New to Shipping ?
Looking to start exporting your goods to new markets or importing goods? Talk to us, we will help you to get going and make a success of your exciting plans. We will act as your dedicated Shipping Manager! To start with read our guides to Exporting Goods and Importing Goods.
Guides to Export and Import
We have created some Import and Export guides where you can find some useful information about the Import and Export processes.
Guide to Exporting Goods
For international exports there are a number of shipping and transport options open for you and the process can seem difficult and complex. Here is a guide to assist you in making this process a success. But before we go into shipping your products you need to do some homework…
Do your Market research
Research your export market by visiting and showcasing your product in local exhibitions and trade fairs. Establish the demand for your product, valuate and size up your competitors, check prices, legislative requirements, import taxes etc. Make sure your product is compliant with the local standards and regulations.
Talk to your Chamber of Commerce, they will give you valuable advice and support. Find a local agent/partner to work with who can support the distribution and after sale support like product maintenance etc. if appropriate.
Formulate an export strategy, allocate resources and set goals for the new market. Use Incoterms to avoid confusion
Agree Incoterms 2010 with your customers
For a successful partnership with an international buyer you need to make sure responsibilities are clearly understood, and then written down in a language everyone agrees to. Using Incoterms in a well-written contract will help you do this.
Incoterms, or International Commercial Terms, is an internationally accepted system of trading terms for the delivery of goods. In setting out contracts you'll need to include specific clauses on shipping of the goods.
To avoid confusion, internationally agreed incoterms should be used to spell out exactly what delivery terms are being agreed, such as:
- where the goods will be delivered
- who arranges transport
- who is responsible for insuring the goods, and who pays for insurance
- who handles customs procedures, and who pays any duties and taxes
However, please note the incoterms does not define when titles of goods is transferred and does not address the price, currency or credit terms. This needs to be agreed separately in the sales contract.
Read more on international trade contracts and incoterms
Read more about the Incoterms.
Agree Terms of Payment
Agree payment terms with your buyer and make sure you are covered if credit has to be agreed. Hold on to your Bill of Lading until you have been paid in full. Insure or use a Letter of Credit to safeguard against non-payments. Be careful not to lose on exchange rate fluctuations. Match or hedge your currency exposure.
Get your Export Documentation right
Check what documentation is required for exporting, and get a Customs code for your product. Do you need an export license? Check what documentation is required for the country you are exporting to. Do you need an import license, Certificate of Origin or any other document certifying the origin of the product? Many if thede certificates are issued by the Chamber of Commerce. Do you need insurance cover?
Produce a packing list which include description of the product, customs code, dimensions and weight, including packaging. Produce a Pro-forma invoice to your customer showing your customers name and address, description of product and customs code, number of units packed, unit price, total price, currency and agreed credit and delivery terms (Incoterms).
Establish the lead time from order to the product is packed and ready for shipment.
When you are shipping and transporting goods across borders, the right paperwork is crucial. Missing or inaccurate documents can lead to delays and extra costs, fines or even prevent a deal from being completed.
Get to know which paperwork you require from Sagam Logistics. There are many types of documents which are specific to your shipping or transport method.
Air freight documentation
An "air waybill" sets out the contract between your business and the carrier you're using. The e-freight project aims to remove all paperwork from air cargo transportation. Find out more about the e-freight scheme on the International Air Transport Association (IATA) website.
Sea freight documentation
All your consignments must be accompanied by either a Bill of Lading" or Sea Waybill. These documents clearly set out who the consignment owner is and the terms of the contract of carriage.
A Bill of Lading allows you to retain ownership of the goods until you release the bills to your customer. It is risky to release the goods before full payment has been made unless you know your customer's credit worthiness. Bills of lading give you documentary security and more control over your consignments.
Choose your Method of Shipping and Transport
You can use road, rail, air and sea to transport your goods, or any combination of these, full load (FCL) or groupage (LCL). The most obvious choice in transportation might not always be the best. Take into account your budget, timescales, you product – size, weight, perishability, security, special requirements, dangerous goods etc.
Let's discuss the options with you and give you an insight into the pros and cons of the different methods. We offer a wide range of expertise and services
- consolidate smaller shipments to save you time and money
- Advice on rules and regulations and help you navigate the complexities of more challenging markets
- Act as an intermediary when you're transporting to a new market
- Arrange and manage multimodal shipments.
Know your Customs and licenses responsibilities
Your main focus as an exporter is getting your product and services to your customer, so you can get paid and your customer will be satisfied. But you also need to comply with export laws and regulations.
This is fairly straight forward. But depending on what you're exporting and where it's going, this could potentially involve complying with some regulations and paperwork.
- Customs duties and reliefs
- Intrastat declarations
- Export licenses
- Temporary export permits (to a trade fair, for instance)
- Certificates and permissions
You must comply with any relevant regulations before you ship your goods or deliver any services. You need to be aware of them in the research stage so you can factor resource time and costing into your dealings.
