Basics of exporting

Transport considerations when exporting


Your responsibility for transport depends on your agreement with your customer or supplier. For example, you might be responsible for delivering the goods to a warehouse in the customer's country. Your obligations should be clearly set out in a written contract using Incoterms. Incoterms are standard trade terms that set out who is responsible for transporting goods, insuring the goods during transportation, paying duties and customs clearance.

Modes of transport when exporting

The best mode of transport for your goods will depend on the type of goods and how quickly they need to be delivered. You may need more than one mode, for example, sending goods by lorry to a port in the UK and then by ship overseas. The goods will need suitable packaging and labelling for transportation. It may be possible for your goods to be sent via post. Read more about international transport and distribution.

Depending on the contract, you may need to arrange insurance. Marine insurance can cover transport by air, road or rail as well as by sea.

Normally, you are responsible for UK customs procedures and your customer looks after customs in their country. In any case, you must ensure that you have the right paperwork.

Freight forwarders when exporting

Most companies use a specialist freight forwarder to handle transport. Confirm exactly what they will do and whether they can handle all documentation and other procedures. Read more about using brokers and forwarders.

Look for a forwarder who exports regularly to that destination. They can 'consolidate' your goods with other consignments in a single container to reduce costs. Reputable freight forwarders are usually members of the British International Freight Association (BIFA).

Getting international transport right can be complicated. You can get advice from a member of Invest NI International Trade team. Find out about the export support available from Invest NI.