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International Container Shipping to Auckland

Moving to New Zealand retirement, for work or to be with family is a big decision to make and an exciting one too. But what now? Before you start dragging out the suitcases, there are moving costs and logistics to consider. Let us explain…

Moving Belongings By Sea or Air?

People often move to Auckland for work as well as permanent retirement. The latter can mean moving heavy furniture, white goods and large volumes of other belongings. The former can potentially mean a more streamlined moving process, especially if you’re moving into furnished accommodation. In this case, look into using air freight – it’s undoubtedly the more expensive option if you’re moving heavy loads, but if you’re travelling light it could make the best sense.

But if you’re moving to Auckland for the long term, sea cargo is almost definitely the way to go as the city had a major shipping port which means the final leg of your container’s journey will be quick and cheap. People relocating to NZ by sea freight tend to fill a shipping container – either forty or twenty feet long. A twenty footer will fit the contents of a three bedroom family home; a forty foot sea container can take all of this plus one or two cars.

If you want to bring a large load to Auckland but not quite a full container, ask your shipping company about consolidating with another customer. Sharing containers makes it much cheaper, though it can take longer than normal to get your things delivered, as sea containers won’t go anywhere until they’re full.

Can I Bring the Car?

It can be sometimes pricier to ship a vehicle abroad than to buy a new (or used) one in your new home country, so check the costs of both options before booking the wagon into your container load. Who knows - you might not need a car at all, or might want to see what life is like in your new home before committing to a vehicle.

If you want to ship your car, there are two options for getting it to New Zealand: ro-ro (roll-on roll-off) where your car will travel under the deck of a cargo ship solely used for vehicle freight, and shipping your car in a container with your other belongings. The latter is thought to be the safer and more secure option.


CIF (cost, insurance and freight) is the most frequently used package for people moving their belongings abroad. Your freight agent will take care of (and insure) all your container contents, from port to port or door-to-door if you choose this sort of service. If you’re sending a vehicle, antiques or other high-value objects, double check that CIF covers them. If not, you may need to pay an excess – so always ask if you’re not sure.


If you decide to shop around for a good deal on your container shipping, find out which container shipping companies offer a tracking service. With a dedicated container number or a personal reference code, customers can log in whenever they like and check up on where their container is at any time. Perfect peace of mind, and it’s normally a free service too.

How’s it Calculated?

The cost of relocating your belongings is largely down to the size of your shipment and the distance it needs to travel. Moving from the Belgium to Athens, therefore, will be markedly cheaper than moving from Sao Paulo to Adelaide. Be prepared to pay extra for luxuries like a door-to-door cargo service with help loading and unpacking at origin and destination. Another thing to bear in mind is that shipping containers sometimes undergo customs inspection fees, can be subject to warehousing charges and can attract import duties, so make sure your quote covers all these eventualities.