Relaxed Brexit Border Infrastructure Welcome but Not Enough Warns British Ports Association

On 24 September a new development order was applied, in named areas of England, relating to the requirement to check and process vehicles on entry into the United Kingdom as well as facilities for drivers and border staff. The order gives specific government border departments such as HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the Department for Transport (DfT) the ability to apply to the Secretary of State to add infrastructure to its ports which will prove beneficial once the UK break away from the Single Market and Customs Union.

Approval by the British Ports Association

This order has been welcomed by the logistics industry, including the British Ports Association (BPA); however, they warn that there is still more to be done before the transition deadline. Richard Ballantyne, chief executive of the BPA said, “The legislation introduced to bypass the planning processes for border infrastructure in England is certainly a welcome move; however, there is still a lot be done to get ready for 2021. At various stages next year, new customs and border control processes will be introduced on European trade and our ports are working with the government to look at what needs to be done.”
He added that he hopes for a swift roll out of the government’s infrastructure plans, in-order that the UK’s gateway to Europe be ready.

The preparations have begun to create a physical and digital infrastructure to facilitate customs and other border procedures during transit between the UK, Europe and Northern Ireland. This could include new inspections facilities and computer systems to manage border controls that have emerged, following Britain’s exit from the Single Market and Customs Union.

Ballantyne said, “the sensible and measured implementation of the new border requirements could be essential for all parts of the freight and logistics industry.”

This order comes after a concerted effort by the Road Haulage Association and key figures from the logistics industry urged the government for a meeting over Brexit amid concerns over the slow progress that was being made.

The BPA represents 86% of port traffic in the UK, which includes major gateways such as Birkenhead, Dover, New Haven, Pembroke and Tyne. These facilities support the transport of thousands of trucks and trailers on a daily basis between Europe and the UK. This part of the industry could have the biggest impact on the new processes that are included in the new order.

Drawbacks to the New Order Identified

Following on from this, planning law expert of Pinsent Masons commented that the powers granted by the new regulations were limited to smaller developments which would not require environmental impact assessment (EIA). He explained that the development would not be able to approve new motorways or express roads over one hectare nor motorway services over 0.5 hectares unless it is proved that they will not have an untoward impact on the environment. He surmised that, “realistically…. The new order will apply to more modest changes in and around the ports.”

“Proposals must be put forward by a relevant border department – for example, HMRC – with the site owner, such as the harbour authority, only engaged on the application. Presumably, in practice, it is likely that the border department will have discussed things at length with port operators, as it is difficult to see how the border department will be best placed to lead on the necessary infrastructure to process port traffic efficiently through the port and surrounding areas.”

Heathrow Cargo

Why is Air Cargo seeing an increase since COVID-19?

According to CLIVE data services, air cargo volume saw a 12% increase in the last week of June compared to the last week of May. Niall van de Wouw, managing director of CLIVE, explains this increase was initially due to the urgent requirement of personal protective equipment (PPE) needed by governments in an attempt to contain COVID-19. Despite the international demand for PPE now beginning to diminish, Van de Wouw is confident that air cargo volume will continue to rise month on month.

“Our June analyses seems to suggest the first steps towards a structural market recovery. Despite the decreasing demand for PPE in June, we still see that the volumes increased over May. We are starting to see a more recognisable airfreight market following more logical economic principles and more logical rates.”

There is no denying that aviation has been one of the industries hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. Government restrictions have prohibited entry for travellers causing ticket sales to plummet, reduced schedules and redundancies for airline staff. An increase in air cargo volume is a glimmer of hope in what has been a dark time.

How has COVID-19 impacted Air Cargo Volumes?

A number of sources have submitted their findings on how the global pandemic has affected air freight including; Veritas Global, Seabury and The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA). Alongside this, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) have also done their own studies, which are updated and shared on a weekly basis. Despite the sheer number of agencies looking into this there continues to be a lack of reliable data but what does stand out is the following:

• Global air cargo capacity is down 35% from 2019
• 20% of belly cargo continues to fly
• Freighters capacity is showing signs of stabilising

Due to the current restrictions of passenger travel, airports are seeing a sharp decrease in their revenue forcing many to close. Despite full closures to passenger traffic, a share of airport and airside infrastructure must remain open to support air cargo which comes at a cost to a weakening cash supply.

How is TIACA Supporting the Industry?

