Shipping FAQ

Australia Shipping Terms FAQ

FAQ Australia shipping terms – rules and regulations:

PERSONAL IMPORT APPROVAL. Please read carefully the rules regarding personal import approval and 12 months UK use and ownership unless exempt if the vehicle is older than 1989. All vehicles require an import approval and this should be obtained prior to shipment (allow 4–6 weeks). A car should not be shipped until an Import approval is granted by DIT Canberra.

COMPLIANCE TO AUSTRALIAN DESIGN RULES. Converting a vehicle to full Australian Safety and Emission Control Standards is virtually impossible but is not required if one of the following conditions are met:

  • the vehicle has been ‘owned and used’ for a minimum period of 12 calendar months
  • the vehicle was manufactured prior to 1st January 1989
  • the vehicle was originally sold in Australia and still has its Australian compliance plate fitted.

AUTHORITY FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF INFRASTRUCTURE AND TRANSPORT (DIT). A vehicle should not arrive in Australia without an import approval from:

Administrator of Vehicle Standards,
GPO 594, Canberra,
ACT 2601,
Tel: (02) 6274 7444,

Authorisation is obtained by meeting certain requirements and applying using the “Application for Approval to Import a Vehicle” forms or online. The fee is A$50 and is payable by credit card or an Australian cheque. Application should be made at least 6–8 weeks prior to shipment and an Australian postal address should be given on the application form.

WHO CAN IMPORT A VEHICLE? Personal import approval will only be given by the DIT to migrants with full residency visas or to Australian nationals or to New Zealand nationals who are of driving age in Australia. Proof of Australian residency is required by way of a passport or visa. A migrant would be required to provide proof that they have or will be granted permanent resident status in Australia. Vehicles manufactured before 1989 are exempt from the residency requirement. Married couples where only one person has residency can also import a vehicle even if the vehicle is UK registered in the non-resident’s name. Married couples who both have residency can normally import two vehicles even if both are UK registered in one person’s name. Companies, tourists and short term visa holders cannot qualify a vehicle as a personal import.

RETIREMENT (410) AND LONG TERM / BUSINESS (457) VISA HOLDERS – with other types of visa, rather than a permanent residency visa or nationality, a personal import approval can sometimes involve answering additional questions from DIT regarding taking up permanent residence in Australia and if the DIT is not satisfied with the reply then approval may not be granted until the importer has arrived and can provide evidence that they are now living in Australia and not in the UK. This scenario is very rare and approval is normally always granted initially after a few extra questions.

CARS OLDER THAN 1989. Although an import approval is still required no other criteria need be met, i.e. the car would not have to be owned and used in the UK for more than 12 calendar months. Vehicles must have been manufactured prior to 1st January, 1989.

ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS. All import approvals are also subject to the criterion that the importer must be travelling to Australia to take up indefinite residence, i.e. Australian nationals or residents cannot be visiting Australia temporarily just to meet and import a car. Personal imports newer than 1988 owned and used for 12 months first are limited to 1 car every 5 years. Applications must be made within 6 months of the applicant’s arrival in Australia.

AUSTRALIAN RETURNING VEHICLES. Australian vehicles that have not been modified whilst overseas can be re-imported provided they are still fitted with an Australian compliance plate.

LEFT-HAND DRIVE VEHICLES. Registration of a LHD vehicle is not possible unless it is more than 30 years old (over 15 years old for Perth WA for bona fide immigrants).

TEMPORARY IMPORTS. A Carnet de Passages from the RAC in the UK (tel: 08000 468375) allows importation for up to 12 months without payment of taxes or compliance with import regulations. The vehicle must not be sold in Australia and must be re-exported back to the UK.

IMPORTING WITHOUT APPROVAL. it is an offence to import a vehicle without approval and can be penalised with a fine and having to re-export or scrap the vehicle.

LOW VOLUME CERTIFICATION / SEVS / RAWS & ALL OTHER IMPORT SCHEMES. These alternative import methods are not normally feasible for shipments from the UK except for the odd very high end car and even then the costs tend to be prohibitive.

