What Happens When Containers Arrive At The Destination Port


When the shipping line vessel berths at the destination port, the following information can provide a guide to commonly used terminology regarding the process of customs clearance, container availability and wharf transport operations.

1. Customs Clearance

The process of customs clearance in Australia where the goods being lodged and cleared through Australian Customs and Quarantine and involves the preparation and classification of commercial documents, electronic submission, and management.

For more information regarding the documents required for Customs Clearance, please refer to our Import Documentation Requirement For Customs Clearance or if you have any questions, our experienced customers brokers are available to assist with your enquiry via phone 1800 300 904 or email customs@freightmart.com.au.

2. Wharf Container Availability

Three free days will be allocated from the first day of container availability to remove the container from the wharf. If the container is not customs and quarantine cleared and collected within the three free days, storage will be applied. Underbond movements can be lodged to seek authorization to move containers under customs bond from the wharf to an approved bonded facility.

3. Container Demurrage

Shipping line demurrage and/or detention is a charge levied by the shipping line if the container is not returned to the nominated empty container depot within the specified free time, which varies between shipping lines, but usually ranges from 7-10 days. All empty container collection notification to Freight Mart International are to be in writing

4. Australian Border Force – Custom Border Hold

Australian Border Force can place a random customs border hold on cargo from the first day of wharf availability for container X-Ray to be performed. Our Customs and Transport team are required to wait for the cargo be cleared and released in order to proceed to obtain a wharf booking slot for collection. If the container has not been released or wharf booking slots are unavailable on day 3of the container availability, wharf storage may be levied by the wharf and the additional time incurred during the border hold may also result in shipping line demurrage for the importer. If documents have been lodged in the allowed time, storage at the wharf may be extended at the discretion of the terminal.

5. Quarantine Tailgate Inspection

The purpose of the tailgate inspection is to ensure the container is clean and does not have seeds, biosecurity concerns or other prohibited materials. A quarantine rural tailgate and/or tailgate inspection can be performed at random as instructed by the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment and may request further actions such as unpack and inspection, container wash and fumigation.

The Tailgate Inspection cost is the fee for the container and goods to be physically inspected at an approved quarantine facility. Additional transport costs for cartage via tailgate is levied for this service and further charges may apply depending on the outcome of the quarantine tailgate inspection.

6. Transport Process

Once the goods are cleared through customs and quarantine, they will then be delivered to the buyer or agreed delivery point. Once, again, the incoterms on the shipment will determine who arranges this.

Depending on the shipment type (FCL or LCL) a range of transport options will be available, Freight Mart Internationals transport fleet consists of the following:

Transport Fleet:

  • Prime Movers
  • Sideloader Trailers
  • 45’ Flushback Flatbed Trailers
  • Skel Trailers
  • Drop-deck Trailers
  • Tautliners
  • Low Loaders
  • Tail Lift Vehicles

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