Shipping is an important part of any ecommerce business, many businesses rely on efficient international or local freight forwarding services to ensure their products reach their intended destination safely and securely on time.
We’ve put this article together in order to help with some of the more commonly asked questions, or to highlight some points you may wish to raise with a potential service provider.
Freight forwarders coordinate the shipment of goods on your behalf, from one destination to another by means of various carriers such as sea, air, rail and road.
A freight forwarder will know the best routes to deliver your goods promptly to the chosen destination. They also have access to the best methods for moving big shipments. It is the job of the freight service to ensure that the shipment is delivered in the shortest possible time.
The provider can take ownership of the shipment of goods for your business, this means picking, packing and shipping goods to the desired destination. They also use their knowledge and expertise to take care of the customs process so you don’t have to.
Using a freight forwarder means that you can entrust experts to take off shipments and the often complex paperwork that goes with that. It also means that because you don’t have to sort the process in house, you will be able to concentrate efforts on other areas of your business.
There are generally 4 steps to the freight forwarding process, these are:
These steps may differ depending on the service agreed between you and your provider.
Some terminology you may come across:
The EORI (Economic Operator Registration and Identification) scheme is a European scheme introduced to improve security.
It requires each business looking to work in Europe to have a unique number which is then used by customs officials to track goods as they enter and move around Europe, including the UK.
Regional Express can provide an EORI number on your behalf - Register for an EORI number
The HTS (Harmonised Tariff Schedule of the United States) is the primary classification of goods used for declaring exports from the U.S. (as well as imports). Having the HTS number for the goods you’re looking to sell in the U.K. it establishes your rate of duty.
It is important that you know your HTS codes no matter what part of the world you are exporting or importing from. The HTS (Harmonized Tariff Code) is a code used by customs throughout the world to identify a product so they can decide the duty rate when entering the country. The first 4 numbers are universal and used in every country and this is the number we need to understand the product and declare this to customs. The last 4 numbers may change from country to country.
Customs Duty is a tax charged on importation of goods into the UK from outside Europe. It is charged as a percentage of the total value of the goods - that is the sterling equivalent of the price paid abroad.
To work out the percentage, each type of product is given an HTS Code. This tells you what the Customs Duty rate percentage is for that particular product. There are around 14,000 different classifications with the duty rate percentage for generally varying between Free and 12%
Excise Duty is a tax on certain goods such as alcohol and tobacco. When excise goods are sold in the UK the price paid includes this tax.
We hope you found this article helpful, if you have further questions one of our dedicated team would be happy to help you, simply get in touch on +44 (0)1794 516515.
You can also find some more FAQs here.