Friday, 29 December 2017

Customs Clearance Information for Cargo in Australia

There are a number of important rules and regulations concerning the customs clearance of goods being imported into Australia. For example, depending on the goods value, and how they are transported to Australia determines how they are need to be cleared and what duty, taxes and charges might apply.

Some goods, such as alcohol and tobacco, will incur import duty and GST regardless of their value, while certain other goods are not even allowed to be brought into Australia or may require a special permit. For this reason, first-time or infrequent importers are strongly encouraged by Customs to use the services of a customs broker to clear their goods through customs. Depth Logistics can arrange customs clearance for you.

Goods with a value of AUD 1000 or less
You do not have to pay duty and taxes on goods with a customs value of AUD 1000 or less. These are called low value imports and typically can be cleared on an informal self-assessed clearance.

Goods with a value of more than AUD 1000
To import goods with a value over AUD 1000, you need to make a Formal Import Declaration. The Import Declaration provides information about the goods you are importing to Customs. There is an Electronic Entry Charge that Customs charge for processing this and all imported goods are subject to import duty and GST assessment. Our customs brokers are online to customs cargo clearance system so we can affect customs clearance fast for you. Click here to learn about customs clearance processing times for cargo.
Personal Effects and Household Goods
Customs and Quarantine require a different clearance process for this type of cargo and need special declarations as to the contents. Frequently inspections are required to facilitate the clearance. There is no import duty or GST on personal effects however some items, such as motor vehicles, will still attract these charges and require a formal entry. Learn more...
We charge a fee to handle the customs clearance formalities on your behalf and to handle other aspects such as Quarantine clearance should the goods or packing require this as they are of plant or animal origin. We can also arrange delivery to your door. My company, Depth Logistics, negotiates special clearance fees for high volume importers.

If you want to clear the goods yourself then you can however be aware that Customs in Australia will provide very limited assistance to first-time importers, and no assistance to regular importers. A manual clearance you prepared and lodged yourself can take up to 9 days for Customs to process and they charge a processing fee of about $90.00. For commercial importers sensibly using a customs broker is the best and fastest way to clear your cargo.
Contact my team at Depth Logistics to find out more information or to begin your customs clearance in Australia today. You can upload your documents on our website to allow us to commence processing immediately. We are available 24/7 on our toll free number 1DEPTH (133784) if you need any further information or assistance.

All for now,

How long does Customs Clearance of Cargo in Australia take?

Depth Logistics' customs broker is online to Australian Border Force(Customs) Integrated Cargo System. This enables electronic lodgment of customs declarations. About 98% or more of the entries our customs agents lodge are processed and released within a few hours. If Customs have queries or decided to do a detailed check of the documents and cargo this can sometimes take up to a few days more depending on the nature of their enquiry.We prioritise the lodgment of customs declarations on shipments that have already arrived over shipments that are still enroute so that storage charges can hopefully be avoided. We lodge entries with Customs usually less than 24 hours after receipt of a full set of shipping documents.

It is important to get us your shipping documents to us without delay. If we have a full set of documents prior to the cargo arriving, Depth Logistics can arrange a pre-clearance. This means your goods are able to be delivered with no delay after they physically land. If the goods are subject to Quarantine clearance this can take another one or two days to process depending on what action is taken by this authority.

Before Customs release your cargo they require us to pay any import duty, GST and Electronic Entry Charges. They direct debit this from the our customs brokers bank account. To avoid delays it is important you make payment to us ahead of time so we have cleared funds on hand in order to meet the daily direct debit.

There are different procedures for personal effects and household goods and these do generally take longer to be processed as the Quarantine and Customs risk profiles are higher on this type of cargo.

If we have been able to do a full pre-clearance of Customs and Quarantine and have been paid all charges prior to the arrival of the ship or flight, then we are usually delivering our clients cargo the next day for sea freight and the same day or next morning for airfreight. Having cargo "stuck in Customs" is virtually a thing of the past if you and your customs broker are well prepared.

