china trade

Top 10 Things to Know When Importing from the UK to China

China is now the UK’s eighth largest export market. In 2017, the UK sold nearly £17 billion worth of goods and services and that figure is only going to increase.

As China’s economy grows and its middle class consumer base expands, the country will be an even more important market for the UK. For companies shipping goods to China, it can be a complex process with many things to consider. Whether you’re an experienced trading partner or expanding your business, these are the top tips to consider when exporting to China.

 

  1. Research Shipping Methods – When deciding to ship goods, companies need to consider whether they will handle the logistics themselves or enlist the services of a company to do it on their behalf.

 

  1. Transport Options – Deciding on the mode of transport that you choose to ship your items will depend on several factors; what your goods are, how much time you have, what sort of budget you have and whether you need to take special requirements into consideration.

 

  1. Sea Freight Benefits – If you are looking to ship bulky items of a high weight, sea freight is one of the cheapest options for you. If you are looking for advise on what the best option of transport would be for you, a freight forward company would be the best people to talk to.

 

  1. Cost – Before you ship your goods, it is important to know upfront the cost to do this. There are lot of potential hidden costs that you may not be aware of if you are not experienced in exporting goods overseas. Surprise costs may prevent your goods from arriving at its final destination and companies can potentially lose a lot of money.

 

  1. Declaring Goods – When importing goods from overseas, all companies must declare them with HMRC. This is done by completing a C88 form.

 

  1. Customs Charges – It is important for companies to familiarise themselves with UK Duty and VAT charges when importing goods into the UK. It is their responsibility to check and pay the correct charges for their goods. Any discrepancy could lead to delays and penalty fees which could be extremely detrimental.

 

  1. Shipping Terms – To avoid confusion, it is important for companies to understand basic shipping terms when transporting goods overseas. The following terms outline of the suppliers and buyers:

 

  • FOB (Free on Board) – Where the supplier pays all the charges at the the shipment’s country of origin which effectively makes it ‘free’ for the buyer to have goods transported by ship.

 

  • EXW (Ex-Works) – Where the buyer is responsible for all charges along the journey of the shipment.

 

  • CIF (Cost, Insurance and Freight) – Where the supplier pays all costs to get the shipment to the UK. Once it is in port the shipment then becomes the Buyer’s responsibility.

 

  1. Commodity Codes – When trading with China, companies must understand and find the correct commodity code. This is a 10 digit code that is required on all imports coming from outside the European Union.

 

  1. Import Licence – Depending on what you are importing, companies may be required to hold an import licence. Companies need to be familiar on what goods are restricted or banned. There are certain import controls on goods such as food, textiles and firearms.

 

  1. Consider a Freight Forwarder – Shipping to and from China is a complex process that has many steps. A freight forwarding company will not only be able to take you through the process, they’d be able to handle all documentation and have local knowledge to ensure that your shipment gets to its final destination smoothly.

 

Why do Businesses Use Freight Forwarders?

Freight forwarders are seen as a necessary extension to many businesses. Mistakes made in shipping processes can be costly and delay goods getting to the places they need to go.

The wealth of knowledge and expertise they have on the process of importing and exporting is invaluable to companies and saves them both time and money. Even large Beneficial Cargo Owners such as Marks and Spencer work with freight forwarders in parts of their businesses. They are seen as a necessity and even regarded to some as an outsourced shipping department.

 

What Can you Expect from a Freight Forwarder?

Supreme Freight will listen to the shipping needs of your business and be able to tailor those to a logistically sound plan at every step of the way. From your budget and time requirements they will be able to recommend you the best method of transportation, whether by road, air or sea. As well as this a Freight Forwarder will be able to make recommendations on:

  • Customs Clearance– From origin to destination, forwarders should be able to deal with all customs processes. This includes handling all paperwork and fees on your company’s behalf.
  • Shipping Documentation– Forwarders should be able to deal with all shipping documentation including Bills of Lading, Certificates of Origin, letters of credit or any documents required by banks before payment is released.
  • Insurance – A reputable freight forwarder will be able to recommend insurance services that will cover a shipment for loss or damage.
  • Logistics and Supply-Chain Management – Which can include but is not limited to fulfilment, customs consultancy and contract logistics services.

