The United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union in January 2021 saw the introduction of new rules and procedures for shipping goods between the two regions. As a result, shipments from the EU to the UK are now subject to stricter customs checks, tariffs and other regulations, which can lead to significant delays. If you are a business owner who ships European products to customers in the UK, EU to UK shipping delays can be both frustrating and disruptive. If not managed carefully, they can also lead to potential profit losses.
Effective Ways of Preventing Delays When Shipping to and from the EU
The good news is that there are a number of steps you can take to streamline the shipping process. In fact, by doing your homework, you can minimise the risk of unexpected delays and ensure your products arrive on time. Here are a few pointers to consider.
1. Work with a logistics company with extensive EU–UK shipping experience
The simplest yet most effective way of preventing shipping delays is to seek professional advice. Entrusting the shipping of your goods to a reliable logistics company, such as Good Logistics, is a surefire way of avoiding any problems and ensuring that your products reach their destination safely and on time.
By working with a seasoned logistics company, you will also have access to a wealth of industry knowledge and services that will make your life much easier. For instance, at Good Logistics, we have highly experienced customs agents who can help you navigate the customs process. As they are experts in international trade, they can also help you prepare all the paperwork and licences you need to import and export products to and from the UK successfully.
2. Weigh and measure your goods accurately
Disputes can result in additional charges and delays, so you must ensure that you avoid this risk by weighing and measuring your goods accurately before they are picked up. We recommend using a calibrated and certified digital scale to take measurements. It is also a good idea to take photographs of your goods while they are on the scale so you will have a visual record, which can prove useful if any problems arise.
3. Pack and label your freight correctly
You must always use the correct packaging and labelling when shipping your goods. For example, breakable items should be wrapped in protective materials and labelled as “fragile”, while larger pallet shipments must have a packing slip and carrier label. When labelling your shipments, you need to include an accurate description of the contents, along with a record of the weight and measurement.
Also, remember to secure a Bill of Lading (BOL) for your goods. The BOL should specify the contact details of both the shipper and the receiver, including their name and telephone number. Because your shipment can be delayed if the BOL has missing information, you should always double-check everything.
4. Secure EORI authorisation and other essential documents
If you are shipping goods to and from the EU, we would encourage you to secure all the requisite documentation to ensure your packages will cross the border safely and reach their final destination. The essential documents required for your shipments include the following:
a. EORI authorisation
You need a unique Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number to import and export physical goods to and from the EU. An EORI number lets the UK government and the European Commission know who is moving what type of goods to a specific place and for what purpose.
If you haven’t done so already, you should get in touch with HMRC and obtain EORI authorisation. You will need to submit your company registration information, tax records and VAT documentation to secure your EORI number. Once you have obtained your unique code, you will need to make sure that it appears on every customs declaration you make to avoid any EU to UK shipping delays.
b. Statement of origin
You must also secure a statement of origin to claim preference under the Trade and Cooperation Agreement. This certification is required to ensure compliance with the new rules on the origin of goods and to establish where your products have come from.
c. CN22 and CN23/commercial invoice
CN22 and CN23 are customs forms you must fill out when sending goods outside the UK through Royal Mail. If you use a private international courier, you will not need these documents. Instead, you will need to acquire a commercial invoice that includes all the important details about your goods.
d. Commodity code
Commodity codes are internationally recognised reference numbers that describe a particular product being exported or imported into the UK. The UK Tariff comprises a 10-digit numerical code, while its EU equivalent has 8 digits.
5. Create a customs payment deferment account
You may wish to consider setting up a customs payment deferment account to streamline your customs transactions. The customs deferment process will allow you to consolidate all your outstanding payments and VAT import/export charges in a single account, which is then charged after your goods clear customs. Not only will this help you free up cash flow, but it will also make it easier to settle customs payments when shipping goods to multiple destinations.
To create a customs payment deferment account, you will need to contact HMRC and determine whether you are eligible for a DAN code and account authorisation. You must also set aside and guarantee a specific amount for your expected monthly tax and duty payments.
As a business owner, we understand that you’d rather focus on running your business rather than deal with the complexities of international shipping and the customs process. This is why we highly encourage you to seek expert advice from us here at Good Logistics to avoid EU to UK shipping delays. With professional assistance, you can rest assured that everything will be done correctly, from the weighing and packing of your goods to securing all the necessary documentation and everything in between.
Do Your Homework to Stay Ahead of Shipping Delays
Preventing delays when shipping goods from the EU to the UK, and vice versa, is crucial if you want to maintain a high level of customer satisfaction and avoid the risk of potential profit losses. By following the advice outlined above and seeking professional help, you can ensure that your goods are delivered efficiently and on time, no matter what the destination.
Do you require any assistance moving goods to and from the UK? We will be only too happy to help! Get in touch with our team at Good Logistics and we will gladly provide you with all the expert guidance you need.