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10 things you need to know about the customs clearance process

10 things you need to know about the customs clearance process

10 things you need to know about the customs clearance process

By Jenny Hooper, June 28, 2019, Category: General News

Customs can be a confusing process for those who have never shipped goods before. If you’re looking to send goods overseas or you’re importing goods into the UK, here are 10 things you need to know:

1. Customs clearance is complex

The customs clearance process involves more than simply passing goods across borders – the preparation and submission of documentation is required to facilitate exports and imports.

2. There’s a lot of documentation to consider

Common export and import documentation includes a Certificate of Origin, a sales invoice, a packing list, a shipping bill, insurance, an Airway Bill, a Bill of Lading and much more.

3. Your cargo will go through customs in every country around the world

Every country has its own customs clearance process, and the rules, laws and regulations will vary. Therefore, you will need to do your research before shipping your goods.

4. Customs will request payment of taxes and duties

If these haven’t been paid when the shipment arrives, customs will forward the package to an independent customs broker. This can get very expensive, so pay all charges before sending your shipment.

5. The time it takes varies from shipment to shipment

There’s no set time limit – the process is very much dependent on what goods are entering the country.

6. Customs charges in the UK are calculated using three variables

These are UK Duty, UK VAT and any additional costs like testing, storage and x-rays.

7. All goods are subject to Trading Standards

There are certain items that will attract more attention than others, such as lithium batteries, toys and electronics.

8. Certain items will need an import licence

Items which require a licence are often dangerous or require heavier regulation. Examples include drugs, fur, livestock and nuclear materials.

9. Properly loaded shipping containers can ease the process

Improper loading can lead to extensive searches of shipments, which can result in delays and more expenses.

10. It’s best left to a freight forwarding company

If the wrong person handles your customs brokerage, you could face a number of issues. A freight forwarder will be able to manage all your clearance requirements, including any documentation.

To find out more about Independent Freight’s air cargo and sea freight options, get in touch with a member of our team today.

Improved Routes to China for UK!

Improved Routes to China for UK!

How Heathrow are spearheading the development of the routes to China for the UK

By Jenny Hooper, June 13, 2019, Category: General News

Great news for customers who are regular exports to China or looking to export to China in the future!

Heathrow will now offer a new service to Chengdu the 12th Chinese route on the airports network. By identifying efficiencies and gaps in schedules, Heathrow has been able to accommodate new routes to China.

Expansion of Heathrow, the UK’s only hub airport and biggest port by value, will allow Britain the opportunity to build and maintain the vitally important trade connections to China the country needs, especially with a future outside the EU.

Research carried out by the CEBR has showed that there has been a remarkable rise in the value of Chinese exports via Heathrow and China is now the third most valuable export destination from the Airport.

Air China will use an A330-200 aircraft which can facilitate 3744 tonnes of cargo between China and the UK. Heathrow’s Chief Commercial Officer Ross Baker commented on the historic expansion: “Each plane flown from Heathrow to China not only carries passengers, but also the best of UK fashion, art and industry exports in its bellyhold. As we plan for a future outside of the EU, growing connections from Heathrow, the UK’s biggest port by value, to cities like Chengdu, is essential to keep our country an outward-looking trading nation.” (Source: TravelPRnews, 2019)

If you are interested in finding out more about this service which can be booked via our Team or any other Chinese destination then please do not hesitate to contact us at +44(0)2476 343037. We also offer import services from most major Chinese Airport back to the UK

Shipments that are appropriate for road freight

Shipments that are appropriate for road freight

Shipments that are appropriate for road freight

By Jenny Hooper, May 27, 2019, Category: General News

Are you looking to transport goods around the UK and Europe? If so, road freight might be the best option for you. With a number of solutions available, including pallet and out-of-gauge equipment, read on to find out the most appropriate shipments for road freight.


This type of shipping involves grouping your goods together with other similar items that are travelling to the same place. Often the cheapest and most efficient way to transport goods in the UK, it’s also known as consolidation of freight. If you can’t make up a full container, you simply need to ask your freight forwarding company to send your shipment via groupage shipping.