If you would like more information about customs clearance processing times in Australia please contact us or call us toll free on 1DEPTH (133784).

All for now,

+Brad Skelton

How Is Import Duty and GST Calculated in Australia?

All imported goods are potentially subject to import duty and GST before they can be released for delivery by the wharf, airport bond store or Australia Post in the case of international parcels arriving by mail.
My team and I at Depth Logistics are commonly asked how import duty and GST is calculated so by way of this post I will explain the basic principles.
Import Duty is determined by the classification of goods in the Customs Tariff and the applicability of concessions. The duty rate can range from FREE to 10%, however the standard rate for most goods is 5%.

Our licensed customs brokers classify your goods in the Customs Tariff and proactively search for concessions, by-laws and Free Trade Agreement exemptions that may make the goods duty free. Our Tariff Consultants can also make application to Customs for Tariff Concessions on your goods. Learn more about Tariff Consultancy Services.

Australia has numerous Free Trade Agreements with many of its major trading partners and is currently entering into more. With the right declarations and/or Certificates of Origin it means we can legally claim exemption from import duty on your goods.

Import Duty is calculated as a percentage of the goods value or Customs Value (CV) of your consignment.

GST is calculated at 10% of the Value of the Taxable Import (VoTI). The VoTI is calculated by the addition of the Customs Value (CV) plus the Duty plus the value of the International Transport and Insurance (T&I).

Here is an example of how the import duty and GST is calculated on goods valued at AUD$1000 which attract a 5% duty rate:

Duty @ 5% of the AUD$1,000 (CV) = $ 50.00(Duty)

International transport and insurance (T&I) = $ 150.00

Then the VoTI = (CV) + Duty + (T&I) = $1,200.00

GST is 10% of the VoTI = 10% x $1200 = $ 120.00(GST)

Total Duty and GST Payable $ 170.00

Depth Logistics Customs Brokers are online to Customs Cargo System so this means lower Customs declaration processing fees for you compared to lodging import declarations manually yourself. The charges Customs levy for this are called Electronic Entry Charges(EEC). These charges range from $50.00 to about $194.00 depending on the value of the goods and mode of transport. Also as our customs brokers are online to Customs it means that in the majority of case cargo clearance processing is near instantaneous except where Customs may have a query or other concern.
Import duty and GST is paid to Customs by a daily direct debit facility on the customs brokers bank account. This is why customs brokers and freight forwarders usually require payment for these charges prior to delivery of your cargo.
If you are a frequent importer that lodges your Business Activity Statement monthly with the Australian Tax Office, we can also arrange to defer your payment of the GST to assist your cashflow.
If you would like more information about the applicable duty rates on goods you are importing, or any other aspect of customs clearance in Australia, please contact us or call toll free on 1DEPTH (133784).
All for now,

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Shipping Industry Consolidation rolls on with Maersk Acquiring Hambug Sud

Maersk Transport & Logistics, the world’s biggest shipping container company, have announced the successful acquisition of German rival, Hambug Sud in a $4.02 billion deal.

Combined, the two companies will be able to realize annual operational savings of about $350 million to $400 million, Maersk Line said in a statement fleshing out detail on the deal announced in December.

“By keeping Hamburg Sud as a separate and well-run company, we will limit the transaction and integration risks and costs while still extracting the operational synergies,” said Soren Skou, CEO of both Maersk Line and its parent A.P. Moller-Maersk Group.

This marks an important milestone on Maersk’s journey towards growing a new, stronger business alliance, which continues to offer clients integrated cargo solutions.This acquisition also evidences continued consolidation in the container trade where some carriers cannot continue without sustained profitability. This consolidation is decreasing capacity in some trade lanes including Australia and has made this year peak season the worst in many years.

Ultimately, although final approval from regulatory authorities in countries such as Brazil, China and South Korea, Maersk Line expects the Hamburg Sud transaction to close by the end of the year.

There has been unprecedented consolidation of shipping lines the last two years and others exiting altogether. The losses most have incurred are unsustainable so I am certain that we will see more consolidation into 2018 and rates must rise if shippers are to enjoy stable shipping services meeting there needs.

