functions they are performing on a daily basis.   It can sometimes take 5 days or more to confirm a quarantine inspection. 
  6. Quarantine also has the authority to direct your vehicle for an additional clean if they find things like plant material , spiders or other creepy crawlies or dirt matter.   Typically dust that can gather on a car during the shipping process is not an issue.   If the vehicle gets directed for an additional clean we will arrange for this to be done and then re-inspected by quarantine as is the process.    Additional costs at this time will be due for the services performed by quarantine. This also adds some days to the process.
  7. Once quarantine has inspected the vehicle and approved the release , the broker will finalise the invoice for the destination services and the GST component. 
  8. On payment of the invoice the agent will send out the Delivery order.  This is the formal document you will need to take to have the car released, whether you are doing it or you have hired a trucking company.

If we can assist you with any further information about the destination process of a classic car in Australia or the shipping process in general please let me know.

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By Dan Burkandt

December 9 2021


West Coast Shipping Blog


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