Frequently Asked Questions

What is Customs clearance?

Customs clearance is the process of reporting to Australian Customs what goods are coming into Australia via airfreight and seafreight shipments.  It includes classification/categorising of each product line, and payment of customs duty and import GST to Australian Customs.  Generally this process is performed by a customs broker, as they are an agent on behalf of Australian Customs.  Part of the role of a customs broker is to ensure all documentation complies with legislation and all customs and quarantine conditions are met.  Once all duties and taxes have been paid to Australian Customs and all other conditions are met, Customs will then allow these items to be ‘cleared’ for collection.

Part of the Chilvers Customs service is to then arrange delivery to your nominated premises.

What does LCL and FCL mean?

FCL:     Means “full container load”. This relates to seafreight shipping containers.

LCL:     Means “Less than a container load”. Again, this relates to seafreight shipping containers also.  An LCL shipment will contain your items, plus other importers items.   The container will then be taken to an unpack depot for unpack and collection.

What are some of the things I need to know about timber fumigation?

Any items containing timber require fumigation.  The most cost effective and less time consuming way is to have your items fumigated overseas before departure, rather than fumigate upon entry into Australia.
All treatment must be done by an acceptable treatment provider, the lists on the below link are regularly updated by customs.

The shipment must be shipped on board within 21 days of being fumigated.  If shipped after 21 days, the fumigation will be void and will require re fumigation upon entry into Australia causing delay and additional costs.

The fumigation certificate requires a numerical link to the shipment (ie: container number or invoice number) to be valid.
For a more detailed overview of fumigation requirements and other documentation, refer to the below link:

What is the GST deferral program?

Most imports with a value over $1,000 are required to pay import GST.

Assuming your business meets each condition set by the ATO, you may be eligible to defer your import GST payment, rather than pay upfront at the time of import. Further information can be found on the following link:

What is ISPM15 timber?

The use of ISPM15 stamped timber is basically a way to regulate timber packaging and is an Internationally recognised measure to stop the spread of timber pests around the world. To be recognised as genuine ISPM15, an ISPM15 stamp will be visible on timber packaging (pallets etc).  Australian customs have legislation in place stating that all seafreight shipments must have a packing declaration completed – this will address the ISPM15 question for that shipment.  Here is an example of the current packing declaration:

Packing Declaration Sample (Microsoft Word Document)

More information on ISPM15 can be found here:

Do I need a Free Trade Agreement for importing my product?

Depending which country you are importing from, Australia may have a free trade agreement in place with them, making many items duty free.

If you would like to check which countries have free trade agreements in place with Australia, refer to the following link:

What is a tailgate inspection?

Before FCL containers can be delivered to a rural area, the container needs to be taken via a quarantine approved depot for a tailgate inspection.  Here they inspect the inside and outside of the container to ensure it is clean and free of pests, plant material and non-compliant packaging.  This ensures there are no contaminants being transferred to a rural area and in turn, protects our environment.  If any contaminants are found, the container may be directed for cleaning and possible unpack resulting in delays and additional costs.