TIACA believes that it is their permanent role to promote the air cargo industry. During the outbreak of the coronavirus, they have focused their efforts in reminding governments how important the role of the air cargo industry is to the global economy, international trade and in battling the devastating effects of COVID-19. The value of air cargo has been highlighted during the pandemic as without it the transportation of valuable medical, PPE and food supplies would not have been possible. As COVID-19 looks set to continue its impact on the world, so will the demand for medical supplies. It is vital that delivery services are able to keep up with this demand.

How have Cargo Operations Changed Due to Coronavirus?

Changes to cargo operations to mitigate the impact of coronavirus include:

• The use of passenger aircraft
• Expanded use of charter flights
• Changes in flexibility to certain regulations
• Introduction of new standard operating procedures
• Increased protection for staff

The implementation of these new operations and assessment of how effective they are is a time-consuming process and is changing everyday as we learn more about the novel virus. TIACA and other aviation organisations are pushing an initiative where a working document is created for a post COVID-19 recovery path. The main focus of this document is to suggest short, mid and long-term solutions to the issues caused by the pandemic so that the industry as a whole can recover.

What can the Industry do to Prevent this Impact from another Pandemic?

When industries such as aviation rely on governments from all over the world to collaborate and work cohesively, there needs to be a concerted effort to make things consistent. A standard that extends from one end of the world to the other.

It is clear that the implementation of new procedures to prepare ourselves for a future crisis are required; particularly, relating to health and safety in the workplace. Emergency plans will need to be drawn up and implemented to ensure that if another pandemic were to occur that industries would have systems in place to mitigate the effects that were able to destroy everything so quickly and in such a short space of time. This will involve analysis, risk assessments, training sessions and re-writing standard operating procedure. For aviation in particular, more consideration needs to be given to air cargo and how we can keep operations going in the face of a crisis. The air cargo industry has proved invaluable during the COVID-19 pandemic; however, more support needs to be given to be able to provide that invaluable service in the future.

Advice on Exporting your Car from the UK

For some, exporting their car from the UK can seem like a daunting task that can potentially put people off the process. Deciding on how long your car will remain outside of the UK will determine the documentation that you use as well as the declarations you make to the UK and overseas customs officials. The following information covers the most common eventualities of exporting your car from the UK and advice on completing this process.

Permanent Export

If you are planning on exporting your vehicle from the UK permanently you must inform the DVLA. If you are the registered keeper of the vehicle, this can be done by completing section C of the V5 Registration Document that accompanies your car. Once this is received, the DVLA will send you the Certificate of Intended Export (V561) as a confirmation of your car’s registration. Alternatively, if you have a Registration Certificate (V5C) this can be done by completing and sending the purple section of the document (V5C/4). It is important that you have your Registration Certificate with you when you arrive at your final destination so that you can present it to the relevant authority when the vehicle is eventually registered abroad. If you require any further information, this can be found by contacting us or by logging onto the GOV.UK website.

Temporary Export

If you plan on taking your car out of the UK for less than 12 months you must ensure that you take either your V5 registration document or V5C registration certificate with you. If you have lost your copy, you must inform the DVLA by completing a V62 form. It is important that you apply for this document well in advance of your departure, as your replacement Registration Certificate may take up to 14 working days to arrive and even longer if you are not the registered keeper. Please ensure that you have sent the correct fee for this service and have met domestic and international requirements relating to licensing and taxation of the vehicle.

If you are taking your car out of the UK for a limited time only, you may wish to apply for a Carnet de Passage to avoid paying a deposit to customs officials at your final destination. If you intend to obtain one of these you are advised to apply for it in advance of travelling as it can take well over a month for the process to be finalised.

If you are using a freight forwarder or logistics company, you can normally ship your vehicle without the need of a certificate; however, having this in your possession will significantly reduce your chance of delays at the UK border.

Essential Tips

Besides notifying the DVLA, there are some additional tasks that will be beneficial to complete prior to your departure. These are listed below:

• Documentation – Besides the V5/V5C document mentioned previously, you are advised to carry your valid driving licence, a form of photo ID and the vehicle identification number.

• Keys – Ensure that you carry your extra set of keys for the vehicle.

• Fuel Tank – Fill the fuel tank to at least a quarter full.

• Antifreeze – Due to the potential harsh conditions that your vehicle may be exposed to during transit, it is advised to apply antifreeze and, in some situations, rust protection.

