In providing advice to our customers and answering a diverse range of questions over many years of experience we have decided to build an FAQ database to assist customers with the more popular enquiries or sticking points when it comes to international freight forwarding and logistics. We hope that our opinions provide more clarity on particular subjects or open further dialogue with Tri-Star to assist your needs.


My overseas supplier keeps demanding CIF terms of sale. How do I know whether this is the best option for my imports?

Proper scrutiny should be applied to terms of sale between ‘seller’ and ‘buyer’. Many suppliers will insist on ‘CIF’ terms at time of sale however as a NZ importer a comparison should be made between the cost and service implications of CIF compared with either ‘FOB’ or ‘FCA’ terms. We recommend that you ask your supplier for a breakdown of the freight and insurance cost component in their CIF quotation as this will allow you to compare with your own freight options. Note that on CIF terms you also have limited influence on the chosen transit or freight service arranged by your supplier until the shipment arrives to NZ. If timeframe is critical then you are likely to have more control with your own freight forwarder managing the freight component. Please see our INCO terms guide in ‘Resources’ tab of our website for distinction between terms. Tri-Star can assist you with this assessment to ensure you make the an informed decision.

Do I need to bother with Marine Insurance, what are the chances of my goods being damaged or lost in transit?

There is one clear recommendation and ‘yes’ Marine Insurance must be arranged for all shipments. The ‘MSC Rena’ grounding in Tauranga is a recent reminder of what can occur in transit irrespective of what freight forwarder or shipping line you use. Dependent on terms of sale the responsibility for marine coverage will sit with the seller or buyer, however make sure this is clear before a shipment is arranged. For regular shipments it would be more practical and cost effective to arrange a blanket insurance policy. Tri-Star can arrange coverage on your behalf if requested in writing before shipment at an additional cost.

How do I know I am paying the correct amount of Customs duty on import shipments?

This area is commonly overlooked by importers assuming that their current Customs Broker is applying the correct tariff classifications. All Customs Brokers are obliged to classify in accordance with regulations however if proper care is not taken you may face the consequences of your brokers inaccuracy or end up paying duty on goods with available concessions. Tri-Star conducts a tariff review on all new clients to ensure the accuracy of information provided to NZ Customs and that correct classification is made.

Can I consolidate my import shipments with more than one supplier?

It is worth assessing this opportunity to avoid paying the same incremental costs on multiple suppliers from the same origin. Each origin will have different export clearance regulations that may limit your ability to rationalise all costs however in many cases this is achievable provided shipping paperwork is processed correctly and import Customs & MAF standards are met. Some freight forwarders may take advantage of consigning separate shipments due to gains in incremental revenue however Tri-Star can provide the right advice based on your individual needs.

**Note: The above is offered as our guide to FAQ’s and we suggest you speak with a Tri-Star representative for more detailed advice based on your individual needs.