Importing Goods from India to the UK

India is an increasingly important trading partner for the UK. And the source of a wide array of imported goods – from rice to medicaments, to refined petroleum. Production levels are high, and there is a good bilateral relationship between India and the UK. So, if you find a product that could fill a gap in the UK market, India can be a great country to work with. You just have to manage the logistics.

5 Tips for Importing Goods from India to the UK

Look into licensing

Depending upon the goods you are working with, you may require a license to import from India to the UK. So, this is usually the first thing you should look into before you begin making freight arrangements. In most cases, a license will only be needed if you are dealing with potentially dangerous goods – chemicals, medicines, foods, or animal products, for example. But It’s always better to be safe and to check the legal requirements before you begin.

Understand the paperwork

As with all importing operations, there’s a fair amount of administration related to India-UK imports. Understanding what is required can help you to be prepared, and to ensure that your operations run as smoothly as possible. So, you’ll need to:

  • Apply for an Economic Operators Registration and Identification number (EORI number)
  • Conduct background checks on your potential supplier[s] to ensure that they are permitted to export to the UK.
  • Source the commodity code for the relevant goods.
  • Check the terms of your license if you need one.
  • Calculate the value of your goods for duty and VAT.
  • Find out the customs regulations related to the goods you are importing and complete the relevant paperwork, including customs declaration.
  • Ensure that you have all necessary paperwork relating to each consignment, including: Commercial invoice, certificates of origin, relevant licenses and certificates, the customs Export or Transit Accompanying Document (EAD), and your customs safety and security declaration.

Find a reputable freight forwarder

Working with a freight forwarder can help alleviate many of the stresses of importing goods to the UK. Partly because they can help you to manage much of the admin. And partly because it frees you from the difficulties of managing freight where you don’t have boots on the ground. A freight forwarder with a strong logistics network will have the knowledge and relationships to ensure that your goods remain safe, secure, and are carefully handled.

Decide on your mode of transport

Depending on the types of goods you are importing, you are most likely to choose either sea freight or air freight from India. Sea freight is habitually used for large volumes of low-cost, non-urgent goods. It will typically take in the region of 21 days from port to port. While air freight can take as little as 24 hours, depending upon the type of goods and the availability of flights. While air freight is more expensive, it is viewed as a safer – as well as faster – option for higher value goods and smaller shipments. Air freight is also a popular choice for more perishable goods.

Think about packaging

Your packaging is one of the most important elements of secure freight management. While robust packaging can add to the weight of your shipment – and therefore cost. If you scrimp on packaging, with the best will in the world, your goods may not survive the journey. Investing in proper packaging is usually a sensible and cost-effective precaution.

India can be an incredibly useful market for UK importers. Although there is, as yet, no free trade agreement in place, there is an acknowledged ‘Enhanced Trade Partnership’. And this demonstrates a willingness to increase business between our two countries. Which should help to ensure that your importing experience is as smooth as possible – as long as you follow the recommended processes.

Get in touch with Plexus Freight to discuss your importing and exporting needs.

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