Full load road freight

Essentially the opposite of groupage, full load road freight is a type of shipping that sees a truck carry just one dedicated container. If you have a shipment that is large enough to fill a single container, this option is usually cheaper. With full loads, you will also find you aren’t as restricted when it comes to the size and weight of the shipment.


The best option for time restricted transport and valuable shipments, dedicated road freight ensures the same driver and truck is used throughout, making the whole process more secure. The driver is also reachable during the journey. Although similar to full load road freight, the main difference is that full load allows for different trucks and drivers to handle sections of the delivery.

Contact Independent Freight today to learn more about their road freight solutions. As well as road freight, we offer sea freight and air freight services to destinations around the world.

Who should be responsible for tariff codes also known as commodity codes and HS codes at Import?

Who should be responsible for tariff codes also known as commodity codes and HS codes at Import?

Who should be responsible for HS codes at Import?

By Jenny Hooper, May 13, 2019, Category: General News

The answer is normally you as the importer of record.

Unfortunately, some customers often assume wrongly that their supplier is responsible for ensuring the correct HS code is declared at import and that the Freight Forwarder/Customs Broker should then use this information to clear the goods. Although the supplier may play an important role in helping to determine the correct code and as the freight forwarder we will always check this to see if it looks incorrect – it can be quite dangerous to assume that your supplier is using the correct code.

HS Codes are grouped into 97 “product” chapters and the commodity code that relates to your imported goods determines the following:

  • The rate of import duty and VAT to be paid
  • Information for trade statistics
  • import restrictions on the goods
  • preferential trade agreement
  • Whether there are any trade policy measures affecting the import of the goods, e.g. ADD, Tariff Quotas (TQ), etc.

Each product has its own unique tariff code and this is harmonised throughout the world, however, only the first 6 digits of the code are actually ‘harmonised’. The last 4 digits will be unique to each country or in our case currently the EU. Therefore we will often find that a supplier will use their 10 digit code on the paperwork especially on shipments imported from the USA which might be different to the 10 digit code used in the EU/UK Tariff. This can lead to goods being incorrectly classified.

Therefore we recommend that customers carry out a regular review of the codes they are using at import and have some kind of system to indicate how they have arrived at these codes as HMRC will want to see evidence should they carry out and Customs Audit.

As a valued customer of ours, we are always happy to help you check your codes and to ensure that these are communicated to us correctly.

If you would like to discuss your codes with us then please do not hesitate to contact us as this will become even more important in the future post Brexit regardless of what Brexit actually looks like!

For more information on this please do not hesitate to contact us on 02476 343037.

International holidays that affect your supply chain

International holidays that affect your supply chain

International holidays that affect your supply chain

By Jenny Hooper, May 8, 2019, Category: General News

When focusing on the small details of freight shipping, it can be easy to sometimes forget about upcoming international holidays that can affect your supply chain. A reliable freight forwarding company should be aware of the below holidays and how/if they will affect the freight services they can provide.

1. Labour day

Labour day is a holiday celebrated by many international countries including America, Slovenia, Russia and Switzerland. The exact date of the holiday differs between countries, in America, it takes place on the first day of September while for the majority of European counties, such as Slovenia, the holiday takes place on the 1st and 2nd of May.

2. Summer bank holidays

Freight shipping usually peaks during mid-August to mid-October and during this time the demand for shipping is incredibly high as consumers prepare for their summer holidays and begin Christmas shopping. August 28th is a bank holiday in both Canada and the UK and must be remembered when organising freight shipping during this busy period.

3. Independence days

If you are not a resident of a country it can be hard to remember when or if it has an independence day. For example, the 4th of July weekend in the United States is a big independence day holiday and could cause delays in a supply chain, other large independence day holidays include the Indian independence day on August 1st, Chinese independence day on October 1st and June 12th for the Philippines independence day.

To avoid such holiday days affecting your supply chains, it is important to work with a knowledgeable and expert freight forwarding company like Independent Freight. For more information on freight services, contact a member of Independent Freight now!