VEHICLE CUSTOMS VALUE GUIDE. The destination clearance agent can provide details of a local valuer in Australia for an indication of an ‘as landed’ value to enable an estimate of taxes to be ascertained. An initial guide can also be assessed from the Australian market values at: and

DUTIES AND TAXES. There are no duty-free schemes or tax concessions. The ‘Import Duty’ and ‘Goods and Services Tax’ can sometimes be levied on the UK purchase price but more likely will be on an Australian ‘as landed’ value which can be as low as 50% of the actual Australian full market value. The rates, payable to Australian Customs at the Australian entry port, are:

  •  vehicles up to 30 years old: 5% duty + 10% GST
  • vehicles over 30 years old and motorcycles: 0% duty + 10% GST

The duty is levied on the ‘customs value’ only. The GSTis levied on the ‘customs value’ + the duty + the total cost of shipment to Australia figure.

LUXURY CAR TAX (LCT). This is an additional tax and is levied at a rate of 33% on vehicles with a GST-inclusive value in excess of A$59,133. LCT is only payable on the amount in excess of the GST-inclusive ‘break point’ and will only be levied in very few instances as the ‘break point’ only relates to cars with a customs value over about £35,000 / A$53,000.

PERSONAL VEHICLE IMPORT APPROVAL CERTIFICATE. DIT issues the personal import approval which comprises 4 copies. One copy clears the vehicle from the port of entry with the Australian Customs Service. The remaining copies are signed by the State Registering Authority at the time of inspection and then one is kept by them, one allows you to obtain a personal import sticker / plate and the other is for your own records.

ADDITIONAL STATE REGISTRATION AND SAFETY COMPLIANCE. Most modern cars do not require expensive modifications to bring them up to an acceptable roadworthy standard. Consult the State or Territory Registering Authority of where you intend to register your vehicle for their local requirements. The general modifications that are sometimes required (differs from state to state and normally more cost effective to have carried out in Australia) are:

  •   seat belts are to be fitted to all seat positions
  •   child safety restraints anchorage points are to be fitted to each rear seating position
  •   windscreens and side windows must not be heavily tinted
  •   head restraints to the front seats must be built-in at manufacture
  •   approved system alarm immobilisers must be fitted
  •   rear vision wing mirrors must be normal flat and non-tinted mirrored glass and not convex glass
  •   speedometers normally to also display in kilometres per hour.

Not all states have all these requirements. Sydney and Brisbane can sometimes be stricter than Perth and Melbourne.

PERSONAL IMPORT STICKER / PLATE. Before a vehicle is registered the 3rd copy of the import approval is sent to the company listed who will supply a personal import sticker / plate which is affixed under the bonnet or inside the door. Number plates are normally supplied by the registration authority. There is no minimum length of compulsory ownership and a vehicle can be re-sold at any time without restriction once a vehicle has been registered.

STAMP DUTY. In some instances there is stamp duty payable on the car value upon registration:

  •  WA 2.75% and 6.5% on high value cars
  •  NSW 3% and 5% on high value cars
  •  QLD 3–4% depending on the number of engine cylinders
  •  SA 4%
  •  VIC 4%.

DRIVING INSURANCE / LICENCE. An immigrant’s UK driving licence is normally valid in Australia. Included in the state registration fee is third-party Insurance which is the minimum requirement in Australia. It is strongly advised that a local insurance broker be contacted to upgrade this to fully comprehensive cover. Any UK ‘no claims bonus’ entitlement is valid in Australia for a reduction in the cost of driving insurance.

AIR CONDITIONING GAS. A signed statement can be provided that the vehicle is a one-off personal import to ensure exemption from the air conditioning regulations and this avoids having to degas the HFC air conditioning system of an imported Vehicle. Older (1980s) CFC air conditioning systems must be degassed and decommissioned prior to shipment.

