New Zealand Sea Freights Customs Clearance FCL.

Contact us today at 0800 166 716 for further information and assistance.


Full Container Load (FCL) refers to you having exclusive ownership of the goods inside the shipping container. This also requires you to assume full responsibility in having the container collected from the port in New Zealand, arranging quarantine depot inspections (if applicable), delivering the container to your premises and returning the empty container to the port.

All of these logistics processes can be efficiently managed and facilitated by your Platinum® customs broker. Certain shipments may require NZCS or MPI inspections; in such cases Platinum® will arrange these logistics concerns to be processed on your behalf.

Full Container Load (FCL) shipping to New Zealand involves intricate processes but can be successfully executed with meticulous forward-planning and preparation through your Platinum® customs broker.



Full Container Load (FCL) shipping is a cost-effective alternative when transporting large shipments via sea to New Zealand. When you opt for FCL shipping, your goods are securely packed in your dedicated shipping container and shipped. This distinguishes FCL from Less-than-Container Load (LCL) shipping, where your goods are combined and consolidated with other customers’ shipments and sent in a shared container. FCL offers numerous advantages over LCL, including reduced expenses, enhanced shipment control and expedited unpacking and receiving times.

By shipping a Full Container Load, your goods exclusively occupy the container, ensuring that your goods are not susceptible to potential damage caused by other shipments loaded or unloaded within a shared container. Additionally, you can have the FCL shipment packed based on your precise requirements, giving you maximum control over the packing process compared to the LCL scenario. As a result, FCL grants you superior control over your shipment.

Moreover, FCL is generally more cost-effective than LCL. Since you utilise the entire container, you have the entire space for your use. Conversely, with LCL shipping, you must share the container cost with other shippers. Furthermore, FCL transit times are typically quicker than LCL due to the absence of consolidation and devanning processes at either end of the journey. Consequently, FCL presents a faster and more cost-effective shipping solution for your sizable shipments to New Zealand, ensuring uniqueness while maintaining the same length.



Purchasing your goods

After finalising your agreement with your overseas supplier to purchase the goods, the best action is to involve us so that we can address all of the issues that need to be addressed before the voyage commences. Platinum® will coordinate with you and your supplier to ensure New Zealand compliance and to make certain that all of the necessary paperwork is prepared.

 Booking your FCL shipment to New Zealand

Your overseas supplier in most cases, will arrange the packing and shipping of your FCL to New Zealand. In some occasions, Platinum® will handle the ocean shipping to New Zealand for you.

Platinum® works closely with you and your supplier to ensure such things as the accurate port of discharge and also the accurate preparation of documentation. Additionally, we prioritise having your cargo insured to safeguard you against unforeseen circumstances, such as your full container falling off the vessel en route to New Zealand.

 Preparing your goods for shipping to New Zealand

Depending on your preferences, you may ask your overseas supplier to palletise your goods before packing the FCL; which will make the devanning process much easier or you may ask your overseas supplier to pack your goods wall to wall, floor to roof; this will require more manual labour when the FCL is devanned in New Zealand. Palletising your goods within the container makes for convenient devanning when using a forklift.

If you are shipping fragile items such as glassware, it is advisable not to stack too much cargo on top of the below cargo to avoid excess pressure on the lower cartons. It is very important to carefully consider the packing and devanning processes so that risks are mitigated.

Moving your FCL from your supplier’s premises to the departing port

Once your goods are securely packed within the FCL and ready to be exported, your supplier or our team will handle the internal transportation to the departing port destined for New Zealand. This internal movement may occur via road, rail or internal waterway. 

Your FCL in Transit to New Zealand

Once your FCL has been loaded onto the departing vessel bound for New Zealand, the vessel will likely stop to collect or discharge containers. FCL containers from Europe will experience a transhipment process where the FCL will change vessel/s during their international voyage. 

