Chapter 5: Shipping Container from China to New Zealand
China’s major seaports are shown in the picture below.
Among the top 20 ports globally, in terms of the volume of cargo handled between 2011 and 2016, are 7 ports from mainland China.
These are Shanghai, Shenzhen, Ningbo-Zhoushan, Qingdao, Tianjin, Dalian, and Xiamen.
Container Shipping Companies from China to New Zealand
vii. Hamburg Sud
xiii. K Line
xvi. Wan Hai
xvii. Yang Ming
The top 7 shipping lines above control 65% of global shipping.
Like other transport modes, some of these shipping lines have formed alliances to increase their market share.
There’s the 2M alliance between Maersk and MSC. Hyundai has also joined, and Hamburg Sud acquired by Maersk.
The Ocean Alliance includes CMA-CGM, COSCO, OOCL, and Evergreen.
Hapag-Lloyd, Yang Ming, K-Line, Mol and UASC form what is simply known as the Alliance.
Sea Ports in New Zealand
New Zealand boasts more than 20 seaports but only nine have container terminals, and can thus handle large volumes of international cargo. These nine ports are the Ports of:
- Port Chalmers
The locations of all New Zealand ports are shown in the map below.
Sea Ports in New Zealand
· Ports of Auckland
Located in New Zealand’s most populous city, this port provides excellent shelter and can receive ships longer than 500 ft.
In 2016, it moved 910,000 TEU.
In addition to the container terminal, the port has a multipurpose cargo terminal and inland ports in three locations.
Additionally, it owns companies offering port services, such as Seafuels for marine fuel and North Tugz for pilotage.
Its container capacity was increased in 2017 with the construction of a 300m container wharf.
It has long been the leading port in New Zealand, due to its northern location and its proximity to New Zealand’s most populous city, Auckland.
A breakdown of its trade in 2016 is thus: 907,099 container TEU, 248,065 vehicles, and 5.79 million tonnes of breakbulk goods.
· Ports of Tauranga
Sandwiched between a mountain and an island, this natural port is well sheltered and accessible all year round.
It boasts of 15 berths that can handle liquids, general cargo containers.
It also has two cold storage facilities, and protected storage extending over 2.5 hectares.
This port snatched the crown from Auckland in 2016 when it overtook it for the first time in containers handled, moving about 950,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU).
This may be in part due to the fact that it’s the only New Zealand port capable of handling ships with a load capacity greater than 6,500 TEU.
In recent years the port has been sinking in $350 million expansion program, and it shows.
Two cranes, 13 more straddles have been added, and due to dredging, 9,500 TEU ships can dock in the port.
It is the largest port in the nation, with a bulk terminal, container terminal and an inland container depot located in South Auckland.
It’s handling of 954,006 containers TEU was a 12.1% rise from the previous year’s capacity.
Within the same time, it moved 20.1 million tonnes of breakbulk cargo.
· Port of Napier
Located in Hawke Bay, this port is the second most import-export hub for the North Island.
This is the fourth largest container terminal in New Zealand.
It’s also set to add a wharf.
It handled 257,380 container TEU in 2016, and a breakbulk total of 2.025 million tonnes.
It has ambitious plans, as it was revealed in 2016 that it seeks to increase its container processing capacity.
This would be to the point of making it move more containers than the ports of Nelson, New Plymouth, and Wellington combined.
· Centreport Wellington
Since the devastation caused by the 2016 earthquake (7.8 on the scale), this, the southernmost container terminal port in North Island, has been steadily improving its numbers.
It moved 131,645 container TEU in 2016.
It is New Zealand’s third largest port, even if Wellington is the administrative capital of the city.
Much of it is built on reclaimed land.
· Port Nelson
The northernmost port with a container terminal in South Island, Port Nelson is mostly geared towards exporting the vast riches of South Island-forestry, fish, wine among others.
It lacks a connecting railway. Nonetheless, it handled 96,497 container TEU, in addition to 2.7 million tonnes of cargo.
· Lyttleton Port of Christchurch
With South Island’s largest city, Christchurch, at its back, the port is the main gateway into New Zealand’s third largest city.
It can handle vehicle imports, bulk goods, containers, and specialist liquid imports.
It has two inland ports, one in Woolston, the other in Rolleston.
It has set in motion a plan to dredge its channel, which will allow larger ships access to its facilities.
It moved 361,812 container TEU in 2016, in addition to 678,871 tonnes of breakbulk.
· Primeport Timaru
This port is partially owned by the Port of Tauranga and handles imports of cement, fertilizer, petroleum, and stock feed.
It moved 84,402 container TEU in 2016, an 18.9% improvement in containers handled.
Besides containers, it moved 1.335 million tonnes of cargo.
· Port Chalmers
It’s located on Otago Harbour.
