Prices to Import One Pallet (or More) from China to NZ

5-minute read (9-minute watch)

You’ll learn:

  • What are the costs of import from China to New Zealand
  • Which freight incoterms to choose and why

  • All fees included in the NZ port fees

  • Extra fees that you should account for

  • How to calculate the cost of importing 1+ pallet from China to NZ  

Watch full YouTube episode below

Max:  Hello. We are talking about costs to import one pallet of goods – or more pallets – from China to New Zealand. My name is Max; this is Alex.


We are going to start immediately without any useless information.

If you import one pallet – which is roughly 1 cubic meter and 300 kilos of general cargo – from the closest/main port in China – whether it’s Shanghai, Ningbo, Shenzhen – to the main port in New Zealand.

I would allow for ocean freight that cost 50 USD for 1 cubic meters. The transit time is going to be roughly 20-30 days from port to port.

Alex:  Max, what are the terms?


Max:  Good point, Alex. The most and the safest incoterms would be FOB, which is “Freight on Board”.

You could also be often offered with CIF, which includes the ocean freight from China to New Zealand. I would absolutely decline this offer because there would be a lot of hidden fees.

Alex:  Can you name those hidden fees for us?

Max:  First of all, you don’t know what would be the port charges in New Zealand; you don’t know the company that will invoice you for the fees upon their arrival in New Zealand.

Alex:  It’s FOB then.

Max:  It’s 50 USD, which is roughly 70 NZD.


Max:  Then, the most common fee that all freight forwarders will charge you will be the New Zealand port fee. You should allow 100 NZD for 1 cubic meters.

Alex:  What are those port fees?

Max:  When you import one pallet in a full container, there could be ten importers in this container and they all will share this cost. This 100 NZD is a part of the full cost of 1000 NZD or 2000 NZD.

Alex:  What are you paying for exactly?

Max:  It’s a port fee to unload the container from the ship and put it on the ground at the port in New Zealand –and it’s roughly the same fee in all major ports in New Zealand.

It also covers things like container cartage of the same container from the port to the closest warehouse.

Alex:  And unpacking of the container?

Max:  Yes, that includes taking the goods out of the container.

Alex:  Did you say it was a 100 NZD?

Max:  100 NZD for 1 cubic meter only. This process would take at least 2-3 business days to unload the container from the ship, put it on the ground or in the truck, and take the goods out of the container.

Alex:  The arranging can be longer if your customs clearance takes more time.

Max:  Yes. If you enjoy this information, make sure you subscribe and ask any questions right now – we will answer every single one.


Max:  Last but not least, all other small fees, which we call extra fees. In New Zealand that could be your import customs brokerage fee, documentation fees, and agency handling fees. I would allow a minimum of 250 NZD.

Alex:  I couldn’t call them the small fees. They are the biggest part. What do they consist of? Why are they so much higher than anything else? How much is brokerage fee, for example?

Max:  If it’s a simple commodity – like furniture, up to 5 different products – customs brokerage fees would be 100 NZD. Documentation fee is another 100 NZD. 50 NZD is for the agency handling fee.

You have to pay these fees – the customs broker and freight forwarder will have to spend some time talking to the different shipping lines, organize the truck, and explain you, the importer, the process.

That’s the time you have to pay for, obviously.

Alex:  What else is not there?

Max:  Another thing is some importers have their own trucks, vans, so they can pick up their products from the warehouse and save the tracking fee.

Prices to Import One Pallet (or More) from China to NZ_1

However, most freight forwarders in New Zealand can arrange the pick-up and delivery to your door for an extra fee. I would suggest at least 100-150 NZD if it’s a rural area or if it’s a difficult access area.

Generally, I would say 100 NZD extra on top.

Alex:  But it can increase to hundreds and even a thousand dollars if it’s in some distant place.

If, for example, your goods landed in Auckland and then had to be trucked even further than Hamilton, say, Napier, Wellington – then it can be up to a few hundred dollars.

Max:  If you add up freight, NZ fees, and extra fees (e.g., customs brokerage and handling fees) – these are the minimum fees you have to pay.

If you want to import one pallet of commercial goods, brand new cargo, simple commodity, not a foodstuff item, you have to budget 420 NZD.

Alex:  That’s your one pallet. One pallet could be about 200-300 kilos. What if I want to import twice as much?


Max:  If you want to import two pallets like that, your fees are not going to double, because the extra fees will be fixed regardless whether it is one pallet, two pallets or three pallets of the same commodity.

The only thing that will increase is your freight and port fees. If you’re going to send two pallets, you double these two.

It’s roughly 600 NZD. Two pallets, 2 cubic meters. You can have bigger pallets, which could be 3 cubic meters or 4 cubic meters. We use simple numbers just to make things clear. Then, 600 dollars is the total.

Alex:  Okay. I am a first-time importer; I’m ready to import, I know my fees, I know my costs – any last words of wisdom before I ship my goods?


Max:  You can consider insurance . Especially, if it’s an expensive shipment – 5 000 dollars or 10 000 dollars – and you’ve never done it before.

Talk to your customs broker; it may be worthwhile for you to get insurance; it’s only roughly 70-75 NZD extra for the full insurance.

Alex:  Something very important from myself, being a customs broker – please, make sure all the documents are sent to the NZ customs broker in time, so he/she can well check them before the goods arrive in New Zealand because it might cost you more than what we’ve just budgeted.

Max:  Nigel added a comment: “You can get a full container?” Well, obviously not for that price, a full container will be roughly 2 000 NZD and up.

It depends on your address, and if you want to unload it yourself or if you want a freight forwarder to organize labour.

Alex:  Correct. Nigel, you can also check out our other video, in which we explained how to import a container from China as well, and how much it will cost, and what you have to keep in mind to do that. Thanks, Nigel.

Prices to Import One Pallet (or More) from China to NZ_2

Max:  Alright. If you have any other questions, feel free to comment below. Stay with us and visit us again next week. Subscribe to our channel, and we’ll talk to you again soon. Thank you.

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