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Shipping Container Costs From the United Kingdom to New Zealand

Ashleigh Williams

Written by Reviewed by Dave Sayce

1st Sep 2022 (Last updated on 5th Sep 2022) 6 minute read

The average cost of shipping to New Zealand from the UK is £5,750. This is based on the cost of a 40ft shipping container which can hold the contents of a 3-bedroom house. To ship via air freight, costs around £437. These figures have been taken from our international removal cost research.

If you’re looking to ship goods to New Zealand, the two available shipping options are sea freight and air freight. The option you select will be based on your budget and the number of items you have.

In this article, we will be discussing everything you need to know about the shipping costs for your international removals to New Zealand.

This article will cover the following:
  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

Shipping via sea freight is the most common option to consider when looking to relocate to New Zealand. While it can take a significant amount of time for goods to arrive, it’s better for the environment, and it’s more value for the money if you’re on a stricter budget.


  • 20ft or 40ft shipping container sizes to choose from
  • Ability to transport motor vehicles
  • Better for the environment
  • Cheapest shipping option
  • Part-load services are available
  • Charged by the container size rather than the weight


  • Longer shipping times
  • Delays are more likely
  • Sea freight journeys are less frequent

Main New Zealand Ports and Routes

The Port of Tauranga is the biggest port in New Zealand. As a third of the cargo that the country receives comes through this port, it’s a useful shipping location to consider.

Other ports in New Zealand include:

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

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

Air Freight

Given the distance of New Zealand from the UK, air freight is by far the quickest shipping option. It’s best suited to those with a bigger removals budget, and for those with fewer items. Goods arrive quicker than sea freight, but you are limited with the number of goods you can ship.


  • 5 different international airports to consider
  • Goods are delivered quickly
  • Ability to track your goods during transit
  • Regular flight schedules


  • Expensive in comparison to 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. The most popular airport to ship goods to is Auckland. The other four international airports are:

  • Christchurch
  • Wellington
  • Queenstown
  • Dunedin

The main UK airports that ship goods to New Zealand are:

  • London Heathrow
  • Manchester
  • Birmingham

Due to its distance from the UK, when shipping to New Zealand, your goods will be subject to a stopover. Some of the most common places include Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo.

FCL VS LCL Shipping

When you’ve selected your shipping option, you will need to decide whether you want to use full or part load. This will vary depending on the number of goods you need to ship. The costs of full container load and less container load are significantly different.

Here are the different aspects to consider when thinking about whether you need FCL or LCL shipping:

  • The location you’re travelling to
  • Insurance costs
  • The weight and size of your items
  • Duties charges
  • Customs charges
  • The ability to track your items

Here is the difference between FCL and LCL shipping:

Full Container Load (FCL)

Full container load shipping tends to be the most popular choice as it allows you to ship a lot of goods. If you need to ship the contents of an entire 3-bedroom house, for example, it’s the most suitable option.

With full container loads, you pay for the container and all your belongings are stored in one place. As it’s being shipped to you directly, there are fewer chances of delays.

Less Container Load (LCL)

If you’re moving the contents of one room, or only have a smaller number of goods, less container load is a useful option to consider. It allows you to share a container with others.

By doing this you split the total cost of the shipping, which is great for those relocating on a budget. While your costs are lowered, your goods will take longer to arrive as they’re not being shipped directly to you.

Other Costs to Consider

When thinking about shipping costs, there are a number of additional costs to consider. These include:

Packing Services

Packing services typically cost £250. However, the costs will vary depending on the materials used, and how many items you need to be packaged. This average is based on a 3-bedroom home.

Packing services are fantastic if you’re short on time, or if you need a helping hand with packing up your home. The removals service will send a team of expert packers to your home ahead of your move, and they will sort everything into boxes using high-quality packing materials.

Pick-up and Delivery

When moving internationally, it’s useful to use a door-to-door service. While many international removal companies will include the cost of this in their quote, some will charge for this additionally.

Pick-up and delivery ensure that your goods will be picked up from your home and will arrive at your new destination. It takes away the need for you to organise your own transport. The costs will vary based on the distance from the airports and ports to your location, the number of goods, and your chosen country.


4% of the total cost of the goods you have shipped is the average insurance cost for international shipping. However, the costs can alter depending on the company you have chosen and the policy you’re considering.

The cost of the insurance will vary depending on several factors:

  • Location
  • Type of goods
  • Number of goods
  • The insurance company
  • Type of cover needed

While international removal companies are covered by Public Liability and Goods in Transit insurance, you should always have your own insurance policy. This ensures you are covered should anything go wrong during the removals process.

Shipment Protection Cover and Maritime insurance policies are often recommended. You should always choose a reliable and trustworthy removal company. This is why our partners are all verified and pass our vetting process.

How Long Does Shipping Take?

The shipping times to New Zealand vary depending on whether you’ve chosen to use sea or air freight. Sea freight will take around 56 days to arrive if there are no issues with delays or customs. Air freight takes between 7-10 days on average.

If you’re looking to ship LCL you will need to factor in the extra time this takes. In addition to this, delays can impact the arrival time, as can the location you’ve chosen and the port or airport you’re shipping from.

Prohibited Items to New Zealand

There are a handful of items that are prohibited in New Zealand. Before shipping goods, ensure you’ve avoided packing the following:

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

For a full breakdown of prohibited items and items that require a permit, visit the New Zealand Customs Service website.

Finding an International Removal Company to New Zealand

If you’re planning on moving to New Zealand, you’ll want to ensure you have carefully planned and considered the international removals company you want to use. All our partners are trusted and verified, meaning you can rest assured that your personal belongings are in safe hands.

By using our service, we can connect you with up to 6 partners that can assist you with your international move. We can also save you up to 70% during this process.

Ashleigh Williams

Having written book reviews and content for For The Love of Books for over five years, Ashleigh now creates advice articles for Compare My Move, focusing on all things home-related.

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.