Price Breakdown: Import One Pallet of Goods from China to NZ

7-minute read (14-minute watch)

Today we’re going to talk about the price breakdown if you want to import one cubic metre standard pallet of goods from China to New Zealand.

This is the most commonly asked question, so I’m delighted to finally break it down for you.

Watch full YouTube episode below

So imagine that you want to import general cargo, say, furniture, from one of the main ports in China, either Shanghai, Shenzhen, or Ningbo, and you want to send it to one of the major ports in New Zealand, say, Auckland, Christchurch, or Wellington.

But today, we’re going to use one specific example, and send one pallet from Shanghai to Auckland, of general goods, say, some furniture.

And before we start, my name is Max. I work for a freight forwarding company called Easy Freight, and we import all sorts of goods around the world to New Zealand , and we’re happy to help you answer any of your questions.

So feel free to type your questions in the comments on YouTube , and I will answer every single one.

So the most important thing before you import any goods to New Zealand is, obviously, agree with your overseas supplier on the shipping terms. The most common, and I would say the cheapest one is called FOB (Free On Board) .

And for those that don’t know the difference between different Incoterms , read it because it shows different pros and cons between Incoterms.

The most common one is called FOB, Free On Board. Say, you agreed with your supplier in China, Free On Board Shanghai and you paid for the goods $10,000, and it’s one cubic metre, one pallet, 300 kilos, just an average. Let’s use that as an example.

The first and most important service that you will have to pay for it’s called ocean freight. And on average, once again, it’s going to depend on the exchange rate, but let’s use USD 50 for one cubic metre. So that’s the first price that you have to pay for.

The second price that you will pay for when the goods reach Auckland port, obviously, you have to arrange the truck and move the container from the port to the warehouse.

And then, obviously, somebody has to unload the whole container because when you send one pallet of the goods, you share the container with other people. And you’ve got, say, 10 or 20 different importers and everyone pays their share for their goods.

So in your case, I would say, just to make it simple, to move the goods from the port to the warehouse, unload it, and pay some short-term storage, let’s use NZD 100 per cubic meter. 

The second part that you will have to pay for, obviously, you have to find a customs broker to do the clearance for you. If you’ve never done it, you won’t be able to do it by yourself, so make sure you approach a customs broker at least three weeks before it arrives in New Zealand.

I would say you have to find a customs broker or freight forwarder before you pay for any goods because you want to make sure you comply with New Zealand requirements and you supply all the correct paperwork to your customs officer.

To do customs clearance and to hire a customs broker, on average, you will pay another NZD 100. And, by the way, that’s all plus GST. That doesn’t include any taxes.

1. Price Breakdown Import One Pallet of Goods from China to NZ

Most of the quotes that are done in New Zealand plus GST, and you can claim GST back if you are GST-registered. All right. So customs broker fees, that’s a flat fee. It doesn’t matter whether you send one cubic metre or five cubic metres.

It’s a flat fee, NZD 100. And then you have to pay some documentation fees to the shipping line, documentation fees to your customs broker. That’s another NZD 100.

So you’ve got USD 50 for ocean freight to move the goods from Shanghai to Auckland port. Then you’ve got NZD 100 to move the container, not the full container, but you pay your share to move your pallet from the port to the warehouse.

Then you, obviously, have to pay someone to unload the container. Then you pay customs broker another NZD 100 to do the clearance, and then NZD 100 for general documentation to the shipping line and to the freight forwarder.

The other thing that you have to prepare for, if you’ve never imported any goods, you have to get your customs client number. You want to do it, again, at least two weeks before you import.

You can do it free of charge yourself, or you can pay a customs broker to assist you to complete the paperwork. That could be another NZD 50 plus GST. You can come to the warehouse with your truck and trailer and pick up the pallet yourself.

Or you can hire a customs broker and pay, for example, NZD 100 to deliver the goods on a tail-lift truck to anywhere within the open city limits. So that’s another NZD 100. Once again, all these numbers are estimated.

It will depend on the currency, on the space demands, because if you import any goods before Christmas, expect to pay at least 20 to 30 percent on top, because they will be extremely busy and hard to find space. Shipping lines always increase their prices.

In fact, that’s what they did in the last two months. And I don’t think they are planning to bring them down because there’s quite a big demand for goods out of China to New Zealand.

So let’s sum all up. You have US$50. That’s on average, I would say, NZ$70 if you convert it. Then NZD 300, so it’s NZD 370.

NZD 50 for customs client codes and NZD 100 for delivery. So to import one cubic metre of general cargo from China, expect to pay at least NZ$520 plus GST.

And if you’ve done everything right, if you’ve done everything in advance, if you’ve spoken to any customs broker in New Zealand, you will avoid all the possible hidden fees, and you will import your goods stress-free, and you will be a happy client.

Once again, if you import 10 cubic metres, you won’t pay $5,200 because some of the fees are fixed. So you don’t pay per cubic metre for documents and customs brokers’ fees. So customs brokers’ fees will be fixed.

Documentation is fixed. So NZD 250 you pay regardless whether it’s 1 cubic metre or 10 cubic metres.

Once again, you may pay double, or even more, for your customs brokers’ service, because if you’ve got a long invoice and the customs broker will have to spend, I don’t know, half a day, the full day doing your customs clearance, he’s going to be willing to charge you at least 2 to 3 hundred dollars because it’s a lot of work, and customs brokers are very expensive in New Zealand.

2. Price Breakdown Import One Pallet of Goods from China to NZ

What else? So if you’ve got 10 cubic metres, you will pay a lot more for ocean freight, and warehousing fees, and port fees. Once again, you’re not going pay $500 for ocean freight.

I think you’ll be able to get some discount, maybe for US$450 for ocean freight, and maybe, I don’t know, NZD 800 for New Zealand port charges. But, once again, it depends on how often do you import, what sort of goods you import. If it’s nice and easy general cargo, you can negotiate quite a good discount.

And delivery. I said NZD 100 for 1 cubic metre, but maybe if you’ve got 10 cubic metres and it’s, I don’t know, five pallets, easy access for a truck, maybe you’ll pay for 10 cubic metres, say NZD 50 per cubic metre, NZD 500.

So probably half the price per cubic metre, NZD 50 per cubic metre, on average, plus GST. 

If you’ve got some wooden items or any food items, MPI biosecurity will be very interested in your products. And most likely, if you’ve never imported before, you will have MPI inspection. They charge NZD 120 an hour.

And you will have to pay a warehouse handling fee, another NZD 100, and a broker to arrange everything, another NZD 100 at least. So I’d say all my clients that allow budget at least NZD 350 if you’ve got any sort of wooden items or any foodstuffs, especially if you’ve never imported before, just to be safe.

Customs inspection is going to be a bit cheaper, but still, we have to arrange it and you have to pay warehouse handling fees. What else? Storage. If you don’t do your documents in advance, that’s where you can be hit quite hard. Some people pay NZD 200 dollars in storage.

We had some people paying NZD 1,000 in storage if they don’t import it in a container or a big consignment. Because you pay NZD 10 per day, per cubic metre for storage.

You only have three days of free storage, so it’s three days, and then you will be charged $10 per cubic metre, per day. So if you’ve got 10 cubic metres, you’ll pay $100 per day until you get your goods out of the warehouse.

I think I’ve mentioned everything. If you’ve got any questions, make sure you type them in the comments on YouTube . I’ll answer them later. Subscribe to our channel because we’ll be talking again about some customs clearance mistakes.

To make sure you save money, don’t pay more than you have to. And it’s our job that you get your goods on time for the cheapest possible price.

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