Friday, 17 July 2009

Importing Electric Fencing Materials

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Recently we imported some electric fencing materials from KiwiTech International in New Zealand. The factors contributing to the decision included: recommendation from friends near Young who use materials from this manufacturer, pricing, innovativeness and creativeness of the manufacturer and our desire to 'have a go' at importing and see what we would learn from the exercise.

All-in-all there were 3 distinct and separate parties we ended up dealing with:

1. Supplier. We found the team at KiwiTech first class to deal with. Not only do they really know their stuff and offer a 1800 number making it cost effective to call them, but they also have an AUD account that you can pay what's owed into. No question was a problem. They also adjusted the price to allow for freight built into the price that would have been duplicated had they posted the items to us.

2. Customs and Forwarding Agent. Getting through all the red tape with importaing can be a real nightmare. At KiwiTech's suggestion we accepted a referral to Express Customs and Forwarders based at Tullamarine in Melbourne. The role of this business is basically to get goods cleared through customs and arrange for it to be delivered as directed. In our case we elected to arrange collection of the goods from Sydney Airport. That said it was ECandF's responsibility to liaise with our 'Aussie end' freight company to give them specific directions and documentation enabling them to collect the goods. We found this company very good to deal with.

To give readers an insight into the number of palms that have to be greased before goods can survive the jouney through to collection, here are all of the itemised costs that were listed in the Tax Invoice from ECandF:
  • International Terminal Fee
  • Security Levy
  • Documentation Fee
  • Cargo Automation Fee
  • Agency Fee
  • Sundries
  • GST / Customs Compile - which in turn was made up of GST and 'Other Charges'

3. Domestic Freight. We elected, again based on a recommendation from our Young based friends, to have Cowra Freight arrange collection of our goods from Mascott and deliver same to their Cowra depot. They were excellent to work with.

Some of our learnings from the overall exercise included:
  • We only had a small amount of goods really (70 kg) and the transport and transaction costs were comparatively high at around one-third of the total expenditure.
  • Aussie Post have a rule restricting the total length of parcels they will handle to 1100 mm. The fibreglass posts we ordered were 1250 mm which meant we could not use this option. Having the goods posted would have been much simpler.
  • When shipping goods (i.e. getting them sent via ship rather than air-frieght) the minimum shipment is always assumed and charged at 1 pallet weighing 1 tonne and comprising 1 cubic metre.
  • Where packages are less than 20 kg discounts apply. In our case we had 3 packages all slightly in excess of 20 kg.
Would we go down the import path again? Most definitely, although we have purchased the energiser for our electonic fencing efforts locally as this is where warranty issues are most important.

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