Whether you’re moving to New Zealand with a full house lot of belongings or are only looking to ship a small volume of personal effects we can help guide you through the process and your options for shipping to NZ from the US, UK, Canada, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, and many other countries from around the world. At first
If you’re interested in obtaining a quote for shipping your effects to New Zealand you can receive multiple competitive quotes from IAM and/or FIDI accredited movers by completing the below form.
Shipping to New Zealand from the US
If you’re shipping household goods to New Zealand from the US then it’s important to understand your options available. Multiple sea freight options along with airfreight are available.
Full Container Load (FCL) Shipping from the USA to NZ
If you’re considering shipping the full contents of your home you will generally require an exclusive sole use container, either a 20′ or 40′ GP container (read more about container dimensions). This is the most cost-effective method of international shipping when you’re moving a volume of more than 10 cubic meters (1/3 of a 20′ GP container). One of the main benefits of sole use container shipping is that you don’t need to wait for the consolidation period as you do with groupage (shared container) shipping services.
Groupage / Consolidated / Shared Container Shipping from the USA to NZ
Groupage shipping is the most economical method of shipping when you don’t have a full container load of effects. Groupage shipments are generally consolidated in New York on the East Coast and Los Angeles on the West Coast. There can be lengthy consolidation times involved though as shipments are transported from other cities to these two main central consolidation hubs and New Zealand is not as popular a destination compared with Australia and the United Kingdom.
Consolidated shipments from the US will generally be shipped to Port of Auckland and then transported by road to your final delivery address.
LCL (Less Than Container Load) Shipping from the USA to NZ
Shipping your effects via LCL is a good option if you don’t have more than 10 cubic metres net and you don’t want to wait for the consolidation period required for a groupage container. With LCL your effects will either be palletized or crated and then consolidated with general freight by a freight forwarder.
Airfreight Shipping from the US to NZ
Airfreight is a great option when you have a smaller shipment for which you require urgent delivery for but the costs are significantly dearer. There are also more restrictions around which items can be sent via airfreight too. Another drawback when shipping personal effects via airfreight is that your shipment can be prone to being “bumped” by the airline ahead of perishable food items and other priority shipments which is not ideal.
Airfreight quotes are also based on what’s known as the chargeable weight which is calculated as the greater of the actual and/or volumetric weight. The volumetric weight is based on 167kg per gross cubic metre.
If you are interested in knowing the cost of shipping to New Zealand from the US you can obtain free competitive quotes by completing the above form.
Shipping to New Zealand from the UK
New Zealand is one of the most popular destinations to ship to from the UK and there are multiple options available.
Full Container Load (FCL) Shipping from the UK to NZ
Sole use container shipping from the UK to NZ is very competitive and remains one of the most popular shipping methods for full house lot removals. Sole use containers will generally be loaded directly at your residence and sealed giving you peace of mind that your belongings are secured for their long journey ahead.
Groupage / Consolidated / Shared Container Shipping from the UK to NZ
There are many British international removals companies that are providing regular consolidated container shipments to New Zealand’s major seaports. Clients generally don’t have to wait long for the consolidation process as New Zealand is one of the main export corridors.
LCL (Less Than Container Load) Shipping from the UK to NZ
LCL is much rarer due to the frequent groupage shipments available and is generally only used if you’re looking to expedite a sea freight shipment. The destination terminal handling charges (DTHC) can make LCL shipping a cost-prohibitive exercise and it should really only be considered if you can’t wait for the next available shared container service.
Airfreight Shipping from the UK to NZ
Airfreight shipments from the UK to NZ are generally more economical in comparison with the US but as mentioned above, there are restrictions around which items the airline will accept.
If you are interested in knowing the cost of shipping to New Zealand from the UK you can obtain free competitive quotes by completing the above form.
Shipping to New Zealand from Canada
New Zealand is also a popular shipping destination for Canadians who are looking to make New Zealand home. Fortunately, the full suite of shipping options are available.
Full Container Load (FCL) Shipping from Canada to NZ
Sole use containers are available to provide security and peace of mind that your effects will be transported and shipped in your own exclusive use container. Like the UK and the US, FCL’s are generally loaded directly at your residence, access permitting, and then transported direct to the port for shipment to New Zealand.
Groupage / Consolidated / Shared Container Shipping from Canada to NZ
Shared container services are available and this is a very cost effective method of shipping as you are only paying for the space your consignment occupies in the container. The two main consolidation hubs in Canada are Vancouver and Toronto. If you’re moving from outside of these cities your effects would likely be transported via a linehaul vehicle and then consolidated.
Airfreight Shipping from Canada to NZ
Airfreight shipments from Canada will generally fly ex Vancouver or Toronto and are a great option for smaller urgent shipments but generally won’t be cost effective for shipments beyond a few cubic metres though.
If you are interested in knowing the cost of shipping to New Zealand from Canada you can obtain free competitive quotes by completing the above form.
Shipping to New Zealand from Australia
If you’re moving to New Zealand from Australia there are multiple options available as New Zealand remains a popular destination for returning New Zealander’s and Australians looking to make the move across the ditch.
Full Container Load (FCL) Shipping from Australia to NZ
If you’re moving a full house lot or a combination of your house lot and a car then a sole use container will be your best option. Australian international movers will generally load the container directly at your residence, access permitting, and you can select the shipping route that best suites you too.
