Using A Freight Forwarder When Importing Goods To The UK

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It’s no secret that more and more people are shopping online as the result of the pandemic, and the business is booming. Rather than driving to a shopping centre, parking about half a million miles from where you need to be, and then trudging from shop to shop trying to find what you want, people have discovered that it is so much easier to search online, place an order, and have it delivered the next day.

As a result, there is a boom in savvy businessmen and women who are setting up in business importing goods from overseas and selling them on Amazon, eBay, and so on, or setting up a Shopify store. There is good money to be made, and the market is expanding rapidly. Provided you can find the right goods to sell, this is something well worth pursuing.

However, when you are importing goods from overseas, you have to have them transported from wherever they are manufactured to the UK, and this involves shipping. Now you could make all the arrangements for this yourself, but there is a lot of paperwork involved and a lot of knowledge required. For this reason, many importers prefer to use the services of a freight forwarder who will handle all this for them.

A freight forwarder is an individual or company that deals with all the paperwork and processes behind the scenes that are needed to get your goods from one place to another. Many freight forwarders also act as customs brokers, and so can handle the whole process from end to end. This can involve any, or all, of the following steps:

  • Arranging transport from the origin – such as your supplier’s factory or warehouse – to the port or airport for shipment.
  • Preparing documents, licenses and all relevant paperwork for export at the point of origin.
  • Negotiating, booking and loading cargo for sea or air freight.
  • Tracking delivery as needed.
  • Preparing documents, licenses and all relevant paperwork for UK customs authorities.
  • Arranging haulage and delivery to your agreed location in the UK.

In many cases it is not the freight forwarders who handle all the steps themselves because they will subcontract things to others. So, for instance, they may arrange for a carrier to collect the goods from the factory and deliver them to the airport or shipping warehouse, and arrange for another to collect them at this end and deliver to your warehouse.

The advantages of using a freight forwarder are many. To begin with, you only need to deal with one individual yourself, as the forwarder will have all the contacts in place that are needed. They can deal with all the complex processes that are involved and they can find service providers almost anywhere to complete the various stages of the process. Freight forwarders can negotiate on shipping, haulage, and warehousing costs on your behalf.

However, one of the things that you will need to do is to take care of the commercial freight insurance. This is because freight forwarders arrange for shipments of goods that can have vastly different values, and they cannot carry insurance to cover everything because they don’t know from one day to the next what they are going to be moving.

At The Insurance Broker, we can arrange for commercial freight insurance for your goods so that they are covered for any loss or damage that may occur during shipment. Premiums are not generally very expensive, but it gives you peace of mind that if the goods that you have paid for are lost or damaged then you are fully covered for that loss.