Exporting: Transporting Goods Overseas
A quick introduction to finding and choosing the best mode of transport for your goods when selling overseas
Getting international transport right can be complicated and depends on the agreement you have with your customer or supplier.
Your obligations should be clearly set out in a written contract using Incoterms – standard trade terms which state who is responsible for transporting goods, insuring the goods during transportation, paying duties and customs clearance.
The best mode of transport for your goods will depend on the type of goods and how quickly they need to be delivered. You may need more than one mode, for example, sending goods by lorry to a port in the UK and then by ship overseas. In all instances, the goods will need suitable packaging and labelling for transportation.
You should clarify in advance who will be responsible for UK customs procedures, for freight and insurance, and for customs clearance in the customer’s country – and use the correct Incoterms to describe this in the quotation and written contract.
Most companies use a specialist freight forwarder to handle transport. Confirm exactly what they will do and whether they can handle all documentation and other procedures.
Look for a forwarder who exports regularly to that destination.
They can ‘consolidate’ your goods with other consignments in a single container to reduce costs.
Export Case Study – Chokolit
Young British entrepreneur Louis Barnett used services from UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) to help sell his award-winning luxury chocolate brand, Chokolit, overseas.
After participating in UKTI’s Passport to Export programme, Chokolit appointed a distributor in Mexico, who has since introduced the company’s products into the country’s biggest department store.
“UKTI has been a great support to us as we develop our business internationally,” says Barnett. “It was instrumental in putting the Mexico deal together, advising and helping us with back-end details and regulatory matters, including getting our products through Customs. This kind of after-care made all the difference.”
“We have also worked with UKTI to get our products sold in Spain, Hungary and 12 States in the US, and are currently in discussions with China. By the end of 2011, we expect that 90 per cent of our revenue will come from export.”