5 Tips to Stress-Free Export Logistics

The world of logistics can be frantic for any business at the best of times, so knowing how to make the process runs as smoothly as possible can not only save you time and hassle, but money too. Ensuring everything goes according to plan is rarely guaranteed, so we’ve put together a few tips for you to help avoid some of the most common problems that can arise.

1. Provide accurate information

It may seem obvious, but this is one of the most common mistakes made when transporting goods. Any error in dimensions and weight, especially when using a groupage service, means your cargo is in danger of not being able to fit on the collection/delivery vehicle. Can you imagine the costly delay of arranging another vehicle and the knock-on effect it would have for your customer? Its well worth double checking all dims and weights on correspondence and quotation/booking paperwork to prevent this from ever happening.

Similarly, having the correct destination details is essential. Many European area codes can cover a number of different towns and cities, so having the precise details is key to avoiding delays.

As obvious as it sounds, it’s also important to be clear of the content/type of cargo you are transporting too, as tax, duty and regulations can vary for different customs commodity codes.

2. Advise of any special requirements well in advance

If your goods require overhead crane loading, or are hazardous, such details are vital to arrange suitable transportation, and may result in unnecessary delays and additional costs to you if not declared in advance.

Opening times of businesses or restricted loading/unloading times, delivery and collection processes for the haulier to follow (e.g. booking in with site managers prior to arrival) can prevent delays and avoid demurrage charges.

In terms of hazardous cargo, it is important to check with your forwarder to ensure they can accommodate the hazardous classification of the cargo you are transporting. Certain hauliers and shipping lines are not equipped to deal with certain hypes of hazardous cargo such as radioactive of explosive materials or may require a driver with a specialist ADR license to be able to handle the cargo.

3. Pack your goods correctly

This is not only essential to ensure the goods don’t get damaged in transit, but also to ensure they meet regulatory requirements of the country you are exporting to. For example, Australia requires all wooden packing materials to meet the ISPM15 requirement.

An experienced forwarder should be able to clarify specific packing requirements for the specified country at quotation stage, giving you plenty of time to arrange specialised packing if necessary. Your forwarder may even offer specialised packing services as an option.

4. Ensure you have the correct documentation, if necessary

Customs clearance documentation can be a minefield, especially as the required docs vary from country to country as well as for different modes of transport. Knowing your EUR1’s from your ATR1’s and your letters of credit from your Certificates of Origins is not everybody’s forte, so using a freight forwarder that also specialises in documentation can be more than reassuring.

It’s also important to remember that European countries that are not part of the EU, such as Switzerland, also require customs clearance documentation as they are not part of the single market and customs union. This may include copies of invoices and packing lists. Of course, with Brexit on the horizon this is all subject to change, but it helps to use a freight forwarder with extensive experience in export documentation before we head into the unchartered Brexit waters. Such experience will prove invaluable if the UK enters a temporary customs union with the EU, or even if we revert to WTO trading rules after the 29th March next year.

5. Talk to Your Forwarder!

Just as you are undoubtedly the expert on your products, your forwarder will know the A-Z of transportation. If you have any queries about any aspect of the process, from time sensitive deliveries, flexible transit times, clarification on the type of trailer to book or even just a discussion about the most cost-effective transportation method, don’t hesitate to ask! We are more than just a voice at the end of the phone, we’re here to meet the individual needs of our customers, and even if this may change from shipment to shipment, a good forwarder will always adapt with you, offering solutions rather than just a standard service.

The Bottom Line Is…

Though the road to exporting may not be simple, following these steps will not only allow you to ensure your goods are delivered on time, but also prevent avoidable additional costs, affecting your bottom line and more importantly, your customer satisfaction. We as forwarders understand that the key to keeping our customers happy, is by keeping their customers happy, so smooth, timely deliveries is paramount to this.

KMB Shipping, recently named Small Business of the Year, has 30 years’ experience in delivering our full range of shipping services to over 70 different countries, to a growing international client list. As members of BIFA, we offer a flexible and fully tailored service, managing the whole shipping process for you from initial phone call to safe delivery. Contact our professional, friendly and highly experienced team today to discuss how we can accommodate your shipping requirements.