All for now,

Friday, 4 August 2017

The World's First Electric, Autonomous, Zero-Emissions Ship

Welcome the Yara Birkeland

Welcome the Yara Birkeland, with a capacity of up to 150 shipping containers, the battery-powered ship will be small compared to modern standards (the biggest container ship in the world holds 19,000 containers, and an average-size ship holds 3,500), but its launch will mark the beginning of a transformation of the global shipping industry. This transformation could heavily impact global trade as well as the environment.

It's estimated that the ship will cost $25 million, which is about three times the cost of a similarly-sized conventional ship. However, the savings will kick in once the ship starts operating, since it won’t need traditional fuel or a big crew.

The Yara Birkeland won’t take to the sea unmanned on its first voyage, nor any of its several first voyages, for that matter. It'll undergo multiple types of tests to refining its sensors, upgrade its software, and generally improve it functionality little by little.

Rather, the ship’s autonomy will be phased in but the ship will eventually run fully on its own, under supervision from shore, in 2020.

The United Nations’ International Maritime Organization estimates over 90 percent of the world’s trade is carried by sea, and states that maritime transport is “By far the most cost-effective way to move en masse goods and raw materials around the world.”

Studies show that just 15 of the world’s biggest ships may emit as much pollution as all the world’s cars, largely due to the much higher sulfur content of ship fuel. Oddly, shipping emission regulations weren’t included in the Paris Agreement.

Interestingly, there’s currently no legislation around autonomous ships (which makes sense since, well, there aren’t any autonomous ships, either). Lawmakers are getting to work, though, and rules will likely be set up by the time the Yara makes it first fully-autonomous trip.

All for now,
+Brad Skelton

Monday, 31 July 2017

The Demise of Antonov Cargo Aircraft

The Ukraine government has just recently commenced a special commission to manage the process of liquidating aircraft maker Antonov.
Antonov was established in 1946 as a top secret top-secret Soviet aviation design and research bureau. It manufactured passenger, cargo, and special purpose aircraft. Among the company's best-known aircraft are the giant AN124 Ruslan and An-225 Mriya cargo planes. The world's largest airplane AN225 was built to carry the Soviet Buran shuttle orbiter.
In 2010, Antonov and Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) signed a deal to form a joint company. They agreed to cooperate in marketing, sales, design, and production of military, civilian and cargo aircraft as well as modifying new Antonov airplanes.
Most recently however, the Ukrainian government has forced Antonov, a state owned company, to sever its contract with UAC, leading to its liquidation. This comes as part of a wider action to freeze all Ukrainian-Russian Projects.
The demise of Antonov will leave a huge gap in the project airfreight market as there simply isn't any other aircraft currently flying commercially that have the same heavy lift capability that these incredible aircraft do.

It will be sad to see these aircraft eventually go even though the demand for them has decreased with the downturn in resources globally.
The last time I was on board an Antanov was at the Avalon Airshow in Victoria earlier this year. The last three pictures in this blog were taken there. This aircraft was not only on display but carrying American Apache helicopters back to the US after the show.
Please contact myself or the team at Depth Logistics for any heavy lift cargo you may ever need to transport.
All for now,

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Why Interstellar Travel Will Be Possible Sooner Than You Think

The term “moonshot” is sometimes invoked to denote a project so outrageously ambitious that it can only be described by comparing it to the Apollo 11 mission to land the first human on the Moon. The Breakthrough Starshot Initiative transcends the moonshot descriptor because its purpose goes far beyond the Moon. The aptly-named project seeks to travel to the nearest stars.

The brainchild of Russian-born tech entrepreneur billionaire Yuri Milner, Breakthrough Starshot was announced in April 2016 at a press conference joined by renowned physicists including Stephen Hawking and Freeman Dyson. While still early, the current vision is that thousands of wafer-sized chips attached to large, silver lightsails will be placed into Earth orbit and accelerated by the pressure of an intense Earth-based laser hitting the lightsail.