Groupage / Consolidated / Shared Container Shipping from Australia to NZ
There are regular shared container shipments from the major Australian ports including Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, to New Zealand which is great if you’re shipping less than a full house lot of effects.
Airfreight Shipping from Australia to NZ
Air freight is available for smaller and more urgent shipments too.
If you are interested in knowing the cost of shipping to New Zealand from Australia you can obtain free competitive quotes by completing the above form.
New Zealand Customs and Quarantine (MPI)
Personal and Household effects
- MPI ‘Personal Effects – Supplementary Declaration’.
- Inventory of goods.
- Combined Customs and Quarantine declaration ‘Unaccompanied Personal Baggage Declaration’ (NZCS218) & Supplementary page (NZCS218A).
- Copy of passport (identification page and entry visa only).
- Documents authorising residence in New Zealand – any of the following:
- A New Zealand or Australian
- A current New Zealand Residence visa or permit or a current New Zealand returning residence visa or
- A current permanent residence visa (including a residence return visa) issued by the Government of the Commonwealth of
- A current New Zealand work visa or a work permit that was issued for a minimum of twelve
- A current New Zealand work visa or work permit issued under the Work to Residence (Skilled Migrant Category) policy or the Long Term Business Visa/Permit
- A current New Zealand visitor’s visa or permit that was issued for a minimum of three years.
- Concessionary entry (duty and / or tax free) for household effects is available to persons who meet all of the following conditions:
- Have arrived and on the date the effects are imported, hold a document authorizing residence in New Zealand (see left); and
- Have resided outside of NZ for the whole of 21 months before the date of arrival in NZ; and
- Have owned and used the household goods before the date of departure for NZ; and
- The goods are being imported for own personal use and note for sale, gift, disposal or exchange.
Note: If goods falling within the description and criteria in this concession are imported into New Zealand more than 5 years after the arrival of the passenger into New Zealand, the goods may be admitted under the concession only with the consent of a Customs Officer.
- MPI (Ministry for Primary Industries) ‘Personal Effects – Supplementary Declaration’ must be completed by the importer at origin at the time the shipment is being packed and must be forwarded to your destination agent together with the rest of the documentation for each shipment.
- Many standard household items can be prohibited or restricted and subject to inspection by MPI (Ministry for Primary Industries) such as foodstuffs, garden tools and equipment, outdoor furniture, sporting goods and equipment. For further information, refer to MPI website: mpi.govt.nz.
- All shipments entering New Zealand need to go via an MPI approved transitional facility for unloading and final clearances including FCL containers, therefore shipments will not be delivered direct to residence in the shipping container.
- All New Zealand FIDI agents operate MPI Approved Transitional Facilities.
- Narcotics (Drugs), Incitements
- Certain types of weapons such as flick knives, swordsticks, knuckle-dusters, and any weapon designed or disguised to give the appearance of another
- Ivory, turtle and tortoise and other endangered species (except with CITES certification).
- Meat and meat products, honey, eggs and egg products, dairy products,Tobacco products, tobacco leaf and tobacco refuse:
- Prohibited since July
- Importers are required to have a permit prior to import of these
- Permits are approved and issued by New Zealand Customs
- All tobacco attracts high duties and tax (there is no duty free concessionary allowance)
- if no permit is issued the cigarettes will be destroyed.
Source: FIDI Import Customs Guide
Cost of Shipping to New Zealand
Notes regarding the freight rates. Please note that freight rates only a selection of port-to-port container freight rate and it’s important to keep in mind that the freight cost is only part of the overall cost of an international move. These prices were accurate as of June 2021 and are subject to change without notice.
These are not door-to-door removal prices. On average, the freight rate, paid to international shipping companies, makes up around 25 to 30% of the cost of an international move. If you would like a comprehensive door-to-door price then you will need to obtain a free moving quote.
When you’re considering your options for shipping to New Zealand you need to understand the difference between a full-service international moving company and an NVOCC (non-vessel operating common carrier). A reputable mover will provide full moving services including packing, uplift/loading of the container, shipping, customs clearance, and delivery at destination. Movers will generally offer full all-risks marine transit insurance cover too whilst an NVOCC would not.
Freight forwarders and NVOCC’s may appear to be offering a similar service as a removalist, but there tends to service missing from their quotes. Often you will find that DTHC (destination terminal handling charges) are excluded and they’ve only quoted for a door-to-port service.
New Zealand’s Major Seaports
- Port of Tauranga (https://www.port-tauranga.co.nz)
- Port of Auckland (https://www.poal.co.nz)
- Port of Wellington (https://www.centreport.co.nz)
- Napier Port (https://www.napierport.co.nz)
- Port Nelson (https://www.portnelson.co.nz)
- Port Lyttelton (https://www.lpc.co.nz/)
- Port Chalmers (https://www.portchalmers.com)
- Bluff Port (https://southport.co.nz)
Matt is a veteran of the moving industry, a recognized moving expert and is the founder of MoverFocus. Matt holds a Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) majoring in Finance and Marketing and Bachelor of Arts (BA) majoring in Economics and History. He also has completed the EiM (Essentials in International Moving) course from the FIDI Academy. His advice has been featured in Reader’s Digest, Yahoo Finance, MSN Money, Business News Daily and The SpareFoot Blog Go. Read more.