Up to 9,000 items of counterfeit clothing seized by customs officials during a swoop on a cargo container have been donated to charity.

T-shirts, singlets and sweaters were among the huge haul of garments handed over to the St Vincent De Paul Society by justice and customs minister, Chris Ellison, on Monday, following their discovery.

He explained that as all counterfeit trademarks had been removed from the clothing, they did not need to be destroyed and so could be given to a good cause.

He added that the illegal haul had been discovered in a container in Sydney and that the company involved was later fined A$760,000 for smuggling and duty evasion offences.