It’s vital that the goods you have exported reach their destination intact with all the proper documentation to ensure there is no hold up at customs.

So what are your choices?

Land, air or sea?

Where your products are heading and the type of products you are exporting will usually determine the method by which they are transported.

Some destinations do not have accessible land routes and so air and/or water are the only choices. You must consider this when evaluating a country you are interested in exporting to. The more complex the journey from goods to destination the more expensive it will be with potentially a greater risk of goods being damaged in transit because they are being  transferred from one method of transport to another several times. This also increases the risk of loss. And the knock on effect is that your importer is likely to dispute your invoice.

There are advantages and disadvantages of transporting by air or water.

Shipping by water is usually the least expensive method of transport. However  it usually takes the longest time which is not ideal if the goods being exported are perishable or they are needed within a tight time frame to start marketing campaigns/meet an urgent demand. There are also additional costs associated with transport by water including costs for transporting goods to the dock. You should also be aware that if your agreement with your importer is based on payment of goods on receipt your cash flow could be seriously challenged.

Air is by far the fastest way to transport goods but there are the inevitable restrictions on size of the exported goods and weight which is why shipping is such a popular option.

Packing your goods

Goods destined for export overseas have to undergo a significant degree of handling; of being transferred from one destination to another. Handling is not always carried out with absolute precision and care especially when a ship is waiting and the goods have been delayed in arrival. The potential for goods to arrive damaged at their destination is a very real one. This makes packaging so important.  The packaging a business uses for internal distribution is not always sufficient for export and so advice should be sought.

  • Can the packaging be easily disposed of at the other end?

  • Does the weight of the packaging add to the cost of transportation?

  • How easy is it with rough handling to tear and expose/damage the goods?

Spend time getting the packaging absolutely right; robust, withstanding of heavy handling; protecting of the contents and sufficiently lightweight not to add to your bill.

Added to this is the labelling which must not only be fit for purpose it must comply with any regulations of the country to which the goods are being exported and the requirements of any special labelling that the goods being transported require.  Packaging goods intended for foreign ports also typically include markings indicating the height and weight of the packages and any additional handling instructions.

Export documentation

Goods can be held up for days, sometimes weeks if the documentation required to facilitate their smooth expedition through port is missing, inaccurate or incomplete

Documents required for the export of goods include the following:

  • Export License, Shipper’s Export Declaration (SED)

  • Commercial Invoice

  • Consular Invoice

  • Bill of Lading

  • Certificate of Origin

  • Export Packing List, Inspection Certificate

  • Insurance Certificate

  • Inland Bill of Lading

  • Dock Receipt & Shipper’s Instructions.

Please ask if you would like us to provide a detailed description of the purpose of each one of these documents at no charge.

It’s likely you will have questions that require answers tailored to your exact situation. Please get in touch if this is the case.

Our advice, expertise and experience are offered at no charge.

You can email us at helpme@theexporthub.com or call us on +44 (0)1279 437 662 or fill out the contact form.

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