The Complete Guide to All Shipping Costs to New Zealand From the UK – Including How to Get a Good Quote or Shipping Estimate When Moving to New Zealand

Article Updated for 2021, First published: 18th June 2018

If you have come to this page you are probably wondering how much does it actually cost to ship household goods or a container from the UK to New Zealand.

No matter whether you are sending a few boxes or moving your whole household contents you will want to get a quote for shipping to New Zealand and it may not be as expensive as you think.

A number of factors such as the coronavirus pandemic and a global shipping container shortage have caused shipping rates to increase during 2021.

The main costs associated with shipping are the removals costs and container shipping rates. Using a reputable BAR (Overseas) or FIDI Faim accredited company will ensure that the majority of costs are all included. However, there are some additional costs that you are responsible for that removals companies cannot include in their shipping quote.

This guide outlines all the costs associated with shipping your household goods to New Zealand so you can plan accordingly and reduce them where possible.

The additional charges and exclusions outlined below are industry standard and typical to whichever shipping company you use, not just PSS International Removals. It is important that you discuss these with your Account Manager so you have a clear idea which apply to your shipment.

Jump To Removals / Container Shipping Costs      Jump To Costs For Shipping Boxes / Baggage

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Household Container Shipping Rates to New Zealand From the UK

The pricing guide below is based on the average contents of a UK property, with delivery within a 30 mile radius from all major ports of entry in New Zealand (North and South Islands).

International Removal Costs and Prices to New Zealand for 2021

 Move Type
Cost (2021)
student move costs Student Move
£758 – £855
quick sudio flat costs Studio Flat
£795 – £1027
quick 1 bed house move costs  1 Bed House/Flat
quick 2 bed house move costs  2 Bed House/Flat
£1417 – £1905
quick 3 bes house move costs

 3 Bed House
£1905- £2936
quick 4 bed house move costs

 4+ Bed House
£4330 – £6710

NB: The shipping prices and rates listed here are all approximate shipping costs to New Zealand for 2021. Contact us for a shipping quote.

These prices include a full door-to-door removals service which is appropriate for most customers. Other websites misleadingly quote port-to-port container shipping costs which are much lower but not that useful for people shipping personal effects to New Zealand.

Removals Quote To New Zealand    Box Shipping Quote To New Zealand

Cost of Sending Boxes / Luggage to New Zealand From the UK

Tea Carton box shippingExcess Baggage and box shipping services are ideal for shipping smaller quantities of items and when no large items such as furniture are being shipped.

Costs per box decline as the quantity of volume shipped increases. These shipping prices assume self-packing.

Sea Freight Shipping Prices 2021

Price (2021)
2-boxes-shipping 2 Boxes £115
5-boxes-shipping 5 Boxes £190
10-boxes-shipping 10 Boxes £300

These prices differ depending on which region of New Zealand you are shipping to. The main ports are cheaper compared to outlying areas.

Boxes are based on standard shipping economy cartons, measuring 46 x 46 x 46 cm (3.4 cubic feet), weighing no more than 30kg each.

Box Shipping Quote To New Zealand

New Zealand Destination Ports / Container Terminals

The following are the main container shipping ports in New Zealand. The cost of delivery may increase if your final destination is more than 30 miles from the port. Costs can vary between ports.

North Island
  • Wellington WLG
  • Auckland AKL
  • Tauranga TRG
  • Napier NAP
South Island
  • Lyttelton LYT (Christchurch)
  • Nelson NSN
  • Port Chalmers POE (Dunedin)
  • Bluff BLU (Invercargill)


Costs for Shipping Household Goods and Personal Effects

These approximate prices are for shipping used household goods and personals effects which can include everything from furniture, clothes, bicycles, golf clubs and other used personal items.

For new items and commercial goods, other conditions, duties, and costs may apply.

 How to Get an Accurate Shipping Quote or Estimate

Your shipping quote will be based on the volume (cubic feet) that you ship. It is important therefore to get a clear assessment of what you want to send.

Most international removal companies will provide a surveyor free of charge to visit your home and calculate the volume of what you wish to ship. These days, video surveys and online calculators are also available, but you need to ensure you include everything that you wish to send.

Make sure you are very clear about what you want to send – don’t forget hidden cupboards, attics, sheds, garages, and anything stored at another site – it all adds up!

