Shipping to UK from Australia

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The UK is Australia’s eighth largest goods trading partner, with businesses in Australia sending hundreds of thousands of products to the UK each year. If you are a business owner looking to target this market for growth opportunities, it's important to understand the proper process of shipping your items from Australia to the UK so that you can ensure your shipment reaches its destination safely and without any delays.

If you own a business in Australia and are thinking about how to ship goods internationally to the UK, you have come to the right place. The inherent complexities of global logistics can often be daunting for businesses, and it’s essential to understand the various regulations and requirements that must be taken into account when sending packages from one country to another. Before you start packing your shipments and sourcing for a global express delivery provider, we will provide you with an in-depth overview of shipping from Australia to the UK. We'll walk you through everything you need to know about customs regulations, paperwork requirements, and more so you can safely export goods across international borders – making it easier than ever for Australian businesses who want to expand into foreign markets.

Popular products to ship from Australia to the UK

With the UK being one of Australia’s largest export markets, the unique country serves as an attractive and major global hub for Australian exporters looking to capitalise on business opportunities abroad. In fact, according to Trading Economics, the total exports to the UK from Australia amounted to a substantial US$3.42 billion in 2021.

The UK is one of the largest destinations for goods shipped from Australia, and with its strong economy and purchasing power, it’s a great option for businesses looking to grow their reach and expand into foreign markets. If you’re not sure what goods do Australian businesses usually export to the UK, here are the top 10 main export products from the year 2021:

  1. Pearls, precious stones, metals, coins
  2. Lead
  3. Beverages, spirits and vinegar
  4. Optical, photo, technical and medical apparatus
  5. Electrical, electronic equipment
  6. Machinery, nuclear reactors, boilers
  7. Meat and edible meat offal
  8. Mineral fuels, oils, distillation products
  9. Oil seed, oleagic fruits, grain, seed, fruits
  10. Aircraft, spacecraft

Prohibited and restricted goods in the UK

When shipping goods from Australia to the UK, exporters must be aware of restricted and prohibited items. Though there are a range of commodities that may generally be exported, certain items may still face unusual restrictions depending on their classification, origin or special circumstances. Dangerous and hazardous goods in particular will require additional shipping permits for entry, as well as multiple safety and quality control checks. It's also important to bear in mind that exporting prohibited goods can result in damage to shipping vessels, hefty fines for shipping companies and possibly even seizure of shipments. For this reason, it’s essential for shippers to familiarise themselves with the relevant UK shipping regulations prior to departure from Australia.

To take the weight off your shoulders, we'll provide an overview of what is and isn't permitted when shipping from Australia to the UK in order to protect your shipments and ensure that they make it through customs with ease and on time.

  • Prohibitions and restrictions enforced by customs on goods from all countries outside the UK:
  1. Anti-personnel mines
  2. Controlled drugs
  3. Explosives
  4. Firearms
  5. Fireworks
  6. Flick and gravity knives
  7. Imitation firearms
  8. Realistic imitation firearms
  9. Indecent or obscene materials 
  10. Nuclear materials
  11. Offensive weapons
  12. Rabies-susceptible mammals
  13. Torture equipment

In some cases, export or import licences might be required to ship these goods safely and lawfully. For shipping providers, it is also critical to meet standards of safety as set by both Australian and UK laws. That being said, it’s best to investigate all relevant regulations in order to ensure a smooth shipping process.

UK customs duties and import taxes

Doing business with the UK can be rewarding, but challenging. When shipping from Australia to the UK, it is important to be aware of the customs duties and import taxes imposed by the UK government in order to save your business both time and cost.

Before you begin the process, it is crucial for you to understand all of the taxes and customs duties that could be levied on your imports as goods purchased outside of the UK must pay duty tax or tax to the UK’s customs department. These are the three categories of import taxes and duties that you need to know about:

  • Value Added Tax (VAT)

  • Customs Import Duty

  • Excise Goods Tax

Import duty and value-added tax (VAT) are normally payable as the goods enter the UK. The import duty is determined from the value of the goods on the commercial invoice, insurance and cost of freight, whereas the VAT is charged on the total including import duty. Relief may apply in special cases, but most business transactions involving goods and services are subject to VAT and apply equally to locally produced and imported products. There are three rates you need to be aware of: a standard VAT of 20%, reduced VAT to 5%, and further reduced VAT to 0%.

On the bright side, Australian businesses can potentially benefit from the Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement (A-UKFTA) which is currently in the works. The A-UKFTA is all about creating new export opportunities and jobs for business by eliminating tariffs on over 99% of Australian goods exported to the UK. With highly lucrative trades like Australian chocolate and wines driving the UK export markets, this agreement is sure to achieve economic recovery for both countries in time to come. Though the agreement is not yet in force, some of the things you can expect from the A-UKFTA include removing the tariffs on Australian wine and other goods, as well as duty-free transitional quotas and removal of tariffs after eight to 10 years on beef and other food products.

Required shipping documentation

Whether you’re sending large luggages and suitcases or small parcels from Australia to the UK, there are essential shipping documents that you will need to prepare beforehand in order to ensure that your shipments arrive safely.

All Australian businesses must ensure that certain relevant documents are included and up-to-date before sending their goods so that the cargo can be appropriately cleared from the UK customs. These include an importer registration form, a packing list detailing the contents of your shipment and their declared value, as well as shipping and insurance documents. Additionally, if your shipment contains any hazardous materials or items that require inspection such as food, you must provide specific paperwork for those items as well. If a shipment goes through customs smoothly, it is the result of having taken all of the right steps when preparing and filing the appropriate shipping documents.

Ship to the UK with DHL Express today

If you’re keen on expanding your business into the UK, choosing the right logistics partner is of paramount importance to ensuring your shipments reach their destination effectively. DHL Express is an international delivery provider that offers affordable door-to-door delivery services across 200 countries worldwide. With our high-quality express shipping options, you can ship from Australia to the UK effortlessly and with confidence. Partner with us today to start shipping overseas.

Any regulatory information contained herein is for informational purposes only and DHL assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of the information. DHL does not provide specific regulatory or legal advice to the public and you are encouraged to seek your own legal or compliance counsel.