Insure your products
We strongly recommend that you insure your products. An "All Risk Marine Cargo Insurance" cover loss or damage to your cargo in transit. The term "All Risks" broadly speaking means any accidental event which is external to the cargo. War and Strikes, Terrorism, General Average contributions and salvage cover, subject to terms.
This isn't because we're accident prone. We are not!
We will work hard to get your products from A to B as quickly and safely as possible, but shipping is just like every other business. No matter how hard you try to make sure every-thing goes right, something will occasionally go wrong. Accidents, bankruptcies, strikes and extreme weather conditions – all can put your products at risk, if only by delaying its arrival.
Over the years, we've become expert at responding to the unforeseen, and in the unlikely event of an incident we will be there to help you.
If you need advice on which insurance to buy, we will provide you with detailed quotes tailored to your requirements. We will arrange cover, issue policy documentation and help you if you need to make a claim.
Guide to Importing Goods
If you're new to importing, here's an overview of the steps involved in getting your goods through customs and paying any duties or taxes involved. Your goods may also need a clean bill of health from the Port Health and other authorities like Trading Standards, Forestry Commission and Animal & Plant Health Agency before the goods can be released to you - so we'll cover that as well.
Customs can be a pretty daunting to deal with. But don't worry – if you don't have a customs agent, we can deal with them on your behalf.
We'll need your help in compiling all the information needed for customs clearance.
Your information will be compiled into a customs entry that we'll send electronically to Customs with a follow-up with any original paperwork they require.
In some cases, they might want to examine the goods and/or containers involved – to make sure the goods are what you say they are and to ensure that nothing untoward has been hidden in the shipment
A customs commodity code
Customs use the Commodity Code to determine the rates of duty and GST payable on goods imported.
The process of choosing a code can be fairly straightforward, but some types of goods can be very confusing especially if you have limited knowledge of the tariff.
You can contact Sagam Logistics Reach Us, it's easier to come to us. We're happy to help.
Freight and insurance costs
Customs need the details of the amount you paid to transport and insure the goods from the point of origin to the port of arrival. This amount is used to calculate and determine the amount of import duty and Tax you have to pay.
If you have a deferment account, we will need written authority from you to charge any Duty and Tax to this account.
If you don't have a deferment account, don't worry – there are other ways to pay.
Talk to us and we'll provide a solution for you.
Bill of lading (original bill of lading)
When agents, air- or shipping lines overseas accept goods for shipment they issue the exporter with a Bill of Lading or Air waybill this is like a receipt and it also forms part of a contract of terms and conditions under which shipping- and air-lines agree the movement of your goods.
Bills of Lading can be issued as originals or more commonly as a Sea Waybill or Express Bill. If you have an Original Bill of Lading issued at Origin then the shipper must forward these to you so you as consignee can surrender the Originals to the line to enable your goods to be release to you from their control. If the goods are on an Express Bill or Sea waybills you do not have to present a Bill of Lading just satisfy the line that you are the consignee and are entitled to the goods.
So if an original bill has been issued we will require you to send the Original Bill document to us or direct to carrier or liner agent to release your goods once it has arrived. The Bill of Lading proves you have ownership of the goods.
The firm or individual that exported the goods will normally send the Bill of Lading directly to you by post, but if purchase of the goods was arranged using a letter of credit, you will need to get Bill of Lading from the bank involved with the Letter of Credit.
Know Commercial invoice
The person or company who sold the goods to you, often referred to as the Supplier, Shipper or Consignor must give you an invoice showing at least:
- The supplier's name and contact details.
- Your name and contact details.
- A description of the goods.
- A statement of the number of packages they are packed in.
- The value of the goods – both value and currency.
The Terms of Shipment
Normally the Incoterms 2010 are used. For example, CIF (cost, insurance and freight) or FOB (free on board)
Details of the shipment, such as the name of the vessel and the container number.
Your supplier should send you a packing list. For customs purposes, it should include:
- The supplier's name and contact details.
- Your name and contact details.
- A description of the goods.
- The number of packages included in the shipment.
- The net (total) weight.
- Details of any shipping marks.
- Details of the shipment, such as the name of the vessel and the container number.
We might also require...
In some cases additional documentation will be required.
An original preference certificate
Preference certificates entitle importers to a reduced rates of duty.
The reduction is only applicable to certain types of goods from certain countries. There are several different types of certificate.
If your goods can be considered as preference and we are arranging the shipment we can help you by getting the Certificate raised and stamped/endorsed in the country of origin.
Original certificate of origin
In some cases, you will need to prove the country of origin of the goods. This is particularly the case if you are importing textiles.
Like preference certificates, certificates of origin are issued by authorities in the countries where the goods come from.
Again, we can help you to get the paperwork, if you need it.