NB: Additional Volume

Your shipping estimate will only include what was originally assessed – if you decide to take additional items, this will increase your volume and the amount you will need to pay for shipping.

Other factors that can affect the cost are the access to the property on either end (including flats in buildings where parking may be an issue). Also, extra-large items or large quantities of small/fragile items will require more time and materials in packing.

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International Removals – What’s Included in the Price?

The price estimates quoted here are based on a full international removals service to New Zealand. This service is designed for people moving overseas or shipping personal effects and is much more comprehensive than using a freight forwarder or shipping port to port.

  • Door-to-door service
  • Professional export packing at your residence of the items detailed on the enclosed list, utilising export packing materials and cartons.
  • Use of reliable, regulated shipping lines such as Maersk and Hapag Lloyd.
  • Storage – a limited amount may be included at UK or destination.
  • Help with completing forms & other paperwork.
  • Numbering and listing of all packages for customs requirements.
  • UK & destination Port/Terminal handling charges.
  • Charges due to the new container weighing regulation (VGM), which came into effect on 1st July 2016.
  • Ocean freight to arrival vessel destination port/terminal.
  • Customs Clearance, haulage of the container, and unloading.
  • Delivery of household effects to the residence, unwrapping, and removal of packing materials at the time of delivery (assumes good access and not above the first floor).

Cost of Shipping Cars and Other Vehicles to New Zealand

Cars, bikes, motorhomes, caravans, motorbikes, boats can all be shipped to New Zealand.

If they fit in a container they can be shipped cost effectively with your other household goods.

Alternatively, they can be shipped using a RORO (Roll-On-Roll-Off) service.  This is especially the case for caravans and motorhomes which can be too wide and tall to fit in a shipping container.

The good news for shipping cars to New Zealand is that Concessionary Entry is applicable for many imports meaning you don’t have to pay tax or import duties if you are a new migrant and have owned the vehicle for more than 12 months. New Zealanders need to have lived abroad for over 21 months before arrival. However, if you don’t meet the conditions GST is applicable at 15% of the vehicle’s CIF value (total of the purchase price, freight, and marine insurance).

For a quote please click here to visit our car shipping page or call our advisers on 020 8686 7733.

Quote For Shipping Vehicles To New Zealand

Cost of Air Freight Shipping To New Zealand

If you need to send items urgently you can use express delivery by air freight. Costs are higher and depend both on weight and volume.

There are also further restrictions on what you can send by air.

For more details and a quote visit our online cost calculator here.


Why New Zealand Shipping Costs Vary – Estimates For Shipping

You will notice that the shipping quotation you are given is an estimate and your final invoice may be different for a number of reasons.

This is the case with all shipping companies as much can change between receiving your quote and your actual moving or shipping day.

Final shipping costs can change due to:

  • Additional items being added that were not included in the original quotation
  • Exchange rate fluctuations
  • Time of year (seasonal variations)
  • Increases in port/shipping fees and other charges in between receiving your estimate and your actual departure
  • Varying costs and charges for different ports and shipping lines.

Discount On Your Shipping to New Zealand

Understanding how shipping costs vary can help get a lower price on your shipment. During peak season, costs are likely to be higher and in quieter periods shipping companies may offer discounts and promotions to help fill containers. If you can be flexible on your move date or plan accordingly, you may be able to get discounts and a cheaper shipping quote.

Quantity discounts are also available, so it could well be cheaper for you to ship more of your belongings rather than buy everything new in New Zealand where they may be expensive to replace.


What’s Not Included – Possible Additional Charges and Fees

There are a number of additional charges and fees that are the responsibility of the shipper rather than the removals company and these are not included in standard quotes. Some fees and charges will need to be paid separately at your destination.

  • Customs fees, duties, quarantine fees, and other charges payable to Government Bodies (see below)
  • Specialist packing materials e.g. wooden crates and antique wrapping for delicate items.
  • Additional charges for difficult access, e.g. above the first floor or if a shuttle service is needed to transport belongings from your house to the container
  • Additional storage time in the UK or at the destination before delivery
  • Shipping protection cover/insurance
  • Parking permits, charges, or associated fees for suspension /dispensation in order to facilitate removal in the UK or delivery at destination

  Removals Quote To New Zealand    Box Shipping Quote To New Zealand

Customs Duties and Other Fees

Customs duties and import taxes are the responsibility of the person shipping and will need to be paid separately to New Zealand Customs.