There have been expansion projects in the port, with dredging and extension of wharves either completed or underway.
In 2016, 172,400 container TEU were moved at the port.
LCL Container Shipping from China to New Zealand
LCL stands for less than container load, and as can be inferred, the goods you are importing don’t fill the container they are housed in.
This container could either be a 20 ft or 40 ft.
FCL vs. LCL Shipping
If you go for LCL shipping, then your cargo is housed in a container alongside other businesses/individuals’ cargo.
LCL shipping comes into force if your goods occupy a volume less than half of the container.
You are thus charged for the volume your goods occupy within the container.
The weight can also play a role in determining your cost.
Because your goods are placed with other goods, they are more susceptible to damage if improperly packaged.
All LCL goods are organized in pallets. Preferably these goods need to be housed within sturdy boxes.
If, however, the goods cannot fit in boxes, e.g. furniture, they must be properly wrapped in plastic before place in a palette.
Proper labeling is more critical for LCL shipments.
If there are fragile items, these should be marked prominently; if the goods shouldn’t be stacked, your freight forwarder should be notified.
Dangerous goods are never transported as LCL.
These would include radioactive material, weapons, combustible and explosive compounds.
The challenge with LCL shipments is that it may take time for the container to be fully loaded.
This may delay how fast you receive your goods.
FCL Container Shipping from China to New Zealand
An FCL is a full container load shipment. It is an option taken even without the container actually being fully loaded.
It just means you’ve hired the container exclusively for your goods.
Generally, if your cargo is to be shipped in 12 palettes or more in a 40 ft container, FCL is the option to take.
Ditto with 6 palettes and a 20 ft container.
Because the container is not subject to the troubles of consolidating cargo for different buyers/deconsolidating at the port of arrival, they are less likely to be damaged.
This is especially important when handling fragile cargo.
FCL’s other advantage is that, as a single package of cargo, it is easier to offer port to door services.
By and large, it is considered more cost-effective than LCL.
The process usually begins with receiving an empty container at the supplier’s locations.
The goods are then loaded into the container, following similar shipment preparations as used with LCL.
The loaded container is then returned to the yard for shipping.
FCL can be done in one of four methods.
The first is the Live Load FCL shipping.
The freight forwarder delivers an empty container to the supplier’s premises.
You may get say an hour or two of free loading time.
After this grace period, you are charged for every hour the container remains on your premises.
Alternatively, the freight forwarder will also package your cargo, at a cost.
Within hours, your cargo is containerized and loaded onboard, ready for its journey to New Zealand.
This option is often the most affordable.
Another option is to drop and pick FCL shipping. Sometimes your cargo can’t be loaded within hours; you need more time.
In this method, the freight forwarder leaves the container with the supplier for a few days.
When loaded, the container is then taken to port and onwards.
This method is convenient, but can also be costly, especially if the location is far from the port.
Alternatively, the supplier can deliver the goods to a bonded warehouse.
This is a private facility subject to oversight from customs officials, where goods for import/export can be processed without additional duty charges.
The cargo will then be loaded in containers and delivered to the ship.
Finally, you can opt for port delivery FCL shipping.
With this option, the shipper or freight forwarder handles all issues to the point of delivering the container to your port.
Shipping from China to New Zealand Transit Time
How long it takes for goods from China to land in New Zealand is dependent on a handful of factors.
The speed of the ship is a major factor.
Container ships can go at 25 knots and beyond, but most have taken a steaming approach.
This means they go at slower speeds, almost matching those of the great steamers of centuries gone by.
Consequently, they are likely to move at lower speeds of around 12 knots, because it saves a massive load of fuel and reduces emissions.
Other factors include whether the ship your goods are on will call on ports in other countries, and the condition of the seas.
Generally, though, you should give the shippers at least 20 days.
|Chinese Port||New Zealand Port||Distance||Time at 13 knots||Time at 22 knots
|Shanghai||Auckland||6252 nautical miles||20 days||11.8 days
|Wellington||6552 nm||21 days||12.4 days
|Napier||6617 nm||21.2 days||12.5 days
|Chalmers||6679 nm||21.4 days||12.6 days
|Timaru||6766 nm||21.7 days||12.8 days
|Lyttleton||6736 nm||21.6 days||12.8 days
|Nelson||6480 nm||20.8 days||12.3 days
|Tauranga||6349 nm||20.3 days||12 days
In the table above, the ship’s route went through the East China Sea, followed by the Philippine Sea, and made its way across the Ceram, Arafura, Coral, and Tasman Seas.
This allows the vessel to have ports to call close by in case of an emergency.
An alternative route would be to hit the open ocean after leaving Shanghai, with a route east of the Philippines and Papua New Guinea.
With this route, the distance between Shanghai and Tauranga is down to 5359 nm.