• Vehicle Condition – Thoroughly clean the vehicle inside and out in preparation for checks that will be made on the car. Ensure that the car is in good working order unless otherwise specified.

• Personal Items – Make a list of all personal items left in the car to check off when you reach your final destination.

• Additional Preparation – Disable security systems, remove GPS, stereos or any other portable equipment, remove antennae and fold wing mirrors back.

Vehicle History

If you are not in possession of a valid export certificate, customs officials may check if your car has any outstanding finance payments left on it. This is particularly common with new or high value cars. If they discover that it does, they may not grant you permission to cross the UK border without written permission from the finance company. Checking this information before you travel will significantly reduce delays at the port.

International Duty and Tax Requirements

A good freight forwarder will be able to ship your vehicle to anywhere in the world; however, you may be liable to pay import taxes and fees when it arrives. Whilst most freight forwarders can assist you with this, it is your responsibility as the owner to adhere to any import requirements and regulations that the country you’re travelling to requires. Failure to do so may result in expensive fees, delays and potentially the confiscation of your vehicle so it is important to check this before you depart.

Logistics Solutions for a Post Covid-19 World

In four short months, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought the world’s economy to its knees and changed its course forever. The aviation industry with particular emphasis on cargo has been one of the key industries to suffer and will need to act fast in order to adapt and recover from its losses.

Business owners are having to make some tough choices in order to survive the ‘new normal.’ As we speak, companies are introducing new policies to alleviate the impact on supply chain and to maintain its profitability. If you are a business owner looking to regain your footing in your industry post-COVID, read on for the current methods companies are adopting to survive:

1. Higher Inventories

Due to the global pandemic, many businesses with stretched supply chains and low inventory levels were severely impacted. As a result of this, we will see many companies choosing to maintain higher inventories to mitigate the issues that have arisen. Industries that have specifically benefitted from this include those that are dealing in critical goods such as pharmaceuticals. Although this measure requires a higher amount in capital, it is thought that consumers will favour businesses that show a more resilient and sustainable approach therefore increasing demand and profitability.

2. The End of Single Sourcing

With trade tensions rising between China and the rest of the world, we are now seeing a decrease in single sourcing. Companies are now looking to reduce their dependence on China and are seeking alternative countries for their supplier needs.

Returning to pharmaceuticals, many drugs are manufactured in China and India due to low costs. China alone supplies 80% of the worlds active ingredients contained in antibiotics; however, this is likely to change due to the relaxing of EU patent laws. In the past, this law has provided a 20-year protection on any drug produced there and has encouraged many companies to produce drugs outside of the continent. The new changes potentially make Europe a much more attractive place for pharmaceutical production and we could see a lot more production taking place as a result of this.

There is a possibility that global health insurers may impose quotas, including products and ingredients from specific suppliers, which could also mark the end for single sourcing. Despite this, a large amount of non-generic drugs will continue to be made in China and India due to costings, particularly if the countries have a vast quantity of safe stock and have the capabilities of mass-producing critical medicines.

3. Business Travel Reduction

Key business changes such as remote working and video conferencing, that assisted employees during lockdown, look set to become the norm for previously office-based workers. With this in mind, business travel undoubtedly will experience a steep decline with a knock-on effect to industries such as automobile manufacturing, as less people feel the need to buy a car. This decline will have a considerable impact on global economies with Europe alone, depending on car manufacturers for 10% of their overall revenue. The industry was already suffering with the recent developments in electric car manufacturing which requires fewer parts from a combustion engine, this coupled with the disruption to the supply chain spells bad news and their monopoly in the transport world looks set to end.

On a positive note, e-commerce businesses will emerge from this crisis as the big winners as more consumers realise the benefits of shopping online without having to leave their homes. The increased popularity in online shopping will be welcomed within a suffering air cargo industry which could see a potential return to pre-COVID profitability a lot sooner than expected.

The Importance of Freight Forwarders in the Current Climate

It’s hard to predict what a post-COVID world will look like for the airline industry. With part nationalised airlines receiving government bail outs, business and commercial travel looking set to decrease and a fluctuating oil price, it can start to look like a minefield for all involved. Senior management will need to act fast to implement the appropriate social distancing measures and key strategies to stay afloat; however, all is not lost. If predictions pay off and countries continue to hold higher inventories and near source their products, this could cause inflation and interest rates to rise. If this were to happen, holding expensive goods for a longer time may not be as cost-effective as previously considered, which could see more businesses favouring air freight over the alternative methods.

