Australia expands supply chain services for imported cars

There’s plenty of demand for imported vehicles in Australia. That’s why we’re now working with a range of automotive OEMs in the country to provide vehicle processing services and expanding our offering in line with their needs.


In 2020, Australia imported more than $13 billion of cars from production hubs such as Japan, South Korea, Germany and the US. That made the country the 10th largest importer of cars globally. Imports of vehicles are continuing to flourish with a significant bounce-back in sales following the pandemic and numbers of electric vehicles rising.

Reliable shipping and processing services are key to keeping up with demand, but making sure the cars are in dealer-ready condition before they are distributed across Australia is equally important.

Using the best practices from our vehicle processing network

Historically, our processing facilities in Australia have predominantly serviced imports of agricultural, construction and mining equipment, as well as trucks, rather than the passenger car market. But we’re now working with a number of automotive OEMs in Australia to offer logistics services, requiring fresh investment in infrastructure, dedicated staffing, and liaison with our colleagues at Wallenius Wilhelmsen in other parts of the world.

“Often skills and equipment are transferable from other customer segments – from trucks and agricultural processing into automotive, for example,” explains David Maggs, Sales Development Manager, Oceania. “We are also constantly working closely with personnel in our global vehicle processing network to learn best practices, customer requirements and overall sector-specific ways of operating.”

Auto processing

Equipment processing centers support ports and terminals throughout Australia

Our colleagues in South Africa and the US have been especially helpful because of their automotive experience and operational expertise, Maggs explains. “At times, Oceania staff have also travelled to other vehicle processing center locations to develop processes and skills and support customers already using our global logistics services.

“Of course, we also outwardly contribute our existing knowledge in areas including safety, quality, cargo handling, vehicle and machine processing, engineering and process documentation and warehouse management.”

Developing our vehicle processing services

Our equipment processing centers in Australia stretch from Perth in the west to Melbourne in the east, to the city of Wollongong, New South Wales, and up to Brisbane Airport. These centers support ports and terminals at Fremantle, Melbourne, Port Kembla and Brisbane respectively.

“Our processing facilities are strategically placed in the same locations as all of our Australian base ports,” says Maggs. Services for car importers include short to medium-term storage, rectification work (where repairs are made without having to send the vehicle back to the OEM), paintwork, accessory assembly, pre-delivery inspection (PDI), transport management, surveys, and quality checks.

For one carmaker we are supporting the full process, from point of loading through to delivery to the dealer. This includes survey at the port of discharge, import clearance, ocean shipping, transport from the port to the processing center, storage and PDI services, and transport from port or processing center to the dealer network. We have also discussed expanding our services to include fleet management for the customer.

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Our vehicle processing services will continue to grow and evolve

“We are constantly looking to innovate and evolve as a business, expanding our service offering to our customer base,” explains Maggs. “To help, we are constructing a large, new purpose-built processing center in Queensland that will offer automotive, mining, agriculture and construction customers better access to key markets and the ability to streamline their supply chains.”

Facilities like this, and our network of processing centers across Australia, complement our award-winning MIRRAT terminal, which uses the latest digital technology to communicate real-time information on the status of products moving through the terminal, allowing truck operators to better plan their journeys and avoid costly delays.

Our vehicle processing services will continue to grow and evolve in line with the needs of our customers. “Expansion will always be considered where possible,” says Maggs. “Our focus is on diversification and a greater customer base across different market segments and industries, whether that’s in terms of what we offer carmakers, high and heavy cargo groups, or shipping breakbulk cargo for other types of manufacturer.

“Either way, we’ve got you covered.”

Our RoRo services to Australia

Before processing can take place, carmakers everywhere need a reliable ocean service to get vehicles to Oceania. Wallenius Wilhelmsen has a longstanding history of calling at key ports in Australia and New Zealand across multiple trade lanes. We also ensure that imports meet Oceania’s stringent biosecurity needs.