Export & Import Cars to New Zealand

Dolphin Shipping New Zealand

International Vehicle Shipping Services.


Vehicle Shipping from Japan.


Vehicle Shipping from Australia.


Our Door-To-Door Process


Book space on a vessel, either via RoRo or Container Shipping & prepare for car export.

Export Clearance

Pre-export inspection and documentation processing.


We arrange pick-up from your supplier or address to the nearest port processing yard.

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Import Clearance

Unloaded into destination port. Vehicle import inspection and cleaning (if required).


All used import cars must go through Compliance Inspection to ensure they are fit for NZ roads.


Arrange delivery to your preferred destination around the country.

Import & Export Cars – NZ Vehicle Importers

Dolphin Shipping provides freight solutions for individual and regular vehicle importers in NZ. We offer multiple sailings a month from all main global ports. With a vast global network, we offer a door-to-door solution.


Prior to importing a vehicle, it’s important to check it meets all NZ road standards. An entry certifier like VINZ assesses whether a vehicle meets NZ road standards before registration. Once you have sourced a vehicle, speaking with an entry certifier is your first step. Next, would be contacting a freight forwarder like Dolphin Shipping, who imports thousands of vehicles each month.


You may be a dealer who is tired of being let down by your current freight forwarder time and time again. Dolphin Shipping is one of the most established freight agents in the auto industry. Tailored solutions at competitive rates especially for dealers that importing from Japan or Australia. With our own client portal, you get a 24/7 overview of all your bookings. With key features to help plan your vehicle import stock and cash flow in advance.


As an individual looking to import your car, you may have various reasons. For example, you could be looking at classic cars overseas. In short, most will come under the regulations for importing cars over 20 years old. On the other hand, you could be looking into international shipping companies to import your family car. Whatever the case may be, Dolphin Shipping is one of the most experienced freight forwarders specilised in vehicles.


Dolphin Shipping can answer any questions regarding international vehicle shipping. Contact us for all your vehicle transport needs.

Importing A Vehicle On Your Schedule

You have a choice of multiple sailings per month when looking at vehicle shipping to NZ. You're in complete control.

Competitive Rates To Import Your Car

The large volume of vehicles we do monthly, means you're guaranteed one of the best rates in the industry.

Handled With Utmost Care

From classic car imports to dealers looking to ship used cars, our track record is close to 0% in damage claims.

Stress & Hassle Free Vehicle Import

We know dealing with import regulations can be a nightmare. Our highly experienced team is always 3 steps ahead.

About Us

Dolphin Shipping has been operating throughout New Zealand for over 9 years now. Primarily, providing logistics services in international car shipping.


We offer multiple sailings from all over the world, predominantly from Japan every month.


Our staff are extremely dedicated to the job, many have been with Dolphin Shipping since it started and have over 20 years of industry experience.


We believe we have a Good Name and Reputation in the Automotive Shipping Industry and this is one of our most important assets.


Our Team


Dolphin Shipping is only as good as the team and we are fortunate to have some of the most passionate and hard-working people in the international vehicle shipping industry.

FAQs - International Vehicle Shipping

Most frequent questions and answers regarding vehicle export and import.

International car transport cost varies from country to country. Distance may not play as big of a role as you think. For example, importing a car from Australia to NZ is normally more expensive than the more common Japan trade lane. Many more importers ship vehicles from Japan. This larger volume normally means cheaper rates. As a rough figure, freight forwarders will charge between $1,800 to $5,000. This range allows for options such as door-to-door transport, locations, and shipping methods (RO/RO or Container).


Although overseas shipping has many variables, there are some fixed costs. In most cases, international car transport incurs taxes in the country of import. This is also the case in NZ, where GST is payable and includes vehicle cost + insurance + freight. However, you may be exempt in some cases.


Another fixed cost you can expect is a compliance inspection to register the car in NZ. Although freight forwarders don’t offer the service, they should suggest a compliance centre near you. This normally costs between $550-$650. For example, we can suggest Fasttrack Compliance in Christchurch and Auckland. If you are looking at buying a car overseas, you must make sure it can comply in NZ first.


Our ability to simplify the complexity is what makes us the best international vehicle freight company. When you are searching to for car shipping, we can answer any questions before you decide. Shipping cars from overseas can be stressful, but an experienced agent can make the process a breeze. So what are you waiting for? Look no further if you are wanting to ship internationally. Dolphin Shipping is one of the few companies with a complete solution. 

If it was always cheaper to import a car then the used car industry wouldn’t exist. Normally regular importers can purchase used cars overseas at a lower cost because of the volume they buy. Naturally, this brings the international transport cost down for them too. Therefore, for a private person looking at buying and shipping a car to New Zealand, it won’t be cheaper in most cases.