For business owners that rely on the transportation of goods, now is the time to instruct the services of a reputable freight forwarder, particularly one that keeps themselves abreast of developments and can navigate all these new changes to the industry to ensure the most cost-effective method of sending and receiving vital shipments for your company.

Time to Take Action

Make no mistake, the measures that have been introduced as a result of COVID-19 are here to stay and industries, such as logistics, will work very differently. This is undoubtedly one of the greatest, if not the greatest challenge that the modern world has ever faced. The time to take action is now and those who are willing to adapt will prosper.

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Top Five Tips for First Time Exporting

Thousands of businesses are avoiding international expansion despite the enticing overseas markets that exist for their products. Take the first step to global success, by following our top tips for first time exporting for small businesses.

The Success of the Small Business on an International Level

An increasing number of start-ups and small businesses are including international sales as part of their business strategy. With the surge in popularity, more and more first-time exporters are entering the markets. Around 10 percent of all UK SMEs are exporters and are currently capitalising on a share of the £287,000 in additional revenue that these orders can deliver. In fact, according to UK Export Finance, firms that traded internationally in the last 2 years have grown at a rate of 15% compared to just 8.4% for those focusing solely on domestic markets.

For those businesses looking to take the plunge, get ahead of your competitors today and read on for our top five tips for first time exporting.

1. Identify Profitable Markets

If your company is yet to receive their first international order, conducting market research is imperative. If done effectively, your research will set you up with a foundation in market demand, growth opportunities and an understanding of your competition which could save you millions in the long run. If companies do not invest the time in market research, important cultural, competitor and pricing factors can be missed and the opportunity for profit can be seriously impacted.

2. Market Regulations

Regulations relating to safety, production and quality control differ within markets, particularly in the pharmaceutical and food production industries. The slightest variation could require large, expensive changes in production. Understanding the regulations from the outset will give businesses a good idea of their target audience without making costly mistakes in the process. This level of detail extends to companies who deal with consumer’s personal data. The introduction of privacy laws in Europe and US states like California hold companies to strict guidelines with hefty fines for non-compliance.

3. The Logistics

Facilitating orders on an international scale is vastly different to operating at a domestic level. Whilst globalisation has made this significantly easier in recent years, small firms are still required to go through certain changes when operating internationally for the first time. Fluctuating shipping costs, delays and lost cargo all need to be taken into consideration. It was only a few months ago that COVID-19 single handedly brought markets to its knees with some not expected to bounce back for years.

Once logistics such as potential warehousing is arranged, there’s the small matter of customs paperwork to complete which, as the Brexit process has shown, can be complex and costly, particularly when dealing with large shipments. With this in mind, it is vital that companies instruct the assistance of reputable shipping comp

4. Navigating the Shift in Currency Value

Managing a vast number of currencies whilst selling internationally can be an issue for first time and novice exporters; however, all is not lost! Unlike multi-national organisations who hire currency traders, small businesses can follow simple steps to stay on top of the shift in currency values and protect price and profit margins.

Trading in your local currency, can prevent big headaches for companies and transfers the risk of shifting currency values over to the buyer. If this is not possible and the buyer insists on their own currency, it may be wise to lock in exchange rates in advance. It is highly unlikely that as a small firm, you are going to have the cash reserves to account for negative movements in foreign exchange but this option can mitigate daily fluctuations in currency values.

For a beginner, it is important not to try and play the market. Focusing on your product, your customers, adhering to international regulations and securing those first international orders are going to put you in a much better position.

5. Understanding Tariffs

Another issue that has been highlighted by the Brexit negotiations is the potential for new tariffs and regulations to be imposed on goods after the new trade deal is agreed. The introduction of these could seriously impact the importation of certain goods in favour of supporting local business as well as decreasing your profit margins and limiting long term sales volumes. Researching where free trade agreements exist can create a competitive edge to your business. If you really want to get ahead, sourcing where new free trade agreements are likely to be introduced and investing in those locations will ensure that you are one of the first to break into new markets when they arise. This requires a certain amount of discretion on the company’s part as potential trade disputes such as the one we are currently seeing between the United States and China can create serious losses if overlooked.

Is your Company Ready to Export?

