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Q & As

Additional information for businesses with essential/non-essential goods.

I need to move cargo off the wharf, how do I know if my business is an approved essential service?

Both the Ministry of Transport and MBIE have information on essential services in the transport and logistics sector - check out their websites:

I am a transport / logistics operator – how do I apply to Customs for permission to operate as an Essential Service?

Email your supporting information – what you’re doing, why and where, to

Do I need permission to move non-essential goods that are blocking the supply chain?

Absolutely – permission must be given by Customs and can be requested by emailing

Why do I need to be approved by Customs?

This is to cover industry and operators in the event they are stopped under the Health Act, or other powers, by Police or compliance agencies. Take note that approval to move non-essential goods is only to storage – they are not to be delivered to customers.

I am a licensed CCA/ATF operator. Do I need to have permission to get my cargo off the port or airport?

If you are not receiving essential goods via an approved essential service operator, then the answer is yes.

I need to move cargo off the wharf, and my CCA is full – what can I do?

Customs and MPI may issue special permits to remove goods from ports or licensed facilities, directly to temporarily approved sites. Email your enquiries to

I am an importer of essential goods, but I don’t have a CCA for my goods to be moved to – what should I do?

If your goods are essential, they will be cleared by Customs and MPI for subsequent storage and/or distribution. As they are no longer subject to Customs’ control, they do not need to be in a CCA.

Is the permission by each container – or for each forwarder/broker – like a collectors permit?

Once approval is given to the operator, it is for all containers from any port, as long as it goes to a CCA/ATF.

How long will the turn-around be from application to permission granted?

The same day – if not the day after (depending on workloads). Customs have a system in place to deal with these enquiries.

Can the containers only go to CCA – or can they also go to ATF, if the ATF is not a CCA?

Currently Customs is approving only CCAs, including those with ATF status. Case by case approval could be sought for facilities licensed only as an ATF – subject to conditions.

Will containers undergo biosecurity screening?

MPI will continue to screen inbound cargo/goods for biosecurity risk and will issue directions for biosecurity clearance as per their regular clearance processes for inbound goods.

Can containers be devanned on arrival at a CCA?

Yes, shipping containers may be devanned to assist in storage requirements and reduce hireage costs, however the CCA must also be licensed as an ATF.