How to import sea containers

Importing Sea Containers

One of the most common questions both our business customers and people relocating back from overseas ask is “how do I import a sea container?”.

Before you import

If you are importing any goods, you must make sure anything you import meets the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) rules and regulations.  These rules are in place to protect New Zealanders, our unique environment and our international trade relationships. 

MPI has a great resource on their website for general importing requirements

All commercially imported goods must be cleared through New Zealand Customs Service, so importers need to register with Customs and submit an import entry or electronic cargo information (ECI).

What is Biosecurity Clearance

When your sea container arrives into New Zealand it is, first, customs cleared and then must be delivered to an MPI-approved Transitional Facility for inspection and devanning.

When you are cleared

When your sea container has been cleared you can then store your goods in a storage facility or you can arrange for your goods to be delivered elsewhere.

 Points to remember

  1. Wherever you are devanning ensure the transitional facility has a forklift onsite available for your use, particularly if your goods are heavy or are on pallets. 
  2. If your goods do not meet biosecurity regulations (e.g. a snake, disallowed materials etc. are discovered in your container), there may be a charge from the shipping company and/or the transitional facility while MPI decontaminates and inspects.