One of the primary reasons that small businesses do not venture into international markets is down to a lack of resources and expertise. According to the Department of International Trade, companies with a turnover under £500,000 were unlikely to look into exporting globally despite 73% believing that there was a strong demand for British products and services. A quarter of these businesses added that they wouldn’t know who to turn to when looking for advice. As daunting a task as it may be for businesses, the insight and the advice is out there, whether it be sourced through an external agency or researched by the company themselves, now is as good a time as ever to break through into the global markets.

A Beginner’s Guide to Importing

As the eCommerce market grows, buying and selling goods online is fast becoming the norm for consumers. With this increase in popularity, businesses are more committed than ever to keeping their costs to a minimum. A top way to stay cost effective is to import goods from China, India or Taiwan. Importing your goods from as far as Asia can be a daunting prospect to a first timer. If you are a business looking to import from Asia for the first time, remember these 8 easy steps for a smooth process:

1. Follow your Market
2. Find your Product
3. Understand your Shipping Terms
4. Get your Quote
5. Track your Shipment
6. Prepare for Customs
7. Pay your Invoice
8. Plan your Delivery

Let’s take a closer look!

1. Follow your Market

When purchasing goods from abroad it is important to research the market you are looking to buy in. Just like purchasing things at home, it is not wise to invest in something you do not know anything about.

You will need to consider the following:

• Is your product in high demand? If so, you will need to ensure that you order enough to last you until you are able to purchase more. Keep in mind that it can take up to 6 weeks for shipments to arrive.
• Are you buying the right quantity? Shipping costs per unit are low when buying bulk but importing too much at once can be costly. Ensure you are being as cost effective as you can when considering quantity.
• Will you ship your goods via sea or air? Fast moving markets could benefit with the convenience and speed of delivery that air freight offers.

2. Find you Product

When sourcing a product, make sure that you know where it’s coming from. Some of the most common ways of sourcing products are through:

• Alibaba and Made in China. These companies are extremely popular with companies.
• Sourcing and inspection agencies. As a first-time importer, you may find it beneficial to use these.
• Visiting factories and trade fairs. This can be a great option if you are unsure of a particular company and want to see how they operate.

3. Understanding your Shipping Terms

It is important companies know what they’re paying for, what transport costs they are responsible for and when you have to pay. Top tips include:

• Try to negotiate importing your shipment on Free on Board (FOB) terms. This generally works out cheaper for the buyer.
• Try to avoid CIF/CFR shipping terms.
• Ensure you know exactly when and how your supplier wants to be paid for the shipment. This could include pay upfront in full or part payments at various points of the journey.
• Research the price of importing your product so that you know whether you are getting a good deal.

4. Get your Quote

Contact a Supreme Freight for a quote and ensure you familiarise yourself with the following costs:

• Duty and VAT. A lot of shipping companies are happy to advise on the duty and VAT costs.
• Insurance. Supreme Freight will quote you to insure your shipment whilst it is in transit. It may not seem essential at the time but is it worth the risk?

5. Track your Shipment

When we say track, we don’t just mean checking the location of your goods. We mean staying on top of your shipment. Before you start the process with a shipping company, ensure you know how long your shipment is going to take to get to you. Production and transit times are good things to know. If your product is going to take 6 weeks to make and then another 6 weeks to ship to you, you’re going to want to know in advance!

Be sure to ask your shipping company for:

• Estimated departure and arrival date into the UK
• Name of the vessel to enable you to track it yourself
• Estimated delivery date for your address

6. Prepare for Customs

When your goods are in transit, you will need to prepare the following for your shipment to clear customs:

• Commercial Invoice from your supplier to present to customs when your shipment arrives.
• A Bill of Lading – This proves that you are the legal owner of the shipment.
• An EORI number – This will vary depending on whether you are a VAT registered business. Most shipping companies will arrange this for you, the most you will need to do in this case is to send the form to HMRC.
• Commodity codes so that HMRC are aware of what the shipment is.

7. Pay your Invoice

Once your goods have arrived into the UK, we would advise settling your invoice as soon as possible as your shipping company would have paid a significant amount in Duty and VAT on your behalf. You will generally receive your invoice between customs receiving your goods and delivery and it is generally paid via bank transfer.

