Logistics 101

Everything you need to know about international pallet delivery customs and duty

All shipments leaving or entering Great Britain are subject to customs clearance. We aim to provide our customers with all the information they need to understand the process of customs clearance and what is required for goods to clear through customs efficiently.

Customs clearance is a process which takes place before goods leave the country of origin, and formally enter the destination country. There are charges for this in both countries which can change depending on which carrier is used, however the customs clearance charges are built into the vast majority of our services.

A commercial invoice is crucial to clearing the goods through Customs, as customs clearance agents will use the details supplied on the invoice to allow the goods out of, or into a country.

With our bespoke, integrated system, you have the option to generate your Commercial Invoice at the time of the booking. One of the most important pieces of information on the Invoice is the EORI number (Economic Operator Registration and Identification number.) An EORI number is required on almost all services, and is essentially an identification number for customs when importing or exporting.

The Incoterms are also required on the Commercial Invoice. They establish the sender and the receiver's responsibilities, and who's obligation it is to pay duties & taxes. Please be advised that some of our carriers will only accept DAP (Delivered at place) Incoterms currently, but we expect this to change in the future.

Commodity codes, also known as HS codes, are 10-digit references that represent the goods you are sending. These numbers are used all around the world and allow Customs to quickly identify the goods that are being sent. Commodity codes are specific to types of material, the size, intended use and other factors. The amount of tax or duty payable on the import of goods will depend on the commodity code used, so it is important to ensure you enter the correct code when completing your commercial invoice. We have multiple resources to help you find your commodity code on our Commodity code webpage.

With most freight forwarders, the sender and receiver would have to go away and find their own customs broker to clear the goods. Here at Pallet2Ship, we work with only the very best carriers who have Customs agents in each of the countries they deliver to, meaning you will no longer have to find your own agent.

We are often asked about import VAT and duty and how this is calculated, so allow us to explain: VAT is charged on the value of the goods as long as the value is over £135. This is charged at the destination countries VAT rate, for example 20% in the UK, 19% in Germany and 21% in Spain. Duty is an additional tax calculated as a percentage of the value of the goods and can fluctuate greatly depending on the type of goods being sent. The most common rates of duty are between 0-10%, however some can be as high as 35% or higher if a special rate has been introduced.

If you are arranging imports from Europe regularly, a deferment account may be something you want to consider. A deferment account allows you to make one payment a month for import VAT and duty through Direct Debit instead of paying for individual shipments.

We work tirelessly to ensure our customers have all of the information they need before booking a delivery. In our efforts, we have created a Duty Calculator where you can get an estimation of the duty and tax that would apply to your shipment. Please be advised that the calculator will only offer you an estimated value of customs duties levied on your cargo. Also, if you would like to learn more about taxes and duties, please visit the Government's website.

The final delivery of the goods can only take place once the duty and tax has been paid for, this means the co-operation of the receiver with the local Customs agent is essential for the goods to be delivered in good time. Goods are usually delivered within 24-72 hours after the payment has been made.

We believe that all our customers need to know what to expect when shipping a pallet internationally. As customs clearance is a relatively new procedure for many customers, we aim to offer them a clear picture of the requirements in place, and what steps need to be taken to ensure a smooth shipping process. Nevertheless, if you have further queries, please don't hesitate to contact us-internal link via email, phone or the website's live chat, and our team will gladly assist you.

If you have any questions regarding our services, tracking your shipment, or need advice, we're here

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