Dangers of Importing a Vehicle Yourself Instead of Employing an Agent
Posted on October 1, 2015
Although New Zealand is undeniably a nation of DIYers and people who like to think they’ve got the skills to tackle most jobs, international shipping is a different beast entirely.
If you are looking to import a caravan, motorhome, car or motorbike from another country, then you’re looking at having to consider more than one jurisdiction when it comes to rules and regulations, you obviously have to consider the means of transport and you have to think about even the smallest details to ensure your vehicle arrives in New Zealand safe, secure and ready to hit the open road.
So here’s a rundown of some of the pitfalls you could encounter if you chose to import a vehicle on your own, and some of the skills McCullough have devised over the years to ensure shipping your property is plain sailing.
- Being in two places at the same time: One of the most difficult aspects of shipping is being based in New Zealand and having to deal with companies half way around the world. McCullough has built up a global contact network of trusted agents who can help you every step of the way and prevent you having, in the worst case scenario, to spend money on flights if trouble strikes.
- Logistics: There’s a lot of moving parts involved before your vehicle even gets on board a ship. For example, if you’re sourcing a customised car from a manufacturer in the UK, you’ll need to coordinate export documentation and clearance, transport from the factory to the port, marine insurance and the availability of a container for when the vehicle arrives at the port.
- Container packing and shipping: How a container is packed is vital to the security of your vehicle – again, it’s unlikely you can be on hand to supervise it yourself and McCullough has a trusted system and is familiar with ports and services throughout the world. We also investigate and advise on all the latest packing products for your needs. Tips include installing moisture absorbers in the drivers and passenger side pocket to avoid condensation damage, taking close-up photos of all parts of the vehicle (inside and out) in case you need to show marine insurers, and, if you’re importing a caravan or motorhome, you disconnect the battery and remove things like fire extinguishers, gas bottles and food.
- Costs: Because McCullough have been shipping for more than 20 years, we understand how to mix a trusted and careful service with competitive prices. Go it alone and you’ll be likely to pay full rates at every step of the journey, whereas because of our high volumes we can provide competitive rates for marine insurance; because we’re not affiliated to a single shipping line, we can also advise on best prices; and because we understand the process we can arrange for services such as cleaning to be carried out where the vehicle is to avoid extra handling and transport costs.
- Customs and MAF clearance: New Zealand has some of the world’s strictest regulations surrounding importing vehicles. Customs clearance is one thing you’re probably aware of, but knowing exactly how closely MAF monitors imports and the levels to which vehicles need to be clean can save you money and time (MAF will charge you if extra cleaning is needed or if it has to destroy anything discovered in the shipped cargo). Key things to understand, check and ensure are: the vehicle has less than a quarter tank of fuel, cleaning is thoughout (including tough to get to places such as the underside and engine bay, or for caravans and motorhomes, awnings and wheel arches) and inner cargo is also clean, compliant and documented.
- Compliance: Compliance can be a major headache for vehicles purchased overseas – ranging from emissions to seatbelts and construction to usage. Getting this wrong can mean your vehicle is stuck in a warehouse in New Zealand for months while you source parts from overseas or arrange for work to be done. And, of course, this can be extremely costly. Your statement of compliance has to come from an authorised representative of a vehicle manufacturer and list standards that are in the New Zealand rules and regulations. Not only can McCullough advise exactly how your vehicle needs to comply to NZ regulations, but, because of our years of experience, we can also spot potential pitfalls before the vehicle is shipped and help arrange compliance before the vehicle arrives in New Zealand.
- Door-to-door service: Once the vehicle has arrived in New Zealand, there can still be some major hurdles to get over before you can get behind the wheel. Arranging unpacking, an inspection for damage (to compare before and after photos), a MAF inspection, any potential cleaning, Customs clearance and actually taking possession of the vehicle can be time-consuming and potentially costly. McCullough ensures the unpacking, inspections and cleaning happens all in one location – a Customs Bonded Warehouse – to minimise handling and transport costs and the risk of damage. You can see your vehicle at the bond store if you want and pick it up from there once it’s cleared – but we also have purpose-built trucks to transport your vehicle right to your door to make life far easier.