Questions about freight forwarding

What is the advantage of using a freight forwarder?

Three reasons – experience, knowledge and peace of mind.

A professional freight forwarder like Madigan Freight moves tons of freight every day. We understand the freighting and customs laws that must be adhered to when moving freight around New Zealand and around the globe.

We also guarantee peace of mind – we focus on moving your freight while you focus on your business.


Is my freight tracked?

Absolutely. We will keep an eye on where your freight is, monitoring every step of the way and keeping you updated with ETDs and ETAs.


Can I move cargo between two countries when I’m not in either of them?

Yes, this is actually quite a common practice. We have clients based in New Zealand who are shipping goods for example, directly ex China to Australia. This can be done using Madigan Freight’s international contacts.


If I’m importing goods from more than one supplier, can they be consolidated into one shipment?

Yes. Though it can take some arranging (all the more reason to use a freight forwarder). One positive about consolidating in this way is that it will usually save you money on your shipping costs.

Questions about shipping containers

What is the allowable weight of freight in a container?

Containers have a maximum allowable weight measured in terms of “payload.” The maximum payload of a container will usually be shown on the side of the container. There may also be restrictions imposed by local transport laws.


What is the cubic meterage of a container?

This obviously depends on the type of container. In general, a 20’ container will fit up to 28 cubic metres, while a 40’ container will take up to 55 cubic metres. It should be noted, however, that this may vary depending on the cargo’s configuration.


When a container arrives at our place, how long do we have to unload it?

In one sense, you can take as long as you like, however, most shipping lines charge a “detention fee” after a certain period of time. Usually this will be seven days after vessel discharge for general containers and as little as five days after vessel discharge for specialised (e.g. refrigerated) containers.

Questions about shipping & customs clearance times

When my goods arrive in New Zealand how long before they are cleared by customs?

Clearance usually only takes a day or two and is normally done prior to your shipment’s arrival in NZ. However, if the New Zealand Customs Service or MPI (Ministry for Primary Industries) make a request to examine your goods then it can take longer.


When my goods arrive in New Zealand how long before they are delivered?

The turnaround is quite quick, assuming there are no requests for inspection (see previous question). As a general guide airfreight is usually delivered the day after arrival, full containers within 3 days and LCL consignments within 7 days.

Note, the above are business days.


Airfreight is faster than sea-freight. Is that because my goods are in the air the same day as they are uplifted from my premises?

No. That doesn’t always happen. The faster time is because air travel is faster than sea travel and there tends to be more frequent flights than ships. However, when it comes to shipping, freight forwarders will consolidate cargo on a specific flight so that the maximum volume of freight can be moved on any one aeroplane or vessel.

If you want same day dispatch it can be possible, but you will likely pay a premium price for the service.

Questions about documentation

What documents are required to clear goods through New Zealand Customs and MPI?

You will need to provide your freight forwarder with:

  • A Commercial Invoice
  • A Packing List
  • The Bill of Lading or Air Waybill

Other documentation may be required depending on the type of goods being shipped. For instance, you may need a fumigation certificate or a quarantine declaration.

Don’t worry however. If you choose Madigan Freight as your freight forwarder, we will ensure you are aware of all the necessary documentation required for a seamless border clearance experience.

Questions about Customs taxes and insurance

Will I have to pay Customs duty on imported goods?

That depends on where the goods are coming from and whether or not a duty concession is already in force or can be applied for. It’s important to remember, just because New Zealand has a free trade agreement with the country of export does not mean no customs duties will be charged.

Again, this is something the team at Madigan Freight can advise you on.


What about insurance? It’s expensive – do I really need it?

Whether you insure your shipment is entirely up to you. However, it is important to remember that, as in all areas of life, accidents can happen. We always recommend appropriate insurance cover is in place – just in case!