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Shipping Container Costs From the United Kingdom to New Zealand


Written by Reviewed by Dave Sayce

1st Sep 2022 (Last updated on 23rd Jun 2023) 5 minute read

The average cost of shipping a container from the UK to New Zealand is £5,750. This is based on the cost of a 40ft shipping container. This is equal to the contents of a 3-bedroom house. The average air freight cost is £437. This figure has been taken from our international removal cost research.

There are two shipping options for New Zealand - sea and air freight. The option you choose will depend on your budget and the number of items you’re shipping.

  1. Sea Freight
  2. Air Freight
  3. FCL VS LCL Shipping
  4. Other Costs to Consider
  5. How Long Does Shipping Take?
  6. Prohibited Items to New Zealand
  7. Finding an International Removal Company to New Zealand

Sea Freight

Sea freight is the most common shipping option to consider when relocating to New Zealand. Ocean freight can take longer for goods to arrive, in comparison to air freight which can be a problem if you need your items quickly. While shipping rates vary, it’s more value for the money if you’re on a stricter budget.


  • Pay for the size of the container rather than the weight
  • Ability to transport motor vehicles
  • Better for the environment
  • While shipping rates vary it’s more cost-effective
  • Part-load services are available


  • Longer transit times
  • Delays are more likely
  • Fewer shipments to New Zealand compared to air freight

Main New Zealand Ports and Routes

There are 5 major ports in New Zealand. The biggest port is The Port of Tauranga. A third of the cargo that the country receives comes through this port. Other ports include:

  • Port of Auckland
  • Port of Wellington
  • Napier Port
  • Lyttelton Port

The main port in the UK that ships to New Zealand is Southampton.

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Air Freight

Air freight is the best option if you want goods to arrive quickly. However, it is more expensive and you are limited with what you can ship. Your goods will be shipped from a UK airport to the most convenient airport in New Zealand.


  • 5 different international airports to consider
  • Quickest shipping option
  • Ability to track your goods during transit
  • Regular flight schedules


  • More expensive than sea freight
  • Goods are charged based on weight
  • Limitations on what you can ship (no motor vehicles)
  • Less eco-friendly

Main New Zealand Airports and Routes

There are 5 international airports in New Zealand, making it a convenient option to consider. These airports are:

  • Auckland
  • Christchurch
  • Wellington
  • Queenstown
  • Dunedin

The main UK airports that ship goods to New Zealand are London Heathrow, Manchester, and Birmingham. Due to its distance from the UK, your goods will be subject to a stopover. The most common places include Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo.

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FCL VS LCL Shipping

You will need to decide whether you want to use full or part load when using sea and air freight. This will depend on the number of goods you want to move. Some factors that will affect your choice include:

  • Distance travelled
  • Insurance
  • The weight of your items
  • The size of your items
  • Duties and customs charges
  • Tracking
  • The number of items being shipped

Here are the differences between FCL and LCL shipping:

Full Container Load (FCL)

Full container load is the most popular choice when shipping furniture overseas. Paying for a full container load provides you access to use the entire shipping container. As it’s being shipped to you directly, there are fewer chances of delays.

Less Container Load (LCL)

If you’re moving a smaller number of goods, less container load is a helpful option to consider. It allows you to share a container with other movers.

This helps to reduce your overall costs but does limit the amount of space you can have. As LCL shipping is shared, goods typically take longer to arrive.

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Other Costs to Consider

When considering the shipping cost to New Zealand, there are several additional costs to consider. These include:

Packing Services

Packing services cost £250 on average. This figure is based on the contents of a 3-bedroom house. These costs will vary depending on the number of items you have and the removal company used.

Packing services are charged additionally, and the team of packers will pack all your items for you. High-quality packing materials are used which help to protect your goods during transit.

Pick-up and Delivery

Pick-up and delivery ensures your goods are picked up and delivered from the port or airport. It takes away the stress of having to organise this yourself. The cost will vary based on the distance the company needs to travel and the country.


On average, insurance is 4% of the total cost of the household goods you have shipped. This is why the costs can vary significantly. However, the costs can alter depending on the company you have chosen and the policy you’re considering.

An insurance policy will vary depending on the company you choose, how your items are shipped and the distance travelled. The number of items shipped will also be factored into the cost of the insurance.

All our international removal partners are covered by Public Liability and Goods in Transit insurance. This ensures you are covered should anything go wrong during the removals process.

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How Long Does Shipping Take?

Sea freight to New Zealand will take around 56 days on average to arrive if there are no issues with delays or customs clearance. Air freight takes roughly 7-10 days.

The amount of time shipping takes will vary. If you’re looking to ship LCL you will need to factor in the extra time this takes.

Prohibited Items to New Zealand

There are a handful of items you’re prohibited to ship into New Zealand. These include:

  • Weapons
  • Equipment for smoking or taking drugs
  • Firearms
  • Objectionable material
  • Controlled Drugs

The New Zealand Customs Service website provides a detailed breakdown of the type of goods to avoid packing.

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Finding an International Removal Company to New Zealand

When moving to New Zealand from the UK, you’ll want to ensure you are using a reliable and verified international removals company. All our partners are trusted and verified. Our service can place you in contact with up to 6 different companies. We can also save you up to 70% off your removal costs.

Dave Sayce

Reviewed by Dave Sayce

Owner & Managing Director, Compare My Move

Dave Sayce is the owner and managing director of Compare My Move and has over 10 years of experience in the house removals industry.

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