Shipping Container to New Zealand

Your Complete Guide for 2022

Planning a move to the Land of the Long White Cloud? Then we imagine you might have more than a few things you’d like to bring along! For this kind of travel, you are probably in the market for a shipping container to New Zealand, but how to get started? In our complete guide, we explain both shipping prices and times, as well as show you how to prepare your container for transport and customs. Read on!

Receive 5 free moving quotes
Start saving today!

What is the Cost of a Shipping Container to New Zealand?

Before we dive into specifics, let’s talk money. How much does it really cost when moving furniture to New Zealand? When moving a three-bedroom home, the average cost comes in around $12,000.

However, keep in mind that average only means average, and your move is unique to you! There are a number of factors which will determine the final cost of your shipping container to New Zealand, but two tend to have the most impact: the size and distance of your move.

Why is this? Well, considering that your shipment can originate in any number of US ports, your container has a much longer way to go when starting in New York versus Los Angeles. And, the more you move the more container space you’ll need, jacking up the price.

SireloTip! Having a tough time estimating the size of your move? No sweat! Our handy Moving Space Calculator will help you arrive at an approximation in just a few clicks.

shipping container to new zealand lavender field

How Much to Ship a 20ft Container to New Zealand?

If all this still sounds a bit vague, we get it! That’s why we have compiled typical price ranges for a shipping container to New Zealand from several major American cities. Because Auckland is New Zealand’s most popular port, the ranges below indicate the prices for this common route:

City of Origin20ft Container Cost
New York$ 14,000 – $ 15,500
Chicago$ 18,000 – $ 20,000
Los Angeles$ 6,500 – $ 7,500
Houston$ 13,000 – $ 15,000
Seattle$ 6,500 – $ 7,500
Miami$ 14,000 – $ 16,000

*Disclaimer: Please be aware that these ranges are merely estimates. Rates for a shipping container to New Zealand regularly fluctuate per season and per carrier.

How Much to Ship a 40ft Container to New Zealand?

Think you might need more than just a 20ft container? Then check out the price ranges below for a full container load for the larger standard container size. Again, these ranges reflect the popular route to Auckland, so there may be variations if you choose to ship to Wellington or Napier:

City of Origin20ft Container Cost
New York$ 25,000 – $ 30,000
Chicago$ 34,000 – $ 37,000
Los Angeles$ 12,000 – $ 13,000
Houston$ 25,000 – $ 28,000
Seattle$ 12,000 – $ 13,500
Miami$ 26,000 – $ 30,000

*Disclaimer: Please be aware that these ranges are merely estimates. Rates for a shipping container to New Zealand regularly fluctuate per season and per carrier.

Request Quotes for Container Shipping to New Zealand

By now we are sure you have realized that calculating the container shipping rates for a shipment to New Zealand is not an exact science. In truth, you will never know what your shipping costs will be until you receive a quote from an international moving company.

At Sirelo, we are firm believers in shopping around to find the best price. However, it can be difficult and time-consuming to find and contact quality moving companies in search of quotes. After all, you have a whole move to plan!

To make this easy, by filling out the form below you will receive up to five free no-strings-attached moving quotes from trustworthy, reliable movers. Easy peasy!

Get a Quick Quote for your Move!
Receive personalized quotes by choosing the size of your move!

Moving Furniture to New Zealand: Things to Consider

While the prices for container shipping to New Zealand from the USA vary by port of departure, there are also other things to consider.

What can this include? First and foremost, how much container space you will rent, and how much logistics you will coordinate through your international mover (versus how much you will do yourself). If it all sounds overwhelming, don’t worry! We will put it all in simple terms to ease your mind.

shipping container to new zealand panama canal

20ft vs. 40ft Shipping Container to New Zealand

Containers come in two standard sizes, kind of like medium and large options for your move. While there is not much thinking to it, less is not always more!

A 20ft container has a volume of 33 m3, or 1,179 ft3. 40ft containers range from 66 m3 to 76 m3 (2,330 ft3 – 2684 ft3), depending on if it is extra tall.

We get into trouble when a 20ft container won’t quite fit, as upgrading to the next size costs a pretty penny. Thinking about downsizing to squeeze into that small container? Check out our downsizing guide!

Shared Container Shipping to New Zealand

Many soon-to-be expats find themselves in an uncomfortable position with the amount they need to move: too much to bring on a plane, but too little to warrant an entire container. What to do?

Enter shared container shipping, a popular solution for small moves. Often referred to as LCL shipments or ‘less than container loads‘, you get to share a container with someone else, drastically reducing the price.

Shared container shipping to New Zealand is an effective budget option especially for those relocating for shorter periods. Ever shared a taxi? Same thing!

How Long Does Container Shipping to New Zealand Take?

It is no secret that getting a shipping container from the USA to New Zealand is not an overnight business. However, as you get your moving plans in order, it is important to be able to rely on firm estimates for the arrival of your shipping container to New Zealand.

Below we dive into more detail, laying out shipping times for both sea and air freight.

Sea Freight

As you might guess, shipping times vary by distance. If your shipping container to New Zealand starts in New York, it will very likely need to pass through the Panama Canal! Circumnavigating continents in addition to the vast Pacific will extend your timeline. Check out the estimates below to see the contrast:

City of OriginShipping Time
New York25 – 30 Days
Chicago25 – 30 Days
Los Angeles21 – 28 Days
Houston21 – 28 Days
Seattle21 – 28 Days
Miami25 – 30 Days

*Disclaimer: Please be aware that these ranges are merely estimates. Container shipping times to New Zealand regularly fluctuate per route and per carrier.

