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The Cheapest Ways to Ship from the USA to Australia for E-commerce Business

March 2022
what is the cheapest way to ship to Australia
Nikolay Pasholok
Product Owner, Calcurates
USPS is the cheapest way to ship to Australia. The estimated delivery time of express shipping to Australia is around 3-5 days. However, USPS hands over all of its packages to Australia Post as soon as it hits the Australian borders. Thus, e-commerce businesses will need two tracking numbers to provide their customers with. Other major carriers that ship to Australia are UPS, FedEx, and DHL. These carriers do not delegate their shipments to Australia Post.

The delivery times can be anywhere from 2-10 days depending on the type of shipping. Australia has strict customs that can refuse entry if the product does not comply with the Australian Border Force. If you want to know what is the best way to ship to Australia and how to manage shipping to Australia for e-commerce businesses, keep reading.

How Much Does it Cost to Ship to Australia for E-commerce?

The shipping cost to Australia from the USA depends on the following factors:
Package Weight
The bulkier and heavier the package, the more costly it will be to ship to Australia for your e-commerce. You will need to compromise between fast delivery and an economical way to ship o Australia.
Package Dimensions
Try to pack products optimally to get the most accurate estimates on shipping costs. Packages with irregular dimensions will have extra fees added to the overall cost.
Try a dimensional weight calculator for better estimations.
Number of Units
When searching for shipping rate estimates all carriers offer their shipping rates calculators to get an accurate quote. FedEx is known for offering discounts for small businesses shipping in bulk. DHL allows small businesses to insert the number of packets being shipped. FedEx, UPS, and USPS do not offer this option when requesting quotes from their shipping calculators.
Speed
UPS offers Worldwide Expedited Shipping to Australia which takes 2-5 days but costs $72 for a package that weighs less than 2 kg. In comparison USPS ships with First Class International service for 11-20 days but costs only $15. Whether the money is worth it over time or not depends on each business individually.
Let's compare the shipping cost of a package of a weight of 4.409 lbs (2 kg) from New York to Sydney to assess the approximate cost for small businesses shipping to Australia. Prices were taken from the official carrier's website from the international shipping rate calculators for 2022.
Shipping a package of 4.409 lbs from the USA to Australia starts from $102 with USPS. The cheapest way to ship to Australia for e-commerce businesses is with USPS. The fastest way to ship to Australia is also with USPS. However, UPS is catching up quickly when it comes to delivery times. DHL is the second cheapest way to ship to Australia, also not far behind USPS.
Calcurates Related Features

How Long Does it Take to Ship to Australia?

On average it takes 2-6 days to ship to Australia from the US with expedited shipping and 7-10 days with economy shipping services. However, only mail and smaller envelopes can be sent with expedited shipping. Packages larger than 4 lbs are not eligible for expedited shipping and need to be sent with other shipping services that on average also take longer to be delivered.

What Are the Best Carriers to Ship With to Australia for E-Commerce Businesses?

The major carriers shipping from the USA to Australia are USPS, FedEx, UPS, and DHL. The Australia Post delivers to the United States but does not ship from the United States to Australia. All the carriers above have small business accounts where you can get a discount when shipping in bulk or where special deals are displayed.

Does USPS Ship to Australia?

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USPS is a great choice when it comes to shipping to Australia from the US. Unlike other carriers, USPS uses flat rate shipping to determine the shipping cost to Australia. The flat rate shipping option is available for shipping envelopes and small boxes of weight limit up to 4 lbs or medium boxes up to 20 lbs. USPS has a business postage price calculator that shows shipping costs for retailers. Just indicate the number of units shipped and select the shape closest to what is being shipped, either letters, parcels, or flats. USPS is the cheapest way to ship to Australia for packages under 4lbs/2kg.

USPS International Shipping Services to Australia:
  1. Priority Mail Express International (weight limit is 70 lbs)
  2. Priority Mail International (max 20 lbs)
  3. First-Class International Service (max 4 lbs)
Use USPS shipping to Australia when tracking and delivery time are not your top priority

Does UPS Ship to Australia?

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UPS deliveries to Australia are usually very reliable and quick. UPS guarantees its delivery dates and times. Packages shipped with UPS to Australia are not handed over to Australia Post as it is in the case of USPS, thus you don't need to worry about faulty tracking or handling over two tracking numbers to your customers.

The UPS International Shipping Options Are:
  1. UPS Worldwide Expedited (no weight limit)
  2. UPS Worldwide Saver (max weight is 150 lbs)
UPS is a more expensive option when it comes to shipping packages over 2kg but their delivery times are comparable to those of other carriers.

Does FedEx Ship to Australia?

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FedEx ships to any location in Australia. FedEx uses a very simple shipping rates calculator for retailers on its website. FedEx shipping rates are based on the destination, weight, and a number of units.