Your FCL Arrives in New Zealand

Before your FCL arriving at one of New Zealand’s ports, Platinum® would have processed the FCL through both the NZCS and the MPI. Upon arrival, the shipping container will be discharged from the vessel; it will then be inspected at an Approved Transitional Facility. Once the FCL has been released by MPI, you have two options for collection/delivery; Platinum® can deliver the container to your address for you and your people to unpack the shipping container or you can attend to the ATF and collect the loose items once the FCL has been devanned. Whether you require the FCL delivered to your site or whether you wish to collect the loose goods, your Platinum® customs broker will assist you in making these arrangements.

Promptly returning the empty FCL container to the port is crucial. The shipping line [who owns the FCL] generally charges rent/detention on the FCL seven calendar days after the FCL has arrived in New Zealand. If the FCL is late in being returned to the wharf, you will be billed rent/detention charges. Rent fees vary between shipping companies, but generally, $150 -$250* per calendar day is standard. 


Preparing For Platinum® Customs Clearance In New Zealand

To streamline and facilitate the customs clearance of your sea freight FCL (Full Container Load) shipment to New Zealand, we would require the following minimum  documentation:

  • Commercial invoice for the goods
  • Packing list
  • Bill of Lading
  • Packing declaration – click here to download
  • Fumigation certificate (if your goods contain timber or plant material)
  • Authorisation form

The above documents will ensure a smooth Platinum® customs clearance process with the NZCS and the MPI.



If you’re seeking a reliable customs brokerage to handle your Full Container Load (FCL) shipments before they arrive in New Zealand, then Platinum® should be your first choice.

We are a leading customs brokerage, possessing over 23 years of experience and a team of highly skilled customs clearance professionals who are meticulous in addressing concerns that importers are not even aware exist.

Our team operates efficiently, ensuring timely clearances through the New Zealand Customs Service [NZCS] and the Ministry for Primary Industries [MPI]. Additionally, we offer comprehensive tracking and reporting, providing you with complete transparency regarding your shipment’s whereabouts and the estimated date of arrival.

Contact Platinum® today to learn more about our services and how we can facilitate a swift and seamless border customs clearance for your FCL.



Platinum® has provided FCL sea freight customs clearances for importing businesses for over 23 years. We possess customs brokering experience and logistics knowledge, which allows us to process your FCLs through 1) the NZCS, 2) the wharves, 3) the MPI, 4) an ATF and 4) onto you quickly and efficiently.

Contact Platinum® today to learn more about our services, or upload your commercial invoice, and we will email you a detailed quote. We look forward to working with you on your next FCL shipment.

Platinum® customs clear Full Container Loads (FCLs) arriving in Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington, Lyttleton, and Port Chalmers.

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Frequently Asked Questions


A Full Container Load (FCL) refers to a shipment from one supplier for one owner and under the control of the owner of the goods. The available cubic metre [m3] space varies depending on the container type, such as a 20″, 40″ or a 40” HC. Opting to ship FCL’s to New Zealand are more cost-effective than LCL shipments, as freight forwarders do not need to consolidate or deconsolidate the shipping containers.

Moreover, receiving the cargo from FCL shipments tends to be faster due to the absence of delays caused by the consolidation or deconsolidation process. Businesses shipping large quantities of goods to New Zealand [in most cases] should rely upon FCL as their preferred shipping option.


LCL and FCL are two methods of sea freight shipping to New Zealand. LCL or Less than a Container Load, consolidates multiple shippers’ shipments in the same shipping container. This option is more cost-effective per cubic metre [m3] but takes longer to load and unload due to the consolidation and deconsolidation processes.

FCL or Full Container Load, is when one shipper has an entire shipping container filled with only their goods. Although FCL shipping is more expensive, FCL shipping offers you more space and more control. Receiving FCL cargo would be at least one week faster than LCL shipping, as the container can be unpacked at your specified address.

When deciding between LCL or FCL shipping to New Zealand, you should always consider factors such as weight [kg] and volume [m3].


Full Container Load (FCL) calculations are typically done in TEU, which stands for “Twenty-foot Equivalent Units.”

A 20″ General Purpose container can hold approximately 33 cubic metres. A 40″ General Purpose container of goods destined for New Zealand can hold approximately 66 cubic metres. A 40″ High Cube container of goods destined for New Zealand can hold approximately 76 cubic metres (as there is more height in this type of container).