If you are sending household effects and meet the visa/residency requirements you may not need to pay customs duty or GST (Goods and Services Tax).

Import duties are hard to predict or calculate as they depend on a number of factors including the value of items, what country they are from, and applicable Customs concessions.

GST in 2020 is 15% and is based on the total price paid for the item, international shipping costs, and import duty.

Other fees include Import Entry Transaction Fee (IETF) – NZ$29.26 and Biosecurity levy – NZ$19.98 (2018).

These fees will often be handled for you by the shipping company’s agent in New Zealand and you will need to reimburse them before your shipment can be delivered.

New Zealand Quarantine Costs and Fees 2021

If you have done your research and taken advice on what you can and cannot import into New Zealand, you should not face charges but there are some you need to be aware of.

MPI (Ministry for Primary Industries) is the government body responsible for protecting New Zealand’s borders and keeping unwanted pests and diseases from entering the country.

You can get more details of these MPI fees and charges here.

They can include:

  • Permits
  • Testing and sampling
  • Laboratory analysis
  • Cleaning and treating including fumigation if ordered
  • Travel costs for MPI inspectors
  • Inspections of goods
  • Destruction, transportation, re-shipment, or other disposal of goods
  • Storage and quarantine of goods.

Again these customs and quarantine charges are unpredictable and are not covered in your shipping quote.

You can reduce your chances of paying any by ensuring you don’t ship prohibited or restricted items and that all your goods are properly cleaned and prepared before shipping. Ask your shipping company for more advice.

Why The Cheapest Shipping to New Zealand May Not Be So Cheap

Whilst many people are surprised, considering the distance, at the low cost of moving to New Zealand compared to moving house within the UK, other people ask:

“Why is it so expensive to ship to New Zealand?”

Hopefully, this article explains more clearly the costs and expenses of shipping to New Zealand.

You may be able to find some cheap shipping quotes but beware – quotes that look a lot cheaper often don’t provide a quality full service.

Most reputable shipping and international removal companies will have fairly similar costs and estimates. Cheap shipping quotes may look attractive on the surface but often have hidden costs or shortcuts which could put your belongings at risk.

Reasons For Cheap Shipping Quotes For New Zealand Can Include:
  • Incorrect calculation of volume on the original quotation
  • Your quote is not for a full removals service including packing, customs clearance, delivery, etc.
  • The shipping company is using unaccredited shipping lines which may be cheaper but there is a higher risk of something going wrong.
  • Unacceptable lower grade packing materials or not professionally packed.
  • Port-to-port rather than door-to-door delivery.
  • Some charges & fees added on as extra so the headline quote looks cheap.
  • The removal/shipping company is not BAR or FIDI regulated.
  • The quote is cheaper as it does not include customs clearance and handling.
  • Unregulated or unreliable agents are used at the destination.

For more advice read our article on cheap shipping to New Zealand.

Shipping Protection and Insurance

How Much Does Shipping Protection or Maritime Insurance Cost to New Zealand?

Shipping companies, like PSS, who are members of BAR, are covered by the Advance Payment Guarantee scheme. Although this guarantees the payment and cost of removal in the rare event that your removal company cannot complete your move, you should also consider protection for your belongings.

Shipping protection and insurance costs vary between companies and depending on whether it is self-packed or packed by the shipping/removals company.

Self-packed tends to be higher as it is not packed by professional packers.

Expect to pay anything from 3% to 7% of the total value of your goods.

(Some removals companies will allow you to select which items you wish to cover so this can save you significantly on your insurance costs).

Get a Quote For Shipping To New Zealand From the UK

If you are moving to New Zealand, PSS International Removals will be happy to help. Over the last 39 years, we have helped thousands of people and families to move or ship belongings to New Zealand. No matter whether you are a first time migrant or Kiwi returning home, PSS can offer you the best prices on shipping for household removals, boxes of personal effects, and also cars.

Due to our years of experience and the high volumes we ship, we are able to offer our customers the best service at the lowest prices.

To get an estimate or quote call the PSS team on 020 8686 7733.

For more information or to get an online quote:


Removals Quote To New Zealand    Box Shipping Quote To New Zealand

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Container Ship Arriving at Port in New Zealand