Using The Services Of A Freight Forwarder To Import Or Export Goods

Finance

  • Author Mark O'connell
  • Published April 2, 2020
  • Word count 725

When you are an importer of goods from abroad to be distributed and sold in the UK, you can either arrange it all yourself or use the services of a freight forwarder. A freight forwarder is simply an individual, or more often a company, that arranges for goods to be shipped from one place to another. The company doesn’t actually ship the goods itself but organises everything behind the scenes. And there is quite a lot that goes on behind the scenes.

The whole point is to ensure that the products that you need actually arrive at your warehouse, office, stockroom, or whatever, when they are supposed to and in perfect condition.

Many freight forwarders also act as customs brokers. The customs broker deals with commodity codes, and it is essential to get the right code, in order to ensure compliance with customs declarations and to pay the correct amount of import taxes and customs duties. If you use an incorrect commodity code, you could have your goods delayed or even seized by customs. You could also pay too much VAT or duty. The regulators won’t mind that, but if you finish up paying too little you could be subject to fines and penalties.

In fact, some items such as animals, plants, or anything that could be potentially hazardous, that is moved with the wrong commodity code, could find you breaking the law and you could be in serious trouble, even though it was without intent.

The freight forwarder takes charge of all the physical steps involved in moving your goods from point A to point B and this could include arranging transport overland from the supplier to a port or airport, preparing all the documents and licences required for shipment, and negotiating the booking of the cargo for transport by sea or air. The freight forwarder may also undertake the tracking of the goods in delivery, and set up insurance as required. It can also arrange for haulage from the port or airport to final delivery to your business or to any other location in the UK that you require.

Many of the above steps are not undertaken by the freight forwarder themselves, but the beauty is that they have the connections and experience to organise delivery of your goods to your final destination without any problems, which is what you obviously want. Whether you are importing something from China, Indonesia, the Caribbean, the US, or Timbuctoo, a freight forwarder will make the process simple and straightforward and ensure your goods arrive without any nasty surprises.

Yes, of course, you have to pay the freight forwarder’s fees, but it should make the process of importing goods a simple and easy matter. Of course, it works the other way around too, so if you are exporting goods it works in the same way, but simply in the opposite direction.

One of the most important factors is the insurance of the freight that you are importing or exporting. It’s a fact of life that accidents can and do happen. They may be few and far between, but if they happen to strike you, it can cost you a lot of money in the case of the goods being lost or damaged beyond repair, and being unable to supply your customers with goods that you have already sold to them. It could also do untold damage to your reputation.

Now you can actually buy freight insurance online, but this could have some issues if you don’t know the company with which you are dealing. You are better off using the services of a marine insurance broker who is used to handling the insurance side of goods in transit. There are a lot of different elements to this, and unless you are fully aware of what you are doing, you could come very unstuck.

Apart from any other considerations, every shipment of goods from one place to another is different and involves many different transactions, such as road transport, storage, shipping, air transport, more road transport, and so on, and you need to make certain that your goods are covered no matter what may happen on the way. This is why a marine insurance broker is best placed to help you find the insurance which covers everything you need at the lowest cost.

The Insurance Broker is a marine insurance broker that has been in business for 20 years and can provide you with the insurance that you need. You can even arrange all your freight insurance online with the company if you wish.

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