Air Freight

Even though we are big container advocates, we would be remiss if we did not give an honorable mention to a speedy but pricy alternative. When shipping by air freight, shipping household goods to New Zealand becomes quick work, but it is much, much more expensive.

Even though we do not recommend this option unless you only have a few boxes, the results don’t lie!

City of OriginShipping Time
New York1 – 3 Days
Chicago2 – 4 Days
Los Angeles1 – 3 Days
Houston2 – 4 Days
Seattle1 – 3 Days
Miami2 – 4 Days

*Disclaimer: Please be aware that these ranges are merely estimates. Container shipping times to New Zealand regularly fluctuate per route and per carrier.

What You Need to Know About Container Shipping to New Zealand

Purchasing container space is only the first step. Besides the pricing, there is still much to know about how to properly prepare for moving furniture to New Zealand.

Below we dive into the most important points to keep in mind, as well as detailing the not-so-exciting but nonetheless critical process of customs inspections. Hang in there!

shipping gontainer to new zealand ship on the horizon

How to Prepare for Shipping Household Goods from the USA to New Zealand

If you are going through the trouble of putting your stuff in a shipping container to New Zealand, we can imagine you probably want it all to arrive in one piece!

In order to ensure that you enjoy a smooth move, we list a few of our best tips for preparing a shipment to go overseas. Try to ‘contain’ your excitement!

Prepare a thorough packing list

Everyone knows that when you move it is smart to label your boxes, and when moving furniture to New Zealand this wisdom counts double.

Creating a thorough inventory of your items will ensure that you not only don’t miss anything, but you can properly insure your items for their full value with your moving company. In addition, if your container is processed by customs officials, having a packing list will speed up the process.

Become a packing wizard

We recommend investing in the good bubble wrap as you prepare your items to be loaded into your shipping container to New Zealand. More than a normal move, overseas transport can be a bumpy ride.

Why? Because there are added phases to the journey, meaning more moving parts (get it?). Your items will first be loaded into a truck to arrive at the port, then unloaded and reloaded into the container, then unloaded and reloaded again into yet another truck.

A little extra protection never hurt anyone, right?

Don’t miss the boat

The last thing you want to hear when you’re on your first New Zealand hiking trip is that there is trouble with your container back home. For this reason, we recommend not boarding a plane until your ship has left the harbor.

On the flip side, definitely be there when it arrives! Otherwise, you could run into some real problems

Customs Duties and Inspection

Understanding the customs process can be tedious in all its details, but in essence it is rather simple. The most important thing to know is this: you do not have to pay import fees on your own stuff!

When relocating to New Zealand on a permanent basis, import fees are waived for household goods, so long as you have used them prior to arriving and you do not immediately sell them after moving. However, this exemption does not apply to most kinds of vehicles, like cars, scooters, and boats.

If your container is flagged for additional inspection at the port, you should already have a clear list of items prepared to share with the authorities. On this list it may be wise to declare items like rare art or other valuable commodities in order to avoid delays due to miscommunications about your container’s contents.

What Is Prohibited?

Because New Zealand has different laws than the US, as well as protective border controls, you need to be careful about what you can and cannot put in your shipping container to New Zealand. Below we list things which are definitely on the ‘no-no‘ list:

  • Bladed/hand-held weapons (switchblades, expandable batons, etc.)
  • Firearms
  • Drug paraphernalia or equipment for the manufacturing of elicit substance
  • Endangered or rare animal species for the purpose of sale
  • Pauna meat
  • Certain art or antiquities

In addition, certain items are classified as ‘risky’ and can only be imported with special permits and declarations. These include:

  • Material from protected animal / plant species (ivory, tortoise shells, whale meat, etc.)
  • Plant seeds
  • Dairy products
  • Paints (that may contain mercury or lead)
  • Human remains
  • Radio transmitters and transmission devices
  • Rare art

For more information, we recommend checking out the New Zealand Customs Service website.

Will Your Electronics and Appliances Work in New Zealand?

Like most things when it comes to moving overseas, it depends. In short, your small electronics will probably work and your large household appliance probably won’t.

Why is this? Well, most American electronics are built to run on 110-volt currents, while New Zealand outlets are built to put out 240 volts. For smaller handheld items, an outlet adapter usually does the trick, as devices like phones and tablets are typically capable of taking a broader range of currents.

For your large appliances, like a washing machine, installing power adapters might be more cost and trouble than it’s worth. Considering the shipping costs, it may be worth your while to replace them after you arrive!

shipping container to new zealand auckland port

Shipping a Car to New Zealand

New Zealand is definitely a driving country, so it would make sense that you would want to ship your car along with your other possessions. However, keep in mind that in addition to the shipping costs, you will likely need to pay import fees on your own vehicle.

Because they drive on the left side of the road in New Zealand, you may want to consider purchasing a car in New Zealand rather than having your steering wheel on the wrong side!

City of Origin20ft Container Cost
New York$ 16,000 – $ 22,000
Chicago$ 20,000 – $ 26,000
Los Angeles$ 9,000 – $ 13,000
Houston$ 15,000 – $ 21,000
Seattle$ 9,000 – $ 14,000
Miami$ 16,000 – $ 22,000

*Disclaimer: Please be aware that these ranges are merely estimates. Rates for a shipping container to New Zealand regularly fluctuate per season and per carrier.

Container Shipping to New Zealand Made Easy at Sirelo!

By now we hope that you feel like an international logistics mastermind as you go about securing your shipping container to New Zealand. With a strong understanding of the cost factors and preparations, we know you will make short work of the task. Need further assistance with your move? Then check out the articles linked below for further reading. Good luck!