New Zealand Shipping Terms FAQ

FAQ New Zealand shipping terms – rules and regulations:

NZ shipping rules and regualtion for cars/ motorhomes:

The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) has laid down a set of rules and regulations for vehicle imports (tel: 0800 108 809 or +64 9 9506200 or The regulations concern safety, emissions and frontal impact standards and verifying the legal owner of a vehicle and that it does not require any repairs prior to registration in New Zealand.

All vehicles must be entry inspected by an NZTA-appointed entry certifier once they have cleared customs and quarantine and before they can be registered for use on the road. Only approved testing stations in New Zealand can verify entry certification compliance and it is important that an entry certifier is contacted prior to shipment from the UK. To confirm that any particular vehicle can be imported and registered in New Zealand they would require details of the vehicle type, year, make, model, chassis – vin number, details of any UN-ECE or EC plate / sticker fixed to the vehicle along with the importer’s residency status, length of car ownership and how long they would have lived in the UK prior to taking up permanent residence in New Zealand. Once a vehicle has passed entry certification a form MR2A is issued which allows it to be registered, licensed and then used legally on the road.

Approved entry certifiers are (cost about NZ$400–600 + any repair/modification costs):

The Automobile Association (AA), tel. no. +64 9 966 8800, email:

Vehicle Inspection New Zealand (VINZ), tel. no. +64 9 580 3170, email:

Vehicle Testing New Zealand (VTNZ), tel. no. +64 4 495 2500, email:

Vehicles must meet emission standards, be entry inspected, roadworthy (WoF), right-hand drive, be built to approved frontal impact standards (4x4s only if manufactured after 1st October 2003), must have evidence of the vehicle’s fuel consumption and must meet other vehicle standards. Many of the regulations can be shown to be complied with by way of a UN-ECE or EC plate / sticker that is fitted to almost all modern vehicles manufactured in the past 10–15 years. A vehicle handbook would normally show where this plate / sticker is located on a vehicle and normally it is close by to the chassis – vin plate under the bonnet or sometimes on the inside of the vehicle door frame.

Immigrant’s vehicles (and vehicles owned by returning New Zealanders that have been overseas for more than 21 months) can be exempt from the emissions and frontal impact rules leaving just the roadworthy and other standards to be complied with. These importers would have to have owned and used their vehicle in the UK for more than 12 months first and would be taking up / resuming permanent residence in New Zealand. This exemption is only valid on 1 vehicle which cannot be sold in New Zealand for at least 1 year after importation. Exemption is also available for all vehicles over 20 years old which only require proof of ownership and a roadworthy check on arrival.

If a vehicle does not qualify for exemption under either the 4×4 pre-October 2003, older than 20 years, immigrant’s vehicle, then emission compliance is required and only vehicles that are Euro 4 compliant are allowed to be imported. Safety compliance applies to all vehicles up to 20 years old and covers door retention, interior impact, seat and anchorages, external projections, head restraints, rear view mirrors, all lamps and indicators, brakes, tyres and wheels, glazing, reflectors, windscreen washers, steering systems, replacement parts and airbags. Almost all vehicles built for the European market, and especially newer models, already comply with the required standards and this is shown if a UN-ECE or EC plate / sticker is fitted to the vehicle. If there is no plate / sticker then a statement of compliance is required.

Part of entry certification involves making sure that a vehicle, although originally manufactured to an approved standard, has not been modified or repaired unsafely or deteriorated to an unsafe state. Problems can arise with vehicles that have been repaired poorly (welding, non standard parts) or that have lowered suspension or ‘race’ parts added with non-standard exhaust systems, after-market seats and such like. These vehicles would have to then go through repair certification by an approved repair certifier. If a Statement of Compliance is required from the manufacturer then this can cost up to NZ$1,000 (details can be found here).

As a summary for NZ ruels and regulations for shipping: almost all vehicles will be allowed to be imported to New Zealand but some that are without an approved plate / sticker AND that are not immigrant’s / returning New Zealander vehicles may need a Statement of Compliance at an extra cost. An entry certifier in New Zealand can confirm exactly what is required for each importer / vehicle.