8. Plan your Delivery

When planning for your delivery, consider the following:

• Delivery address – Does the delivery address of your shipment have sufficient storage solutions for your goods? If not, you may need to consider renting a storage space.
• Size and weight of shipment – If your cargo is bulky or heavy you may need a tail-lift delivery or extra man power to help with unloading.
• Time of delivery – Plan ahead and ensure that your goods are delivered at a time when your storage facility is open.
• If you are delivering directly to an Amazon warehouse, you may need your supplier to label the cartons to ensure it can be identified.

sea freight china

A Guide to Sea Freight Shipping from China

Sea freight is the largest method of shipping for international import and export business. Competitive prices and multiple options make sea freight the first choice for global trade. When it comes to shipping from China, businesses need experienced freight forwarders like our team at Supreme Freight who are familiar with transporting for companies of differing sizes as well as to a wealth of countries. As a China freight agent, we hope that you are able to gain something from the knowledge and experience shared in this article.

Trade Terms

Get accustomed to all the codes and terminology with our simple breakdown:

Incoterms – A term given to one of the common terms of trade. When applied to buying goods from China, there are four incoterms. Each of the incoterms are assigned a code relating to how far the suppliers transport the shipment to. The codes of these incoterms are as follows:

EXW – Transport as far as the factory/manufacturer

FOB – Transport as far as a nearby port in China

CIF – Transport to a nearby port in your country

DAP/DDU – Transfer to your place of business

The codes can be split into two further categories:

  • EXW/FOB Category – The buyer can utilise your own freight agent and liaise with them directly regarding payment.
  • The Other Category – The buyer uses their own freight company and your company subsidises that.

When looking for a freight forwarder, it is important that you understand these terms and codes to enable them to know your requirements when shipping your goods to China.

Container Types

It is important to know the following commonly used container types:

  • 20’GP – Allows for 20ft of storage. 20’GP is designed to carry more weight than voluminous cargo. E.g. Minerals, metal and machinery
  • 40’GP – Allows for 40ft of storage. 40’GP is designed to carry more voluminous cargo than heavy cargo. E.g. Furniture, tyres, and toys
  • 40’HC – Allows for 40ft of storage for shipments of a great height.

Although the volume of the 40’ containers are double the volume of the 20’, they are still bound to the same weight restriction that China applies to its exports which is no more than 27-28 tons. The ocean rates for a 40’ container shipped from China are less than two 20’ containers and it is no extra cost from a 40’ container for a 40’HC.

Freight forwarders are also knowledgeable of these commonly used container types. Knowing this information upfront will allow the freight forwarder to help and advise you with the right service.

Shipment Type

Shipment types come in the following two categories:

  • Full Container Load (FCL) – In which a company fills a whole container with their own goods. Containers can be from 20 – 45 feet long.
  • Less than Container Load (LCL) – Where different companies share the same container and load their shipments into it. This would then get split once it reaches port.

In order to ascertain what shipment type is best for your business you need to consider the packaging that your shipment requires whilst being transported, if you select an LCL, would it be better for your shipment to use a courier or decide whether it is possible to use an FCL.

Major Ports

Each port has a different charge for FCL and LCL containers. The breakdown of the Chinese ports are as follows:

  • Shanghai – This major city enjoys the most economically developed of everything. From where it is located, it serves interior provinces via river ports along the waterway that extends from it.
  • Shenzen – This port is accessible to Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta making it another key port for the South of China.
  • Ningbo-Zhousan – This port serves both Ningbo, which has good connections with Central and Western China and Zhejiang, a wealthy region with a manufacturing industry.
  • Hong Kong – Fastly expanding into the ‘international shipping service hub of the Far East,’ Hong Kong provides 340 container liner services per week, connecting to around 470 destinations worldwide.
  • Guangzhou – Historically, a key centre of trade in China, the port is striving to be the international shipment hub for the Maritime Silk Road component. It is a port that provides options for importers, exporters, third party logistic companies and ocean carriers with its reduced port and berthing fees.
  • Qingdao – The most important port of Northern China. It is located next to the Bohai Bay region of which it serves.
  • Tianjin – This port is second only to Qingdao port in capacity in Northern China. The port’s container handling business are developing additional domestic and international routes.
  • Xiamen – The port is located at the mouth of the Jiulongjiang River and has over 68 shipping routes to over 50 countries including Kaohsiung in Taiwan.
  • Dalian – This port is located at the most northern ice-free port of China and is the largest port in North East China serving seaports in East Asia, North Asia, and the Pacific Rim.

Researching into the port that best serves where your shipment will be transported to, will enable your freight forwarder to connect you with our most suitable partners.

For a consultation and advice on your shipment, get in touch with us and we will do our best to help.

