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Thread: Must boxes be professionally packed? Does NZ customs regulate this?

  1. #1
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    Question Must boxes be professionally packed? Does NZ customs regulate this?

    So, I thought that packing your own boxes was an option, as long as you don't care about making insurance claims on anything inside them (it's hard to prove breakage is due to shipping company's negligence if they didn't do the packing).

    However, the most competent-seeming moving company I've talked to says that some countries don't like self-packed shipments. She says regulations vary so much from country to country, and she would check with her international forwarder (I had actually hired her to quote a local move into a storage facility, but ended up letting her quote the eventual move to NZ as well). Later she got back to me and said "New Zealand does not allow packed by owner cartons."

    This would sound like she's just trying to pad her estimate, but that wasn't the vibe I got at all. She says we could even pack non-fragile things ourselves and leave the boxes open for them to examine and tape up, to save time and money.

    Any thoughts? What was your moving experience like?

  2. #2
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    I have NEVER seen any mention of self-packed items not being allowed. Also, there are various documentary programmes about e.g. trained sniffer dogs, and customs officials both at the airports and at cargo entry ports, and on there, you can SEE a huge variety of packaging in use, without any adverse comment from the officials. However pleasant the woman, I think your suspicion is correct, and the more involvement the company has, the more they would charge, and appear justified.

    Here http://www.customs.govt.nz/inprivate...s/default.aspx is the NZ customs web page, so you can have a look for yourself (though I'm sure you won't find anything), and at the bottom left there is a 'contact us' listing, so you can ask them anything you have doubts about.

    And here is an information page about preparing to move overseas, with helpful general remarks. http://www.expats.org.uk/features/ewepack1.html

  3. #3
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    Thanks so much!

  4. #4
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    It's been almost 13 years since we moved, but we packed all of our household items that weren't china/ g;asses/ furniture ourselves and there was absolutely no problem with that.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Juniper View Post
    So, I thought that packing your own boxes was an option, as long as you don't care about making insurance claims on anything inside them (it's hard to prove breakage is due to shipping company's negligence if they didn't do the packing).

    However, the most competent-seeming moving company I've talked to says that some countries don't like self-packed shipments. She says regulations vary so much from country to country, and she would check with her international forwarder (I had actually hired her to quote a local move into a storage facility, but ended up letting her quote the eventual move to NZ as well). Later she got back to me and said "New Zealand does not allow packed by owner cartons."

    This would sound like she's just trying to pad her estimate, but that wasn't the vibe I got at all. She says we could even pack non-fragile things ourselves and leave the boxes open for them to examine and tape up, to save time and money.

    Any thoughts? What was your moving experience like?
    ask her to provide the official source for her statement?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisMwn View Post
    ask her to provide the official source for her statement?
    Here's what my local mover got back from her international forwarder, for what it's worth: (note that PBO stands for packed by owner)

    "PBO’s raise a huge flag with USA customs as well as New Zealand customs. This being said they can ship PBO’S but they need to be aware of the risk. The cost that go with customs examinations are normally more than it would cost for a movers to pack their goods.
    So yes, they can ship PBO’s but they will have to provide their own detailed inventory and of course as with any shipment any customs exam fees will be for the shippers account."

  7. #7
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    We partially packed some of the items and let the movers to tape & label them. We had no qualms with customs and luckily there was no MPI inspection as well.

  8. #8
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    There again... says someone who is in the business, NOT the border officials.

    Customs and bio-security don't decide to examine large numbers of things on a whim - it would be for a reason. If someone's belongings have been carefully and logically packed, with detailed inventories supplied for each box or bundle, this may give less reason. If they open one item that looks as if it could need attention, for instance one headed 'kitchen goods' (may contain food items) or 'garden furniture' (needs to be checked for dirt that could carry microbes or viable seeds, insects or their eggs, etc.), and find that the labelling is correct and everything has been cleaned (smells of disinfectant) and checked before packing, they are more likely to trust the rest. If labelling is not detailed enough (e.g. 'miscellaneous' or 'contents of big cupboard' means nothing), or if a package turns out to contain items which might require inspection with others that don't (for instance, what is labelled as 'clothes' also has hiking boots (? mud cleaned off or not?) and storage boxes made of cane or woven grass (? treated to make sure they are not biologically viable? not being eaten away by insects?), then customs will be more likely to feel that they ought to disregard the labels and check a whole lot more.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by JandM View Post
    There again... says someone who is in the business, NOT the border officials.

    Customs and bio-security don't decide to examine large numbers of things on a whim - it would be for a reason. If someone's belongings have been carefully and logically packed, with detailed inventories supplied for each box or bundle, this may give less reason. If they open one item that looks as if it could need attention, for instance one headed 'kitchen goods' (may contain food items) or 'garden furniture' (needs to be checked for dirt that could carry microbes or viable seeds, insects or their eggs, etc.), and find that the labelling is correct and everything has been cleaned (smells of disinfectant) and checked before packing, they are more likely to trust the rest. If labelling is not detailed enough (e.g. 'miscellaneous' or 'contents of big cupboard' means nothing), or if a package turns out to contain items which might require inspection with others that don't (for instance, what is labelled as 'clothes' also has hiking boots (? mud cleaned off or not?) and storage boxes made of cane or woven grass (? treated to make sure they are not biologically viable? not being eaten away by insects?), then customs will be more likely to feel that they ought to disregard the labels and check a whole lot more.
    Yep, makes sense. I wish they wouldn't try to keep me from worrying my pretty head about the actual details

    Our stuff will be in storage for many months, hopefully it will still smell clean once it gets to NZ lol... Choosing a storage with pest control is top priority. I may go with an international shipper's warehouse, where everything is sealed up in liftvans (the industry word for giant wooden crates, I guess). The rates aren't any worse than self-storage around here, and I can just have them pack our container once we have a destination.

  10. #10
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    I packed all of my boxes myself and also loaded the container myself.

    I numbered each box and provided a detailed inventory of each box.
    I put things likely to be inspected in boxes together such as baskets and christmas decorations.
    I packed those boxes into the container last, with the bikes, prams, and wagons.

    Before they opened my container, they had a list of boxes they wanted to look at, which were the ones I had expected. I didn't need to unload the entire container for inspector.
    The MPI inspector looked at those boxes and wheeled items and because it all seemed in order, didn't need to see anything else. She left us to devan the container and load our moving van ourselves. It didn't take long.

    I did clean all of my furniture with pinesol. I left the lounge suite behind because it had too many nooks and crannies and not really worth it. She didn't end up inspecting any furniture.

    It's a lot of work on the front end but it saved us money.

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