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Shipping from the US to New Zealand – Oceania Export Market Series

Updated: Apr 3, 2023

The United States is a top 3 trading partner of New Zealand according to 2016 statistics from MIT’s Observation of Economic Complexity. New Zealand imported 11% of their goods from the U.S. In 2017, the United States exported $3.924 billion worth of goods to New Zealand and the United States imported $4.15 billion of goods from New Zealand.

The first US consul to New Zealand was was commissioned in 1838. An interesting fact that not many people are aware of is that approximately 300 U.S. companies have subsidiary branches in New Zealand. The U.S. is New Zealand’s second most important trading partner after Australia when taking into account it’s trade in goods & services as well as Foreign Direct investment (FDI). U.S. companies accounted for the second largest source of FDI into New Zealand in 2016 at $6.1 billion.

New Zealand and the United States belong to the following international organizations: United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC), ASEAN Regional Forum, and World Trade Organization (WTO). New Zealand also belongs to the Pacific Islands Forum, of which the United States is a Dialogue Partner.

Several countries in the Pacific Islands rely on the New Zealand Dollar (NZD) also know as the “Kiwi” as their national currency including: the Cook Islands, Niue, the Ross Dependency, Tokelau, and a British territory called the Pitcairn Islands. This reliance has a direct impact on their import and export economy because of it’s affects on international trade. The Kiwi is consistently among the top 10 traded currencies in the world.

What does the U.S. export to New Zealand? Top Exports from the U.S. to New Zealand (or Top Imports to New Zealand from the U.S., depending on how you look at it!) included aircraft, machinery (including farm equipment), vehicles (cars), motor homes (RVs), delivery trucks, truck trailers, agricultural products, vehicles, optic and medical and technical instruments and equipment, plastics and pharmaceuticals. The top exports of U.S. agricultural products are dairy products (including milk, cheese, butter and dry milk powders), prepared food, dog and cat food, fresh fruit, and tree nuts.

Ocean Freight from the U.S. to New Zealand

Shipping to New Zealand is mainly done through US West Coast ports as it is the most time and cost effective way to ship goods to New Zealand. If you are in the Midwest or Gulf, and looking to ship full container loads (FCL) or less than container load (LCL) to New Zealand, we as your international freight forwarder can offer an intermodal solution by positioning ocean containers for FCL or LTL trucks at your door location for you to load and then ship it intermodal to a US west coast port such as Long Beach or Los Angeles and then exported to the ports of New Zealand. The largest (major) seaports of New Zealand are Tauranga, Auckland, Lyttelton, Napier, Otago and Wellington. Some of these ports can be used to ship specialized cargo using Breakbulk or RORO vessels. We can help select the best seaport based on the final destination in New Zealand.

Air Freight from the U.S. to New Zealand

For Air Freight shipments to New Zealand, the major airports are AKL, CHC, WLG and ZQN. We can pickup your cargo from door in the U.S. and ship it out from the closest US airport gateway to New Zealand.

For Project Cargo or Oversized or Out of Gauge (OOG) shipments to New Zealand, we offer Flatrack and Open Top Containers, Breakbulk and RORO solutions. If you have such shipments, we can offer a transloading solution in Los Angeles.

Wood Packaging Requirements for Exporting to New Zealand

Depending on the cargo you are exporting to New Zealand, and whether it is by air or by sea (varies depending on whether it is shipped in a container or not) it may contain wood packaging material that must meet New Zealand’s biosecurity and Import Health Standards (IHS) requirements to prevent the introduction of pests and diseases. The Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) can help exporters and importers understand the step by step requirements needed for shipping goods to New Zealand for both air freight and ocean freight shipments. Note that MPI may randomly request an audit inspection of a container as part of their 1% sea container intervention monitoring program.

The requirements of wood packaging as of the writing of this post are as follows:

  1. All wood and wood packaging materials (including dunnage , fillets and spacers for securing and loading cargo, crates, pallets, drums and reels) used in shipments must be ISPM 15 treated and marked OR it must be treated by fumigation. If fumigation is used to treat the wood, the ISPM 15 mark must be stamped on the wood.

  2. A quarantine declaration must be prepared by Exporter or Export Packer and put on their letterhead and submitted to the shipping line, freight forwarder and the importer. Click here to download a sample sea container quarantine declaration.

If you are looking to start exporting to New Zealand or an existing exporter looking for an alternative freight forwarder, please contact us today at (800) 874 4748 or request a quote to learn more about how we can offers solutions that meets your shipping requirements.



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