Uncovering Hidden Costs In The Importing And Exporting Process

Date Published September 21, 2012|Published By admin

There are some obvious costs involved in importing and exporting, such as transport and storage. However there are many other hidden fees that you may not be aware of, or that are more costly if processed by the wharf rather than a logistics and supply chain company.

To help keep you in the loop with what you’re paying for (and to try and make some of these hidden fees not so hidden) we’ve put forward a few processes that some less experience importers and exporters tend to overlook when adding up their costs.


Ensuring the security of your goods is important, in order to minimise the risk of greater costs. Costs involved are generally insurance and security. The cost of insurance can vary hugely between companies, and depends on many factors involved in your freight transport. The security of your warehouse can also be costly, however by using an external warehouse this cost is usually reduced as the security costs are spread amongst all companies storing their goods – not just yourself.


Handling charges apply in both ports of departure and locally, for loading and unloading and storage at the wharf. Using a company who is able to immediately pick up and remove goods may reduce these fees. Demurrage fees also apply if you fail to clear these products quickly. A good company should really be able to pick up your products the day they arrive and take them back to their warehouses for storage and quarantine, which can save you big dollars over having them held at the wharf.


Both quarantine and fumigation fees may apply for storage and treatment of goods, as well as for inspection by AQIS. The wharf rates for this process are significantly higher than those of companies such as Chalmers, who charge a fraction of the rate charged by wharves.


There are a variety of fees involved in the freight process. A custom brokers fee is applied to cover the enablement of the importation process. A standard GST of 10% also applies to the goods, insurance and duty. You may also have to pay a varying rate of import licence fees and custom duty.


Fees may apply for certifying the safety compliance of your goods in Australia, or overseas. This may involve testing costs as well as repackaging costs in order to fit regulations of the receiving country.

Having a clear and open discussion with your freight handler will ensure you are aware of these costs, and are not surprised by an extensive bill.