What Is the Difference Between LCL Shipping & FCL Shipping?

Full container load, or FCL, and less than container load, or LCL, are terms used to refer to overseas shipping of cargo. The abbreviations also may be used to refer to transportation of cargo by train, by substituting the word “car” for “container.” FCL and LCL are different in both definition and practice.

What Is Less Than Container Load (LCL) Shipping?

Less than container load is a shipment that will not fill a container. With an LCL shipment, you pay for your load to be shipped in a container with one or more loads from other customers of the freight transport provider. If you know that you cannot fill even a 20-foot container, LCL is the most sensible option in terms of cost and convenience.

Uses of LCL Shipping?

When using LCL shipping services, you need not worry about returning the container after delivery. Because you are sharing the container, it is the concern of the shipping container service company, which is likely to have return trips booked for that LCL container. Shippers using LCL need be concerned only about the load being shipped and nothing else.

What RoRo shipping means?

RoRo is the simplest and cheapest method of shipping for vehicles. It means that vehicles are driven directly onto the RORO vessel and secured to the car decks. They are securely inside the vessel, wind-and-watertight. Do know that you cannot ship personal effects using this method, although spare tire and factory fitted accessories are allowed.

RORO overseas shipping is a very popular way of transporting cargo to other countries. The idea was created and developed by the Japanese car manufacturers to ship their cars to USA and Europe in a fast and efficient manner by using specialized ships called “vehicle carriers”. Nowadays RORO carriers can handle not just cars, but all types of motorized, rolling and even static cargo: trucks, boats, buses, motor homes, travel trailers, tractors, excavators, cranes, and other high & heavy equipment and machinery.

International RORO shipping is popular with exporters and importers of cars and vehicles mainly for 2 reasons: cost and efficiency.The cargo is simply “rolled on” the vessel at the port of loading and “rolled off” the vessel at the overseas destination. Everything is handled by the port workers. There’s no need to hire and pay export warehouse for crating, container packing, flat rack loading, port delivery.This helps in keeping the cost of international shipping down.

South Africa – Car shipping simplified:

All types of cars, particularly classics, are moving in and out of SA for a variety of reasons: overseas sales, relocation to other homes, temporary moves for epic road adventures, vehicle displays, racing and so the list goes on.

Shipping your car into South Africa can be a daunting process. The legislation, shipping paperwork, regulations, customs, duties & taxes, permits, carnets,
fees etc…all of this admin as well as a few horror stories can often put one off…

These are the basic steps to look into for the import or export of a vehicle.

  1. Research: email and call around looking for expert advice from experienced persons and companies.
  2. Always make sure you can get approval for an import permit – without one, there is no use in shipping your vehicle as it will be denied at customs. This can often be rectified, however, it may incur high storage charges.
  3. Next step is to check that you can indeed register your car on the road where it will now be located.
  4. Check the regulations surrounding import duties and taxes so you don’t get a fright when charges are imposed on your import before it’s released.
  5. Check what type of shipment method you are quoted on. More often that not, rates will be for RORO shipping. This is where your vehicle is driven onto a vessel’s loading deck, amongst others, and although this type of shipping is very cost effective, there is a safer and more secure method. Our suggestion with Classic and vintage type cars is to go with containerized shipping because there is less handling of the vehicle.
  6. Start the entire process months prior to needing the vehicle at its destination. The actual shipping side should be conducted quickly, however the administration pertaining to the paperwork can be slowed down at various points along the way and thus causing delays.
  7. Be clear on what the terms mean. ITAC, LOA, 40FT HC, RORO, DA185, Carnet, FCL, GST, IE462 and the list goes on.
  8. Find a reliable shipping company that has a track record with shipping cars. Cars are very different to ‘regular’ shipments and as such, some shipping companies can get stuck when moving vehicles.

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