If you are interested in importing goods to the UK from China, please get in touch.

 

 

 

Freight Forwarder

What Questions Should You Ask when Looking for a Freight Forwarder?

Supreme Freight assist companies in the process of transporting goods from one place to another. We use the most cost-effective methods with a suitable shipping company to ensure that every point of the journey goes smoothly.

Supreme Freight contract with several companies covering sea, air or road to transport goods on behalf of our clients. In this article we have put together some questions we feel all customers should ask when speaking with freight forwarders.

The Right Questions to Ask

With the freight forwarding Industry growing at an increasing rate, there is a lot of options for businesses to choose from. Many of these options will have varying experience levels and offer different services. It is important for companies to consider exactly what it is they want their freight forwarding company to do for them and to trust that this will be done correctly. With this in mind, it may benefit businesses to find out the following information when looking for a reputable freight forwarder:

  • Accreditation – Trustworthy firms normally belong to at least one trade association such as the British International Freight Association (BIFA). Members of BIFA trade to a collective set of trading standards that are backed by the insurance sector. Going with a company that is a member of one of these trade associations will give you peace of mind that your goods will be in the right hands.
  • Clarification of Services Offered – Different shipments require different services. It is important that you clarify with your potential freight forwarder that your goods will be transported the way that you require them to be. If you are unsure of the services that you will need it may be helpful to ask other businesses for advice. A good freight forwarder will give you a run down of the services that they offer and will be able to advise on the best course of action for your shipment.
  • Experience – Freight forwarding is a complicated and intricate business. Experience in the industry is key to ensure that everything runs smoothly. It may be even more pertinent to ask about experience if you are transporting cargo that requires additional needs such as specialist transport.
  • Shipping Process – A good freight forwarder should give you a run down of their shipping process with a clear explanation of how your shipment will reach its final destination, costs and transport plans.
  • Insurance – Checking a freight forwarder’s insurance policy is imperative. It is important to ensure that your goods will be insured for all of their journey, particularly if they are of high value.
  • Paperwork – It is important to know upfront what is expected of you and what the freight forwarder will handle in terms of paperwork, particularly with regards to customs. Mistakes with customs paperwork can lead to long and expensive delays.
  • Shipping Network – Good freight forwarding companies will have an extensive shipping network. An extensive network means good relationships with partners and demonstrates that they have local expertise in the places that you want to ship to. It is important to check that your destination is a place that they cover.

What are the Benefits of using a Freight Forwarder?

The main benefits of a freight forwarder include:

  • The transportation of goods can be a logistical nightmare especially when you are dealing with importing or exporting to countries that you have not dealt with before. Different countries have different customs regulations, shipping restrictions and fees and a mistake could not only be costly in terms of fines but could delay your shipment reaching its destination and have a dramatic impact on your business. It’s important that companies get this right first time and the only way to do that is working with somebody that has had previous experience with the logistical side. Not only will this save you a lot of time, freight forwarders provide you with the peace of mind that your shipments will arrive in the desired place, in the desired time in a method that meets your needs and is cost-effective.
  • Freight forwarders that have a lot of experience working with the same shipping companies on an international level are going to have a lot more leverage over buying costs than a company that they have never heard of using them for the first time. There is always a deal to be had and shipping companies know that if they strike a deal with a freight forwarder there’s a potential for a lot more business to come their way.
  • With the logistical side of shipping being taken care of externally, business owners have the time to focus their time and efforts on other parts of the business that require their attention. If importing and exporting goods is something that is happening quite regularly this could result in a significant increase in productivity.
  • As a company that deals with freight services all the time, freight forwarders are going to have gained a lot of contacts and experience that will be invaluable to companies with different needs. This knowledge and expertise will ensure that freight forwarders will be able to tailor their services to your specific requirements.
  • Working with a freight forwarder can open opportunities to businesses they didn’t know were possible. With extensive knowledge of the different markets internationally, it could see your business being taken to places you had only dreamed of.

Feel free to get in touch with any questions, or if you need some assistance with freight forwarding.