Shipping Vehicles from Australia: Questions and Answers with McCullough

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to find out costs and procedures involved in shipping your car from Australia to New Zealand.

Posted on 31st August 2016 – Shipping Vehicles

Cars, bikes, campervans, boats, heavy machinery, at McCullough, we understand how precious your vehicle is to you, and how unnerving it may be to have it shipped thousands of miles across the seas. We pride ourselves on our transparent process, and always welcoming clients’ questions, so here are answers to the ones we get asked most often.

What does your quote include?

Pick-up from Australia isn’t included by default, but this is something we can arrange at an extra cost. We’ll just need the address where the vehicle is located. Delivery of the vehicle from the depot to the port is, however, included in the quote.

Our quote also includes Marine Insurance as standard, unless otherwise stated, with a cover of up to 40,000NZD and an excess of 500NZD. We can arrange a higher cover if needed, so do get in touch with us in that case.

Delivery to Compliance is included and wewill deliver the vehicle to your nominated compliance centre once the Customs, MPI and Border Clearances are completed. We can recommend compliance centres close to you. Compliance and Registration has to be paid directly to the Compliance Centre and is an extra cost.

How do I prepare my car for shipping?

Please take high resolution photos of all sides of the car and its inside for insurance purposes.

Please make sure the vehicle is as clean as possible. When your vehicle arrives in New Zealand, the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) - the government agency in charge of biosecurity – will inspect it in great detail. MPI inspects all used vehicle imports and approximately 85% of these vehicles are held for additional cleaning, incurring delays and extra costs.

You will need to clean under the wheel arches, vacuum inside and in the grills where leaves and plant material gather. The criteria are very stringent so you may want to consider having your vehicle cleaned professionally.

Also, please ensure that the petrol tank of your vehicle is no more than a quarter full.

Although it isn’t illegal to put items inside the vehicle, we strongly recommend that you don’t. As the vehicle goes through different hands throughout transit, things can go missing. There is no responsibility taken by the shipping line or McCullough Ltd if items left inside the vehicle go missing, and inner cargo isn’t covered under the vehicle’s Marine Insurance.

If you do decide to take this risk, you must let us know and declare the items to us on a Customs and MPI declaration (we can send you these documents).

Alternatively, we offer a shared 40ft Container Service for vehicles from Australia to Auckland only where we do allow inner cargo in vehicles. Vehicles shipped on the shared container service are packed in our Customs Bond Store in Australia and unpacked in our Customs Bonded Warehouse in Auckland giving you an extra safe environment for your items and special vehicle.

You will need to deregister your vehicle in Australia. Please take the plates off when you deliver it to us or when we pick it up. The plates can then be taken into the local transport department at a later date to deregister the vehicle in Australia.

What happens during and after shipping?

Vehicles need to be delivered to our receiving depot 3 or 4 days prior to the ship departing - Our Australian agent will confirm receiving dates with you. We have several depots in Australia: Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Fremantle.

We ship all vehicles by Roll-On, Roll-Off on dedicated car-carrying vessels and they are all transported below deck.

Shipping times vary, so contact us for the most recent shipping schedules to find out how long it will take for your car to be transported from port to port.

Once your vehicle has landed in New Zealand, it needs to be cleared. Generally, you should allow 4 to 5 days for Customs, MPI and Border Clearances.

After release from the port, your car needs to be delivered to the Compliance centre which we can organise for you. Compliance is like a Warrant of Fitness, only more stringent. Compliance must be done on all vehicles entering New Zealand to make sure the vehicle is in line with NZ road standards. For more information,please go to

If you qualify for ‘zero GST payable’ then you will be exempt from New Zealand’s emission and frontal impact laws. However you still will have to meet general safety requirements for your vehicle.

If you do not qualify for ‘zero GST payable’ then we will need to check to make sure the car will comply. To enable us to do this, please send us a photo of the ‘Australian Design Rule’ Plate or ‘ADR’ Plate. This will be in the engine bay of the vehicle or on the door pillar. This plate (or sticker) will have an ‘Approval Number’ stated on the top.

In general, late model cars will be compliant, however, if the vehicle was manufactured in 2009 or earlier, the vehicle may only be Euro 3 emission compliant and will need upgrades to comply in New Zealand.

Compliance normally takes a few days, depending on how busy the inspection centre is, but you will be able to get a more accurate time frame by getting in touch with them once the vehicle has arrived to get a better timeframe.

Money matters

If your vehicle doesn’t qualify for ‘Zero GST Payable’,you may qualify for depreciation. Depreciation is applicable when you have owned and used the car for more than 3 months and amounts to 13% of the purchase price. You will pay GST on the remaining amount, freight and insurance (CIF value).

The amount of depreciation for vehicles owned and used for more than 3 months varies, e.g. 4 months = 20% depreciation; 6 months = 27.5%; 9 months = 35% and so on.

Please note that if there is finance owing on the vehicle, you will need to get a letter from the finance company giving you permission to ship the vehicle to New Zealand.

We only invoice you once the ship arrives in New Zealand and the MPI biosecurity results are known. You can pay us by internet banking. We also accept credit cards but there is a transaction fee on these. Please call us to discuss the rate on your card.

If you would like to make a booking with us, please contact us and we will email you details of the paperwork and information we will need from you. Once we receive these documents, we will make book your vehicle on the vessel, let you know the details and put you in touch with our Australian agent.

From there, you will be able to liaise directly with our agent who will confirm delivery dates and times as well as drop-off and pick-up arrangements.

Our easy - 3 step shipping process

Advise pick-up location
Documents & shipping
Delivered to your door

Tell us the pick up location and we'll arrange a date & time

We handle all customs & shipping including insurance

Enjoy your toy, after it's delivered to your door anywhere in NZ.

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