Five Things You Need to Know if Importing Goods to the UK for the First Time

Importing goods to the UK can be a bit of a daunting prospect. Especially since Brexit. Procedures and requirements have changed. There’s more paperwork and considerations to handle. And when you approach any cross-border transaction for the first time, it can seem full of hurdles and headaches.

With this blog, we want to smooth the way a little. Giving you the information you need to take some of the stress out of your first importing enterprise.

Sending Freight to the UK: What You Need to Know

Choose your freight provider wisely

Selecting a freighter to work with involves a number of factors. Cost, of course. But you also need to consider the services they offer. Their experience in that area. Their reputation. The security protocols the company has in place. The transport methods they provide. And whether they have the flexibility and scalability to support your changing needs.

Understand the costs involved

All freight movement carries additional costs beyond the service fee. Good logistics companies are upfront about VAT, and other supplementary expenses. But not every provider will be that open. And it’s a good idea to understand exactly what cost each transaction will carry before signing on any dotted lines. And don’t forget that there will be other fees involved in your venture, including duty and other taxes.

Prepare for customs

All goods moved either to or from the UK require the completion of a C88 form, commonly known as the Single Administrative Document (SAD). You’ll need to know the relevant HS code assigned to your commodity group. And you’ll need an EORI number. Not to mention a bill of lading, and a commercial invoice from your supplier. If you find yourself feeling a bit bogged down, it can be worth asking your freight forwarder for help.

Be aware of transportation times – and factor in delays

Each freight service, from express to cross-trade, comes with its own time limitations. And they are all subject to external variables. Be that extreme weather conditions, or customs strikes. While a good freight forwarder will work hard to ensure that deadlines are met, it’s always a good idea to factor in a little wriggle room when drawing up contracts. And to plan your schedule with time to spare. So, book ahead, and plan wisely. And make sure that this planning involves insurance.

Prepare for your delivery

OK, so you’ve ordered your goods. You’ve planned your delivery. But what are you going to do with your goods when they arrive? Do you have the relevant equipment to unload them, or do you need to book a carrier with a forklift service incorporated? Where are you going to store your goods? And will there be anyone on site to sign for your consignment and direct proceedings when it arrives? These all sound like obvious questions. But you’d be surprised by the number of people who don’t factor them into their plans.

Importing goods to the UK can be a stressful experience for newcomers. But knowing upfront what is required of you, what questions to ask, and who to work with, can make the process so much easier. Hopefully, this little blog has helped!


Are you looking for a reliable freight forwarder to transport goods between the UK and Europe? Find out how Plexus Freight can help.  


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