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Split shipments

Split shipment is a provision that may allow multiple shipments to be entered under the tariff classification that would apply if the goods had been imported as a single shipment.


  • An entire production line is imported into New Zealand, but it is not practical to arrive as a single shipment (eg, the size and scale of production line is simply too large and has to be shipped in pieces across multiple vessels).
  • The importer requests Customs to allow that all the separate pieces of the production line be classified under the code that would relate to the complete production and not classify each consignment based on the specific components that crossed the border at that specific time.
  • Customs considers the request (if relevant, it is confirmed what the classification of the production line would be) and then grants the split shipment approval and any relevant conditions are set.
  • The production line is imported across five separate importations and for each of the five import entries the same classification is used for the goods.
  • Once all the pieces of production line have been imported, then confirmation is given to Customs that all relevant costs/expenses have been accounted for, or if a reconciliation is required. At times, the individual invoices that are generated to aid the clearances will not entirely match up with the complete invoice for the project, or there might have only been a single invoice that needed to be accounted for across all the entries.

How to request a split shipment approval

Contact Trade Assurance ( to request approval to allow your goods to be imported as a split shipment and provide the following information:

  • What are the goods
  • What is the classification
  • What is the reason for needing split shipment
  • What is the expected timeframe
  • Number of shipments
  • Sales agreements

Confirming the classification of the goods

You may be requested to confirm the classification of the goods before Customs approves the split shipment. At times, the classification requires considering multiple headings or an interpretation of a Legal Note (for example, Legal Note 4 to Section XVI applies when a machine consists of separate components that contribute together to a clearly defined function that is covered by a heading in Chapter 84 or 85). Where the classification needs to be confirmed, that can be achieved by requesting a classification ruling from the Customs Valuation, Origin and Classification section (VOC).

If the approval for split shipment is granted, then you will need to advise your Customs Broker that when submitting the import entries the Broker needs to:

  • Use the tariff classification identified for the goods.
  • Account for any conditions that had been set for the approval.
  • Enter the other information code ‘SPL’ and approval number on each import entry of the Split Shipment.

Once the goods have been imported, you will need to confirm that all the different consignments have been declared as split shipment and whether all the costs have been accounted for or whether a reconciliation is required.