 

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Air Freight vs Sea Freight

When shipping goods internationally, there are many factors to consider. One of the biggest, is what mode of transport you are going to use to get your goods there.

No matter the reason of what and why you are shipping, deciding between sea and air freight is extremely important. Contacting an experienced freight company like the team at Supreme Freight can help you make this choice using our industry experience to get you the most suitable freight solution. Both methods have advantages and disadvantages to them, some of these may apply your needs, so before making a decision, doing your research is strongly advised. Today, we are looking into the differences and the benefits between sea and air freight to help you make that all-important choice!

Considering the Factors

When trying to make the important decision between shipping your items by air or sea freight is dependent on the following four variables:

  • Cost – No matter your budget or your circumstances, cost will have an influence over your decision making. It is typically thought that sea freight being the cheaper of the two and while that may be the case in a lot of situations, it’s not for all. Ensure that you shop around and get quotes for both modes of transport with different companies.
  • Speed – If you have a time restriction on when you need your goods to get to their final destination then we would strongly advise that you consider air freight. Sea shipments can take as long as a month, whilst air freight can be there in a day or two. If you are shipping for business, the time and convenience of your goods getting there in such a quick timeframe, may more than make up for the cost of air freight. If you don’t require a quick timeframe it could make a lot more sense to send it via sea freight.
  • Reliability – When we’re deciding on the right company for their services, we want them to be reliable and it is no different here. When it comes to air and sea freight, ocean sea freight companies have had a much longer history and time to perfect their processes; however, airlines are very keen to stay on top of schedules with much fewer delays and cancellations, it comes out at the most reliable.
  • Environment – With the ever-increasing issue of climate change pressing on the world, there’s no better time than now to make more environmentally friendly choices to help preserve our planet. As social awareness is growing, companies are trying to do their bit to provide more eco-friendly business solutions. When looking at both, it appears sea freight would surely win hands down as it releases far less CO2 emissions; however, with oil and chemical spills and sea freight impacting on water ecosystems that might not be so clear cut after all.

What are the Advantages of Sea Freight and Air Freight?

Still not completely sure with which to go for? Read up on the benefits of each:

Sea Freight

  • Cost Effective – For businesses looking to import large quantities of goods. Sea freight has been known to be 4 – 6 times cheaper than air freight. Additionally, duty and VAT are calculated at a cheaper rate than air freight keeping the costs down in other ways.
  • Flexibility – There are a lot of options to sea freight as mentioned above. This flexibility could suit a number of businesses. Sharing containers spreads the cost between companies.
  • Less Restrictions – Sea freight importing does not have as many restrictions of what companies can import, in terms of size and amount as other methods do. Bigger items such as furniture or vehicles isn’t going to be so much of a problem by sea as it would by air.
  • Accessibility – Sea freight is pretty much accessible from anywhere in the world. Sea freight importing is much better for the environment than other methods.

Read more about our Sea Freight services.

Air Freight

  • Efficiency – Air freight is quick, particularly if you use a direct service. You can expect goods to be at its intended destination within days of sending it whilst sea freight can take several weeks.
  • Good Value on Smaller Deliveries – Air freight is charged based on weight as opposed to volume which makes it more cost effective to send smaller deliveries via air freight than by sea.
  • More Options – Shipping companies are able to offer more options to the importer with air freight, including consols and direct routes.
  • Less Potential to Damage Shipment – Providing the goods are correctly packaged, air freight is usually a better way of shipping fragile items as damage is less likely compared to sea freight.
  • More Traceable – As flights are tracked, shipments are more easily traceable which can give businesses more peace of mind.

Read more about our Air Freight services. 

Contact us today to see which solution is the best fit for your shipment.

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The Key Role of Freight Forwarders in the COVID-19 Crisis

According to Robert Keen at the British International Freight Association (BIFA), the COVID-19 crisis has put emphasis on the importance that freight forwarders play in delivering vital commodities through our international supply chains. After spending many years being the “invisible hand of international shipping” Keen speaks of freight forwarders as, “the important role……taking centre stage and being recognised.”

With BIFA seeking to influence the UK government on all issues surrounding international shipping, they have been pleased so far with the pragmatic solutions that have been made. These include the easing of opening hours at temporary storage facilities rather than going through the formal process of a change in legislation, that could have held up the change. Currently, BIFA are looking for the government to ease VAT on import tax as they have done with domestic VAT.