The FedEx International Shipping Options Are:
  1. FedEx International Priority (max150 lbs)
  2. FedEx International Economy (max 150 lbs)
Shipping packages with FedEx is more expensive than with USPS, but USPS delegates its final delivery to Australia Post. Use FedEx if you want a single tracking number.

Does DHL Deliver to Australia?

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You can get a quote for DHL international shipping rates for a private account or for a business account. However, you have to register, otherwise, without being a registered user the shipping price is the same for both accounts.

For a business account, DHL enables the shipping of pallets. DHL will ask you for precise parameters of your pallet, its weight, length, width, and height. If you are not sure about the precise size, you can choose some of the default pre-measured packages. There are a couple of examples to choose from like shipping books, board games, small kitchen appliances, or a moving box. Also, describe whether the item shipped is palletized or non-stackable.

DHL deliveries to Australia can take as little as 3 days. You can track your package with free tracking by DHL which sends alerts by email. DHL is the second cheapest way to ship to Australia after USPS for packages with a weight limit of 4.409 lbs. The starting price is $175.

DHL Delivery Options to Australia Are:
  1. International Express

Small Businesses Shipping To Australia Things To Anticipate

Australia shipping restrictions to be aware of
Strict Customs
Australia has one of the strictest customs, this is because it has its own enclosed economical system that is the top priority to sustain. There are strict rules and regulations for any cargo to enter the country. The first thing to do is to make sure you have all the paper ready and that the package value and its dimensions match the one written on the document. Otherwise, your package can be delayed or even refused entry. 

Custom duties can add up to around 5% of the cost of each item being shipped. The service tax is around 10% of the value of the taxable import.
Remote Area Surcharge
Bear in mind that there might be a remote area surcharge applied to your shipment. This surcharge depends on whether the carrier has a storage facility or transportation network within the given area. The remote area surcharge usually applies to home addresses, so to avoid it offer in-store pickup in the areas that are less remote.
Free Trade Agreement
There is a Free Trade Agreement between the USA and Australia (AUSFTA) that is similar to NAFTA. This means you won't be subject to higher shipping costs as other nationals can be. AUSFTA initiates the process of minimizing Australia’s tariffs to almost zero, making Australia more competitive. There is more space for businesses to trade and thrive from this favorable economical union.
Delivery Times
Delivery to Australia is only possible via air or sea. Deliveries on average take a long time unless expedited shipping is used. Delivery time from 7-10 days is completely normal for an economy class. Also, remember that Australia has very strict customs which might slow down the process as well

What Are Australian Shipping Restrictions for E-Commerce Businesses?

The division of items prohibited from shipping to Australia can be divided into 3 main categories according to the Australian Border Force. Those are items that are allowed, then items allowed if restrictions are met, and lastly, not allowed or might need a special permit. Here is the list of the items that are prohibited or need a special permit to be shipped to Australia. To check for more information and permits check Australian Border Force's official site.

  • Pet food
  • Some breeds of dogs and cats
  • Live plants
  • Rice
  • Animal furs or wool of any kind
  • Drugs of any kind (including prescription)
  • Uncanned Meat

How to Achieve the Cheapest Shipping to Australia for E-Commerce Business?

Shipping to Australia from the USA is more complicated than shipping within the USA or to Canada. Australia is part of the Free Trade Agreement with the USA but there are still many restrictions to be aware of. Australia is known for its strict customs duties and taxes. Import permits must be obtained for the majority of shipped merchandise. International shipping rates to Australia are expensive and the delivery times if not expedited take at least 7 to 10 days.

To achieve the cheapest way to ship to Australia, choose the most economical carrier to ship with, and follow all the shipping restrictions and requirements of the Australian Border Force.

In addition, try out shipping software or extensions available for your e-commerce platform to help you manage your shipping storefront more efficiently and easily. For some tips see the section below.

Is There Any Ecommerce Shipping Solution for Australia?

Yes, there is. Try Calcurates to obtain accurate shipping rates from all major carriers, set up the right shipping methods to offer competitive shipping options at the checkout. With Calcurates you don't need to calculate shipping costs for Australia Post and USPS separately; it can get shipping quotes automatically, taking into account all the factors involved.
Here are some of the steps to take to achieve cost-effective shipping to Australia for e-commerce businesses:

1. Carrier Account

Connect your own carrier business accounts in order to get live carrier rates

2. Dimensional Shipping
Implement Dimensional Shipping to increase the accuracy of shipping rates

3. Landed Costs
Display Landed Costs at the checkout to your customers

4. International Shipping
Display international shipping methods to specific countries and regions only

5. Shipping Rules
Set up Shipping Rules that reflect your shipping policy

These are the 5 main steps on how to ship to Australia for small businesses. All the shipping features are available in Calcurates.


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