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Navigating International Shipments from the UK: A Guide to Success

Insights Navigating International Shipments from the UK: A Guide to Success

For businesses based in the UK, international shipping can offer access to new markets and a broader customer base. However, the process can also be complex and challenging without the right strategies in place. This issue has become particularly acute since Brexit with our main European market now being an international shipment rather than a ‘domestic’ shipment. In this guide, we'll explore practical steps to make international shipping from the UK easier and more likely to succeed.

1.Research and Understand Regulations

One of the critical factors in successful international shipping is a comprehensive understanding of regulations governing shipments. So your choice is either to familiarize yourself with the import and export regulations of the countries you plan to ship to, including any restrictions on specific products. Being aware of customs duties, taxes, and documentation requirements will help you avoid delays and ensure smooth transactions.

Alternatively, you work with a partner (that’s where we come in) who can provide you with the necessary expertise and the documentation you will require. We can provide the Commercial Invoice with appropriate commodity codes and tax details and guide you through Incoterms, EORI numbers, EIC codes and KYC documents.

2. Choose the Right Shipping Partner

Selecting the right shipping partner is crucial for a seamless international shipping experience. Look for reliable carriers with a proven track record of international deliveries. Consider factors such as shipping times, tracking capabilities, and cost-effectiveness. Building a strong relationship with a reputable shipping company will contribute significantly to the success of your international shipments. PDI has worked with DHL for our parcels for over 10 years – we could find a ‘cheaper’ alternatives but this would lead to problems and delivery issues, and end up costing more.

3.Provide Accurate and Detailed Documentation

Accurate documentation is essential for hassle-free international shipping. Ensure that all required paperwork, such as commercial invoices, packing lists, and certificates of origin, are complete and accurate. Mistakes or missing information can lead to customs clearance issues, causing delays and potentially product being destroyed. Invest time in understanding the documentation requirements for each destination country or pick a partner who has the experience.

4.Use Technology for Tracking and Communication

Take advantage of technology to enhance tracking and communication throughout the shipping process. Use tracking systems provided by your chosen shipping partner to monitor the progress of your shipments in real-time. Maintain open and transparent communication with both your shipping partner and customers, providing tracking information and estimated delivery times. This helps manage expectations and builds trust with your international customers.

 5. Streamline Packaging and Labelling

Good packaging and clear labelling are crucial aspects of successful international shipping. We always ensure that your products are packaged securely to withstand the rigors of international transit. Clearly label packages with accurate shipping information, including addresses and tracking numbers. Compliance with international packaging standards can prevent damage and ensure that customs officials can easily identify and inspect your shipments.

6. Give yourself time

The biggest issue. DHL, FedEx, UPS and other carriers will quote transit times for your International deliveries. However, these take little account of the clearance processes of customs. Even with good documentation and labelling a customs authority can delay clearance whilst additional checks take place, we can minimise this but never prevent completely. Remember as well, that many countries have public and religious holidays which do not coincide with UK holidays.

The solution is to build in time to your shipment, this particularly applies if your goods are required for a specific event date. Speak to PDI and we will advise about the times required for various countries.


By: Louise Bone