However, there are some cases where it can be. EVs aren’t making their way into NZ as quickly as expected. Therefore, you may be able to get a bargain overseas and reach out to Dolphin Shipping. It is also common for people to reach out for international vintage or rare car transport. In bigger markets like Japan, Australia, USA, or the UK, there is a much better range for specialty vehicles. Hence why people enquire about classic and sports cars.


This brings us to the third point when considering international shipping. There are other factors to consider than just the cost. You have a reliable family vehicle and you are in two minds whether to sell or bring it with you. In truth, selling a used car means a significant loss via depreciation. Generally, to import a car will cost between $1800-$5000 depending on the departure port and shipping method. Therefore, the decision rests on your valuation of the car in comparison to the cost.


The answer when weighing up the cost of transport versus buying locally depends on your circumstances. Hence, we conclude that the question must be considered on a case-by-case basis. It’s certainly not for everyone and that choice is yours.

When importing a vehicle to NZ, you must pay GST of 15% upon arrival. It makes no difference whether you’re importing cars over 20 years old or newer models.


The GST is calculated on the total:

  • Purchase amount of your vehicle i.e. the vehicle’s cost. If it is in a foreign currency then it must be converted to NZD using NZ Customs set Rates of Exchange. The rates are set every two weeks –https://www.customs.govt.nz/business/import/customs-exchange-rates/
  • Plus your international shipping cost – which we offer to you as a package that can be Door to Door.
  • Plus any transport insurance you take. If you would like a quote for insurance, please state this in your query and we can organise that for you.
  • Plus any Duty.

Vehicle Cost + Freight Cost + Insurance + Any Duty = Taxable Amount

Taxable Amount x 0.15 = Total Amount of GST to pay


There is no Duty to be paid on standard passenger vehicles (no more than 10 people including the driver). But, there is a 10% Duty on Motorhomes and a 5% Duty on Caravans.


NZ Customs has a GST Exemption in place if certain criteria are met. However, very few meet the criteria. Therefore, you should always assume you must pay the GST when considering the option to import your vehicle.


You can view the most up-to-date criteria with this link to the NZ Customs page – https://www.customs.govt.nz/personal/duty-and-gst/duty-and-allowances/

Roll On / Roll Off (RO/RO) vessels are purpose-built for car shipping. The Ro/Ro transport vessel acts as a large carpark, with many levels. This is common practice for the wholesale new and used car industries. The vehicle gets taken to the Port of Loading and loaded onto the vessel by stevedores. From there, the vessel will make its way to NZ shores. This takes anything between a week to a month, depending on its origin.


Our team will provide you with sailing and arrival dates from the various shipping schedules.


Container shipping adds more security for your vehicle. Especially for classic cars. You may also add extra items in the container. For example, some use this service when they are relocating to NZ. Your vehicle will be packed at a local packing facility and loaded into either a 20ft or 40ft container. Then, transported to the Port of Loading. Once the container arrives, it will be taken to one of our chosen unpack facilities.


For both RORO and Container shipments, your vehicle will undergo inspections from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), Identification Verification Services (IVS) and NZ Customs. MPI ensures the biosecurity of NZ. For example, if your vehicle has any dirt, leaves or insects, they will require it to be cleaned. IVS inspect and enter your vehicles details into NZTA so that it may be complied here in NZ. For RORO shipments, this will all take place on the Port of Arrival and for Container shipments, at the unpack facility.


We organise this all for you as part of our freight forwarding services and keep you in the loop.

Yes, you can!

You may be relocating and wanting to bring your car with you or want to send a vehicle to a family member. As an international agent, we will be able to take you step by step through the shipping process.


As with anything entering or leaving NZ, there are standard Customs procedures which will be the same for the receiving country. Every country will have different regulations for vehicle shipping and registration. Once we receive your enquiry, we will be able to find out what is required. We are able to do so very quickly through our global freight network – CGLI.


A couple of things to note when getting ready to ship. The car must have less than a quarter tank of fuel as well as have no items left inside. If you would like to have Personal Effects inside during the shipping process, let us know. We will discuss the best course of action.


Your vehicle must also be free of any soil or contaminants prior to export to another country. Therefore, it would be best to get the interior and exterior cleaned thoroughly.


Generally speaking, families on the move enquire the most about exporting their vehicle from NZ. However, we cater to all sorts of enquiries. From car enthusiasts, to customers sourcing EVs.


We export to several countries around the globe via RO/RO and/or Container shipments. Let us know if you have any questions. We would be more than happy to draw up a quote for you.

Our Work


We provide specialist importing and exporting services helping you transport anything from cars, motorbikes, boats,
motor-homes and RVs to heavy machinery.

300 +
Monthly Vehicles Shipped
1 +
Monthly Sailings
Driven Employees
1 +
Years Of Experience

Contact Us

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