Keen spoke of the official statement made in Parliament recently that the government acknowledged that international freight services are, “vital for ensuring the continuity of supply chains.” The government recognised the individuals working in this sector as key workers. Keen added it was important to recognise that the key worker title didn’t just extend to the obvious employees such as drivers and warehouse operatives but also people working behind the scenes such as customs data entry clerks.

 



COVID-19 and Freight Forwarding

As we consider the potential impact, COVID-19 will have on sea freight and supply chain management, it is important for freight forwarders and logistics operators to take vital steps to prevent the unnecessary spread of the pandemic which at present, continues to disrupt the movement of goods. Whilst this will undoubtedly cause significant delays to shipping and put a stop to many companies shipping altogether, the following provides some guidance on the potential risks to freight forwarders and how to combat them.

 


Impacts on Freight Forwarders and Logistic Operators

Social Distancing – Sea freight supply chains include many physical and clerical processes, many of which traditionally involved people interacting with each other in large groups. Similarly, this extends to physical cargo packing operations. All of these processes are usually executed in large offices and warehouses where constant interaction is necessary. Despite the increasing levels of digitalisation, the industry still heavily relies on transferring and dealing with physical documentation. With the introduction of social distancing now being implemented in all industries to kickstart the economy. Freight forwarding and logistics must find its own way of implementation.  

Commercial Impact – Any reduction in the amount of goods handled and shipped will inevitably have an impact on the customers of any freight forwarding company. Potentially, freight forwarding companies could see key customers lean on them to create expensive “workarounds” and use non-core ocean service providers to make voyages to ensure that their items are shipped.

Furthermore, as business travel has been restricted for the foreseeable future, it will be important for freight forwarding companies to keep lines of communication open and accessible to them through the use of remote conferencing applications.

 


Legal Implications for Freight Forwarders

Special Contracts – Whilst many freight forwarders operate to standard trading conditions in terms of the contracts that they hold with their customers, there are a number that hold special contracts with their key customers. With regards to these, it has been questioned whether these special contracts need to be reviewed and identify the obligations of the supplier to perform in contexts such as COVID-19. Specifically, such questions as, Is the forwarder or the its agent required to issue a Forwarders Cargo Receipt (FCR)? Is the operator required to undertake consolidations? As well as obligations, it may be necessary for forwarders to impose force majeure clauses in their contracts whereby the problems in China may be a reason for the contract to be terminated and their obligations to be discharged.

Industry Standard Terms – For freight forwarding companies that operate to standard trading terms, it is recommended to look into whether imposing force majeure clauses into existing contracts with your customers may be an option. In terms of taking on new transactions relating to a supply chain reliant on China, scrutiny on its logistics and legal advice will probably be required.

Communication with Customers – It is imperative that freight forwarding companies keep customers updated of all issues that arise in the supply chain whether this from the vendors, hauliers, lines, agents or terminals. To be able to claim a force majeure clause or discharge the company’s obligations there needs to be sufficient evidence that customers losses were caused by matters genuinely outside of their control. Companies will also be required to consider any alternative workarounds that could be implement with a moderate additional cost to the customer.

Communication with Supply Chain Stakeholders – Freight forwarders and logistics operators need to maintain good communication with the other stakeholders of the supply chain to evidence that they did everything that they could to avoid customer losses. A high level of detail and accuracy should be maintained when explaining the steps that were taken and problems encountered.

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How to Choose a Freight Forwarder

Whether you’re a large company shipping many products internationally or a small business looking to make their first international shipment, deciding on the right freight forwarding company for you is a vital part of the success of your shipment. Ensuring the smooth transit of your goods is an important investment of your company’s time and money and it is worth researching freight forwarding companies to ensure that you pick the right company for the job.

 

What is a Freight Forwarder?

A freight forwarder assists companies in the process of transporting goods from one place to another. They use the most cost-effective methods with a suitable shipping company to ensure that every point of the journey goes smoothly.

Supreme Freight forwarders contract with a number of companies covering sea, air or road to transport goods on behalf of their clients. Although some freight forwarders have their own warehouses and vehicles, they aren’t necessarily the ones to carry out the transportation. Usually, they are the experts that are able to lead on the logistics and arrangements that will enable a smooth process giving companies piece of mind that their goods will be delivered.

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.

 


 

Important Questions When Finding a Freight Forwarder

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 such as Supreme 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 Advantages of using Supreme 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.