Frequently Asked Questions

What is EXDOC?

EXDOC is the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry’s (DAFF) electronic export documentation system. It allows the:

  • electronic lodgement and issuance of export permits
  • health certificates
  • certificates as to condition and
  • phytosanitary certificates to enable export.

Export information can be submitted as a single transaction, or incrementally as it becomes known.

NCTS has access to EXDOC via our in-house system which allows us to lodge applications electronically.

What is ISPM 15?

ISPM 15 is the ‘International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures Publication No. 15 (2009): Regulation of Wood Packaging Material in International Trade’.

How do I know if I need an Import Permit?

Contact NCTS. NCTS will check the ICON database which lists the Quarantine
conditions under which various commodities may be imported into Australia. If
an Import Permit is required, or if any other specific conditions apply, ICON
will specify this.

What is a Quarantine Entry?

A Quarantine Entry (QE) is an electronic document created to record information regarding the clearance and movement of goods under quarantine control. Under the Quarantine Act 1908, importers are required to notify the department of the proposed importation. NCTS is accredited by the department to lodge quarantine entries.


What is a typical transit time?

This will depend on mode of transport and where goods are coming from and to.

Please ask your local NCTS contact and they will be able to advise you the exact transit time for a given shipment.

What are some of the destination charges?

Depending on the shipment terms there could be destination charges such as handling, customs clearance and onward delivery. Duty/GST is payable for goods arriving in Australia with similar taxes overseas.

There are also some costs that are not entirely in your own hands. Customs authorities might wish to X-Ray or examine your goods which might incur local charges.

Do you have office at destination who can help us?

Yes, we have offices globally that can assist.
Please do take a look at our contact information or get in touch with us so we can advise your best option.

Do you have a warehouse where I can drop off the cargo?

Yes, we have receiving warehouses near most major ports and airports, in Australia and overseas.
Please let us know your cargo location and we will advise you the closest receiving warehouse.

How is chargeable weight calculated?

Just give us all three dimensions and we will calculate the chargeable weight for you.

Does shipment size matter?

To an extent, yes. It will have a bearing on cost and sometimes (particularly with airfreight) which shipping modes should be used. Most shipments are charged on either the weight or volume, whichever leads to the higher chargeable weight by volume.

Can you offer customs clearance

Yes, we can customs clear your goods wherever in Australia they happen to be arriving. We have electronic links to all of the major Ports and Airports.

Can you ship my vehicle internationally?

Yes, we can ship anything from vehicles to bulk and project cargo. Just give us a call to discuss in greater detail.

What is a Customs Broker?

A Customs Broker is licensed by the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) to customs clear import and export cargo. A customs broker performs customs clearances electronically in most instances and a response is received from Customs to determine if the goods can be collected from the wharf or airline and delivered to the customer.

What is a freight forwarder?

Freight forwarding is a service used by companies that have a requirement to transport freight at an international or multi-national import and export level. While the freight forwarder may not actually move the freight itself, it acts as an intermediary between the client and various transportation services. Sending products from one international destination to another can involve a multitude of carriers, requirements and legalities. A freight forwarding service handles the considerable logistics of this task for the client, relieving what would otherwise be a formidable burden.

One of the many advantages of using freight forwarding is that it handles ancillary services that are a part of the international shipping business. Insurance and customs documentation and clearance are some examples. As a consolidator, a freight forwarding service might also provide Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC) documentation, or bills of lading. Warehousing, risk assessment and management, and methods of international payment are also commonly provided to the client by the freight forwarding service.

A good freight forwarding service can save the client untold time and potential headaches while providing reliable transportation of products at competitive rates. A freight forwarding service is an asset to almost any company dealing in international transportation of goods, and is especially helpful when in-house resources are not trained in international shipping procedures.

Why are shipping rates so volatile?

While there are several factors involved, the primary is market demand. Traditionally from December through April for imports, especially from Asia, it is called the “slow season.” Because the retail market slows down after Christmas. However from mid January through early February there is an upsurge of cargo moving to beat the Chinese New Year deadline whereby factories all over China shut down for weeks. This usually keeps rates high as there is always space problems for cargo getting on vessels. From May through November this would be the “peak season” where there is a big demand for cargo movement, so the Carriers raise the rates during this period, with the GRI (general rate increase), and PSS (peak season surcharge).

Another factor is fuel, or what is called the Bunker Fuel factor. This is a floating surcharge that the Carrier’s can change when oil prices rise or fall. It is called the BAF.

Another factor is when the Carrier has increases in costs such as when Terminal costs rise, congestion problems, etc. This is where the Carriers can add in new surcharges which have happened in the past and eventually get absorbed into the “all in ” rate quoted.

What are the usual methods of freight payment?

Most freight payments are made with a Company bank transfer. Payment is expected prior to freight being released or delivered unless credit terms are in place.

Can I get payment terms?

Yes. You would need to complete a credit application form. Once your credit is approved, you would be granted the appropriate credit amount and length of time.

What can I do to help prevent delays to the shipment?

Firstly, make sure your supplier overseas (on imports) or you, if you are the supplier for an export shipment, creates all of the necessary documents correctly (packing lists, commercial invoice, original bill of lading-OB/L) and in a timely fashion.

Everything can then be processed through customs ahead of schedule and freight can be paid along with presentation of the original B/L before any rent charges commence.

One factor that often slows this process down is when there are discrepancies between the buyer and supplier and since the goods are not paid for, the OB/L has not been surrendered by the Supplier to the Consignee (buyer) so goods cannot be delivered.