Planning your export transport and logistics

Transport and Logistics

When trading overseas, you will need to plan your transport & logistics

If you are looking to trade internationally, when planning your export strategy, you will need to think about transport & logistics. To help we have outlined some key information about the different delivery options that are available, look at freight forwarders & consider whether you should outsource your shipping.

You need to follow the rules and documentation requirements, depending on where you wish to export your products or services, so we have included details on some of the key export documentation that is needed. In our related blog post A brief guide to export legislation inside & beyond the EU you will also find useful information about paying VAT & duty, the UK trade tariff and using Incoterms.

Read the latest advice on preparing to export goods from the UK to the EU from January 1 2021

Choosing the right delivery option

Identifying the most appropriate type of transport for your products is important and may play a part in helping you win contracts. Offering timely & assured delivery methods, will potentially increase profits and help make sure your customers are happy with the service. Your local trade association or freight forwarding company can assist you with finding the best and most suitable option, but we have outlined the key advantages and disadvantages of each type to help you get started.


The advantages and disadvantages of road freight

The advantages and disadvantages of road freight

The advantages and disadvantages of sea freight

The advantages and disadvantages of sea freight

The advantages and disadvantages of rail freight

The advantages and disadvantages of rail freight

The advantages and disadvantages of air freight

The advantages and disadvantages of air freight

What about freight forwarders?

Freight forwarders are experts in logistics, helping companies move their shipments cost-effectively. They will advise and help manage the navigation of the processes and regulations required by different countries. Some may have their own transport and warehouses, but most simply source the best supplier from airlines, shipping lines or hauliers who will actually transport the goods.

Advantages – their industry expertise & knowledge – they can use their buying power to reduce transport costs – they have access to a worldwide network of customs agents – you can focus on your business not complex transport or customs procedures.

Disadvantages – the UK freight forwarding industry is unregulated, so you cannot guarantee service levels – it can be difficult to identify good from bad service providers – you are responsible for any documentation, even if it wasn’t completed by you – you may have little control over schedules or shipments.

Finding a Freight Forwarder – perhaps one of the best places to start would be the British International Freight Association (BIFA) who have about 1500 freight forwarders as registered members, trading under their terms and conditions. Another option is online price comparison and booking websites that give instant quote and cost comparisons, which make them the ideal place to review market prices and read user feedback.

Should you consider outsourcing your shipping?

When planning your export strategy you should consider the pros and cons of keeping international shipping in-house or outsourcing this activity. It’s important to think about the additional resources and costs that will be necessary, for your existing shipping and finance teams, to manage the logistics of global transport and compliance. Remember that collecting payments, customs & tax and export documentation will all add to the workload of your in-house teams.

Should you decide that outsourced shipping would be best for your business, there are a number of factors you need to think about:

- It will be your responsibility to ensure your products are accurately classified against the Harmonised codes because this tells customs what tariff rates to use. All relevant information about your products should be communicated clearly with the shipping office.

- Setup a clear Service Level Agreement between your company and the shipping office.

- Decide whether the shipping office will book & manage shipments as well as any paperwork.

- Ensure you communicate which type of transport best suits your needs.

- Dual-use – should this apply to your goods, you will need to help the shipping office with any documentation. In addition, it is your responsibility to stay informed about any issues relating to export controls or sanctions that might affect your market.

- Packing international orders is considered to be a specialist activity. Accurate and comprehensive packing lists help to facilitate border crossings, so you may also need to consider outsourcing this activity.

- Freight companies usually provide online order tracking, but make sure you understand what communication you and your customers can expect as your products are transported.

- In order to keep customers updated about their shipments, clear communication protocols should be established between your company and the shipping office. Setup a specific shipping email or contact number to ensure prompt responses and to assist with any problem-solving.

All you need to know about exporting goods outside the EU


Get Help & Advice from the Experts!

Guidance, as well as online information about exporting, is widespread, so it is vital that you make the most of the knowledge that is available from experts. Authorised agents or freight forwarders can help your company with export declarations as well as exporting in general. This will be especially important in the light of Brexit and the impact this has had on both European and global trading markets for UK exporters.

– Use Kompass Business Data to research and find contacts in your target markets.

– Department for International Trade Advisers should be considered key contacts for help and advice.

– Your Local Chamber of Commerce can help with export documentation and finance.

– UK Export Finance provides trade finance and insurance for exporting.

– B2BCentral works with partners to bring the benefits of B2B eCommerce to British SMEs.

– The Institute of Export gives advice, guidance, offers courses and qualifications.

– Find new export markets with a personalised Market Ranking Report from Kompass.

– Build your brand & global online presence with Kompass Digital Marketing solutions.

At Kompass we have more than 60 years experience, helping businesses grow – providing our customers with business data to help improve the results of their sales and marketing activity and driving relevant enquiries through globally optimised company profiles from more than 7.5M Kompass users. Contact us to find out more about how we can help you as you plan your export strategy.

Our Kompass Export Zone builds on our business information expertise, by giving access to straightforward guidance on some of the key factors to consider when exporting, research advice and country specific market information. For more advice on getting started on your export journey, see our 10 Top Tips for Exporting Success.

Disclaimer: Please note that this blog only contains general information and insights about legal matters. The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such.