After just two minutes of being driven by the laser, the spacecraft will be traveling at one-fifth the speed of light—a thousand times faster than any macroscopic object has ever achieved.

Each craft will coast for 20 years and collect scientific data about interstellar space. Upon reaching the planets near the Alpha Centauri star system, an the onboard digital camera will take high-resolution pictures and send these back to Earth, providing the first glimpse of our closest planetary neighbors. In addition to scientific knowledge, we may learn whether these planets are suitable for human colonization.

While this endeavor may sound like science fiction, there are no known scientific obstacles to implementing it. This doesn’t mean it will happen tomorrow: for Starshot to be successful, a number of advances in technologiesare necessary. The organizers and advising scientists are relying upon the exponential rate of advancement to make Starshot happen within 20 years.

Here are 11 key Starshot technologies and how they are expected to advance exponentially over the next two decades.

1. Exoplanet Detection
An exoplanet is a planet outside our Solar System. While the first scientific detection of an exoplanet was only in 1988, as of 01 May 2017 there have been 3,608 confirmed detections of exoplanets in 2,702 planetary systems. While some resemble those in our Solar System, many have fascinating and bizarre features, such as rings 200 times wider than Saturn’s.

2. The reason for this deluge of discoveries? A vast improvement in telescope technology.
Just 100 years ago the world’s largest telescope was the Hooker Telescope at 2.54 meters. Today, the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope consists of four large 8.2-meter diameter telescopes and is now the most productive ground-based facility in astronomy, with an average of over one peer-reviewed, published scientific paper per day.

3. Launch Cost
The Starshot mothership will be launched aboard a rocket and release a thousand starships. The cost of transporting a payload using one-time-only rockets is immense, but private launch providers such as SpaceX and Blue Origin have recently demonstrated success in reusable rockets which are expected to substantially reduce the price. SpaceX has already reduced costs to around $60 million per Falcon 9 launch, and as the private space industry expands and reusable rockets become more common, this price is expected to drop even further.

4. The Starchip
Each 15-millimeter-wide Starchip must contain a vast array of sophisticated electronic devices, such as a navigation system, camera, communication laser, radioisotope battery, camera multiplexer, and camera interface. The expectation we’ll be able to compress an entire spaceship onto a small wafer is due to exponentially decreasing sensor and chip sizes.

For Starshot to succeed, we will need the chip’s mass to be about 0.22 grams by 2030, but if the rate of improvement continues, projections suggest this is entirely possible.

5. The Lightsail
The sail must be made of a material which is highly reflective (to gain maximum momentum from the laser), minimally absorbing (so that it is not incinerated from the heat), and also very light weight (allowing quick acceleration). These three criteria are extremely constrictive and there is at present no satisfactory material.

6. Energy Storage

While the Starchip will use a tiny nuclear-powered radioisotope battery for its 24-year-plus journey, we will still need conventional chemical batteries for the lasers. The lasers will need to employ tremendous energy in a short span of time, meaning that the power must be stored in nearby batteries.

7. Lasers
Thousands of high-powered lasers will be used to push the lightsail to extraordinary speeds.

8. Speed
Achieving 20% speed of light for Starshot would represent a 1000x speed increase for any human-built object.

9. Memory Storage

Fundamental to computing is the ability to store information. Starshot depends on the continued decreasing cost and size of digital memory to include sufficient storage for its programs and the images taken of Alpha Centauri star system and its planets.

10. Telecommunication
Once the images are taken the Starchip will send the images back to Earth for processing.

The bandwidth and speed required for Starshot to send digital images over 4 light years—or 20 trillion miles—will require taking advantage in the latest telecommunications technology.One promising technology is Li-Fi, a wireless approach which is 100 times faster than WIFI. 

11. Computation

The final step in the Starshot project is to analyze the data returning from the spacecraft. To do so we must take advantage of the exponential increase in computing power, benefiting from the  trillion-fold increase in computing over the 60 years.

All for now,
+Brad Skelton