With the Brexit transition period now over and the UK in its own customs territory independent of the EU’s collective free-trade zone, all imports and exports to and from the UK are subject to added customs checks and additional inspections. Naturally, this means an increase in the amount of customs documentation needed when it comes to overseas trade.

For every cross-border shipment a business now makes, two customs clearances are required in order for goods to legally travel to and from the UK. If a UK-based business is exporting goods to Germany, for example, under the post-Brexit trade agreement, customs documents will be needed for both the UK export and the Germany import. With this in mind, UK companies that rely on international trade must ensure that before each shipment is sent, all customs documentation is in order and declarations are accurate. If this is not done, the amount of VAT and duties you will need to pay may be affected. This could also lead to unwanted penalty fines and even cargo being held-up in transit – an expensive and damaging mistake to make if your business deals in perishable goods or has tight delivery deadlines. 

Fortunately, our freight forwarding services can take the stress out of overseas shipping. We act as an expert intermediary between you and the various stages involved in long-distance shipping. We use experienced custom clearance agents to ensure your freight deliveries run as smoothly as possible, handling all of your customs paperwork throughout your shipment’s journey. We make sure that all VAT declarations and customs clearance documentation needed in the port of each country/trade zone your shipment travels through is in order too.

However, to enable us to act as your freight forwarders and deal with custom clearance on behalf, you will first need to provide our customs agents with a number of vital documents. To make this process as simple as possible, here’s a list of everything we need.

Commercial invoice

Simply put, a commercial invoice is a document that provides all the information needed to safely clear your goods through customs in your shipment’s final destination. It should be prepared by the business shipping the goods and will provide a basic description of the shipment – what it contains, how much it weighs, how it is packaged, if it contains hazardous materials, etc – as well as the name and address and contact details of both the buyer and the seller involved. Finally, details of specific delivery and payment terms should be listed. This information is then used to help assess final VAT charges and customs duties.

Our Staff

Our multilingual staff make international logistics a smooth, hassle-free process for our customers from start to finish. We’ll take care of everything from route planning to arranging full load or split air charter flights, or making bookings on scheduled flights. Our specialists can also provide advice on the full range of transport options available, and the best rates to suit your needs.

24/7 Support

Our offices are staffed 24/7, 365 days a year and we guarantee a rapid response to enquiries within 15 minutes of the first point of call. So rest assured we will answer your enquiry quickly day or night. Whatever your requirements, we’re here to keep your business moving around the clock.

Packing list

Providing more detailed information than the commercial invoice, an export packing list is required when transporting any goods overseas. This essential document itemises all goods contained in the boxes, drums, crates or cartons that make up an entire shipment. It should include details of individual weights and measurements for each item/package, unit quantities and relevant product or identity codes (if applicable). Details of dispatch methods used (road, rail, air or sea freight) and the country of origin and final destination should also be listed. We, along with any customs brokers involved in the shipment, will use the information provided on this list to accurately identify and account for your shipment. This also helps to speed up the customs clearance process both when exporting and importing.

We know that in all sectors, disruptions to the supply chain can have disastrous consequences. Our tailored services help to ensure this doesn’t happen.

Commodity codes and licences

Commodity codes, also known as tariffs, are unique sequences made up of six, eight or 10 numbers that are assigned to every different type of product type. Used in all countries across the globe, these codes determine the customs duties applicable for a specific item and any special requirements regarding their import into a certain country. This could include any national restrictions and/or prohibitions that may apply to the import, export or transit of a certain item and let us know if a specific export licence is required to ship your goods.

This is not only essential information we as your forwarder need to know, having these codes to hand from the get go, as well as any special export licences required, can really speed up the customs process.

Certificate of origin

A certificate of origin (CO) is a signed document that simply guarantees that the stated country of origin of any exported item(s) is accurate. In the UK, these documents are typically validated by a chamber of commerce. COOs are important because they detail where your goods were produced, manufactured or processed, and help our customs agents to identify which items qualify for no customs duty, and what the rates will look like for items that do require duties to be paid.

Incoterms

Published by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), International Commercial Terms, or Incoterms, are rules which set out the responsibilities of both buyers and sellers for the delivery of goods which are under contract and set to be shipped.  

Recognised as 3-letter trade terms, the Incoterm you choose describes in detail the practical arrangements for the shipment of goods and allocates specific obligations, costs and risk-share between the buyer and the seller at each stage of a shipment’s journey. This is key information we, as your freight forwarder, need to be aware of, and as such can offer advice on which Incoterms to agree to prior to shipping. Examples of common Incoterms include the following:

Delivered duty paid (DDP) trade terms

Stage of journeyRisk/cost owner
Seller’s factory (place of origin)Seller’s obligation 
Export formalities and feesSeller’s obligation 
Delivery at named port / terminalSeller’s obligation 
LoadingSeller’s obligation 
Freight on board and in transit Seller’s obligation 
UnloadingSeller’s obligation 
Delivered at destination port / terminalSeller’s obligation 
Onward journeySeller’s obligation 
Import formalities and duties Seller’s obligation 
Buyers warehouseBuyer’s obligation 

 

Delivered at Place (DAP) trade terms

Stage of journeyRisk/cost owner
Seller’s factory (place of origin)Seller’s obligation 
Export formalities and feesSeller’s obligation 
Delivery at named port / terminalSeller’s obligation 
LoadingSeller’s obligation 
Freight on board and in transit Seller’s obligation 
UnloadingSeller’s obligation 
Delivered at destination port / terminalSeller’s obligation 
Onward journeySeller’s obligation 
Import formalities and duties Buyer’s obligation 
Buyers warehouseBuyer’s obligation 

Delivered at Place Unloaded (DPU) trade terms

Stage of journeyRisk/cost owner
Seller’s factory (place of origin)Seller’s obligation 
Export formalities and feesSeller’s obligation 
Delivery at named port / terminalSeller’s obligation 
LoadingSeller’s obligation 
Freight on board and in transit Seller’s obligation 
UnloadingSeller’s obligation 
Delivered at destination port / terminalSeller’s obligation 
Onward journeyBuyer’s obligation 
Import formalities and duties Buyer’s obligation 
Buyers warehouseBuyer’s obligation 

Free carrier (FCA) trade terms

Stage of journeyRisk/cost owner
Seller’s factory (place of origin)Seller’s obligation 
Export formalities and feesSeller’s obligation 
Delivery at named port / terminalBuyer’s obligation 
LoadingBuyer’s obligation 
Freight on board and in transit Buyer’s obligation 
UnloadingBuyer’s obligation 
Delivered at destination port / terminalBuyer’s obligation 
Onward journeyBuyer’s obligation 
Import formalities and duties Buyer’s obligation 
Buyers warehouseBuyer’s obligation 

Contact us

To find out more about any of our services, or if you are concerned that changes to imports, exports and custom controls may impact what we can do for you, fill in the quick contact form below. A member of our dedicated staff will respond within 15 minutes of your enquiry.


Why Choose Freightline Carriers?

We are time-critical logistics specialists, providing air and road freight services. Freightline Carriers offers:

 

  • 24/7 Support
  • Multilingual Staff
  • Over 50 Years of Experience in Freight Forwarding
  • UK and European Air Freight Services
  • Warehousing Facilities
  • Full Logistic Packages
  • Real Time Monitoring At All Times
  • Experience Across Different Sectors

 

Contact our team on +44(0)1926 290 222 or at info@freightlinecarriers.co.uk.