Transitional & containment facilities

Goods, sea containers and air containers arriving in New Zealand must first go to a facility approved by MPI. The type of facility depends on what you are importing. Find out which type of facility you need.

Transitional, containment or quarantine facility?

If you are importing goods – especially plants, animals, and related products – they need to first go through a transitional or containment facility and may need to be quarantined.

Transitional facilities

Transitional facilities are approved by MPI to receive containers and goods that may pose a biosecurity risk. Goods or containers may need to be inspected or treated at the facility before they can be 'cleared' for entry into New Zealand.

Every transitional facility has to have an MPI-approved transitional facility operator and if receiving containers, an accredited person available (who may also be the operator) who has been approved by MPI.

Although all transitional facility applications are considered, MPI is unlikely to approve an application for a new transitional facility if the applicant will receive less than 10 containers a year. However, special requirements will be taken into consideration (for example, if you're importing equipment that requires specialised handling or specialised gear to unload a container).

Transitional facilities can hold, inspect, treat, identify, or destroy and dispose of un-cleared risk goods.

Types of goods that need to go to transitional facilities include:

  • agricultural chemicals and veterinary medicines
  • animals and animal products
  • biologicals
  • food products
  • plants and plant products
  • other organisms
  • used machinery or vehicles
  • wood and wood products. 

An import health standard (IHS) will tell you what you need to do to import your specific commodity.

Containment facilities

Containment facilities are places approved for holding organisms that should not become established in New Zealand. For example, zoos are containment facilities. Some laboratories are also containment facilities because they import microorganisms for testing, which are never allowed general release into New Zealand.

Post-entry quarantine facilities

Post-entry quarantine (PEQ) facilities are places that hold plants that could have pests or unwanted organisms. Plants are held in PEQ until they are assessed and a biosecurity clearance is granted.

*please note this content is taken from

Quarantine Declaration Information

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