Calculating Cost for International Sending

The cost to send an item overseas by international courier is comprised of several factors, some of which even vary from country to country. 

If you have an item ready to send and want a quote right away, contact us by emailing or phoning 0800 655 010 and we can quickly work it out for you. 

But if you’d like to understand more about how the price is determined, or if you have a price list and want to calculate the cost for yourself here is a step-by-step guide to help you through the process. 


International courier service cost consists of 3 parts:

  1. Base price
    • The base cost to send a piece of international freight is calculated from the weight of the item at the relevant zone rate. Freight price ($) = Weight (kg) x zone rate ($). 
  2. Additional services
    • Optional extras like faster delivery times and coverage in case of loss or damage.
  3. Fuel surcharge
    • An adjustable percentage of fuel costs to help offset global fuel fluctuations and vary from month to month.

Base price

How the zone rate is determined 

The following is the process used to identify what zone rate applies for the item you want to courier internationally. 

  1. Are you wanting to export (send from New Zealand to another country) or import* (bring from another country into New Zealand) an item? 
  2. Which country do you want to export to, or import from? 
    • Not all countries that we offer export services to are able to be imported from.  
  3. How quickly do you want it to be delivered?
    • Express – faster delivery, higher cost 
    • Economy – slower delivery, lower cost
      • Economy service is not available to all countries, and for documents. 
    • Please note that the time it takes to complete a delivery (transit time) depends on which country you are sending to/receiving from, not all countries have the same transit time to/from New Zealand. 
  4. Is the item to be sent classified as a ‘document’ or ‘non-document’? 

Calculating weight 

Your item’s volumetric weight may be different from its actual weight – and charges are based on whichever is the greater of the two. 

Volumetric weight is calculated using this formula: 

Length (cm) x Width (cm) x Height (cm) ÷ 5000 = Volumetric weight (kg)

e.g. 30 (L) x 30 (W) x 50 (H÷ 5000 = 9kg 

If the actual weight of the item was 7.5kg, then the above volumetric weight of 9kg would be used to calculate the cost. 

If the actual weight of the item was 15kg, then the cost would be calculated using the actual weight of 15kg because it is greater than the 9kg volumetric weight.

Additional Services

We have a range of additional services to fit specific requirements, they fall into these three general categories.

Special services

If you have time-sensitive, large, heavy, hazardous or unusual shipments, we can arrange and tailor-make a special service just for you.

Priority service

A Priority Service can ensure your consignment receives priority handling throughout its journey and automatic confirmation of delivery. This service is available on all International Express and International Economy services for an additional cost and includes Enhanced Liability Cover up to $1,000.

Enhanced liability cover

For extra protection of your valuable goods, additional cover is available on any international service and is a very economic option. While we will take the utmost care of any items you send with us, we do recommend you opt for this extra assurance.

Fuel surcharge 

Fuel costs are understandably one of the most significant and variable cost components of our business. The Variable Fuel Factor (VFF) was introduced for the purpose of recovering the increased costs in fuel. 

The International VFF for a specific month is based on the average U.S. Gulf Coast kerosene-type jet fuel (USGC Price) in US$ per gallon from two months earlier. 

Final price is calculated by using this formula:

Total Freight Price = Freight Price + (Freight Price x VFF) 

e.g. if base price = $100, and the VFF figure for the month was 3.50%

Base price    +    (base price x VFF)    =    Total price

$100.00        +    ($100.00 x 3.50%)    =    $103.50

                                                    VFF      =    $3.50

As you can see there is a bit to take into consideration with sending items overseas, but we are here to help. We can quickly produce a quote for you or are happy to walk you through the process and explain everything in more detail, contact our dedicated international helpdesk by completing our online enquiry form, emailing or phoning 0800 655 010.

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