Original import licence
When you choose a customs commodity code, you may find out that for some types of goods you require an Import licence to import your goods. For the majority of goods you don't require an import licence.
Port Health & other Agencies & Authorities
The movement of goods through ports and airports is governed by Customs and local Port Health authority together with a few authorities such as Trading Standards, Forestry Commission and Animal & Plant Health Agency.
These authorities take a particular interest in shipments of specific commodities for example foodstuffs, animal products, plants, electrical goods, copyright goods. This is all to ensure commodities are of a standard and meet legislative requirements.
For the majority of products of non- animal or plant- origin all that is required to customs clear and release your goods are copies of the commercial invoice and Bill of Lading to identify the goods.
For food or food ingredients be it fresh, frozen or chilled – for example, eggs, milk, animal skins, meat, honey and mayonnaise – the authorities will need a more details, please take a look at our guide on Food, Fruit & Vegetable, Goods of Animal origin to assist you further.
The final clearance is only approved once all Authorities and Governing bodies at the Port Border have released their control on the goods.
When applicable duty or tax has been paid and your cargo has been released by Customs and the Airline or Shipping Lines have received the Original Bill of Lading or Express release waybill the goods will be ready for delivery.
It's up to you to arrange delivered of your goods. You can ask us to assist you, or you might want to arrange this yourselves or make your own collection at the port. Please note some types of goods are not possible to collect direct from the port.
Either way, an appointment needs to be made for the goods to be collected and the shipping line or airline's costs must to be paid in advance. In most cases will can do this for you.
For a full container load, bookings can be made to pick up the container from a port at an allotted time period. For less than a container load or Airfreight, we normally get a delivery date and offer either a morning or an afternoon delivery slot. Timed deliveries can be arranged and also specific handling or delivery vehicles can be provided.
If your cargo is not collected from the port or warehouse within a certain free period of time, rent and demurrage will be charged. This free time varies from line to line, but is normally between five and seven days, however there are some shipments which can be as little 3 days. For airfreight goods it is only 24 hours!
To avoid these costs, please discuss your delivery requirements as soon as you can with us and ideally a week before your goods due to arrive. Send the documentation to us as early as possible – preferably, before the consignment arrives, so we can prepare the import process. This will leave us time to calculate the costs and sort out any problems with the documentation.
Guide to Moving Home, Transfer of Residence
In most cases, people shipping their furniture, clothes and other personal effects are doing so for the first and only time. If you're one of them, there's no need to worry. Sagam Logistics is here to help! Here's our guide to what's involved...
What is your residential status?
The first thing to remember is that if you're resident in the country and simply want to import one or more items you brought outside, those items will be treated as a commercial import and usually liable to Import Duty & TAX.
The second thing is that the information below applies only if you're moving house from somewhere outside
What can you bring? And what will it cost?
There's no such thing as a duty-free allowance when you're moving the contents of your home by non-accompanied Freight. A duty-free allowance is only applicable when you personally hand carry goods through customs control, like when you come back from holiday or business trip and walk through border control.
Customs do offer Import Tax relief on some goods Imported when transferring residence
The paperwork you'll need
The paperwork you'll need
Before your personal effects arrive in the country, you'll need to have prepared the documentation, so we suggest making contact with us before you are making arrangements to send your goods, we can then help you to get all the documents ready for when your cargo arrives.
Give us a call or send us an email, we will be pleased to assist you.
We have further information & advice papers available to assist you with the application, if you would like further assistance do make contact with us.
Wines and spirits
Tobacco products (cigarettes, cigars, tobacco and so on)
Anything on the prohibited or restricted goods list (see below).
Items that are less than 6 months old and anything you are importing for commercial, rather than domestic purposes will attract both Import Duty and Tax. Plus of course some items might attract Excise Duty or other types of Import levy.
Are those banned completely. They include unlicensed drugs, offensive weapons, indecent and obscene material featuring children, pornographic material, counterfeit and pirated goods, meat, milk and other animal products.
Can be imported only if you have authority to do so. They include all items that need an import licence, such as firearms, explosives and ammunition, endangered species, certain live animals and plants and their produce, and radio transmitters.
If you have any restricted items or items you are not sure about you must seek further advice before packing them. Otherwise 'If in Doubt leave it out!' Don't have it packed in your consignment, it will only cause problems for you! Any item prohibited or restricted needs to be declared as part of your declaration.
Of course some items maybe allowed as part of a personal allowance but ONLY if you were to hand carry and declare through Border control upon your arrival through an Airport or Port.
Getting your effects from the port to your new home
We can then help you and have your cargo delivered. There are many things to consider before you can book delivery. What the access is like to your house or self-store/garage? Can you unload the cargo, can you carry it, is it very big, how far will you have to carry it? Do you need to have assistance to unload it? We can discuss these points with you and if required point you in the right direction or maybe even offer a solution and arrange additional services through our partners.