Logistics

Your checklist

Create a logistics plan for exporting to EU markets

Having developed sales of your products to your selected EU markets, check you can fulfil your export orders on time and securely.

A logistics plan is an essential part of your export plan to ensure you have administration and knowledge in house.

Consider the different logistics options for your company

Logistics options for getting your products effectively to market include those from well-known providers, such as Royal Mail and Parcelforce, and couriers such as UPS, Fedex and DHL through to specialist freight forwarders. 

To choose the right logistics options for your company, consider what you require from your logistics partner.

Seek out the most competitive rates and service available. 

Your choice may depend on factors, such as:

  • The freight forwarder’s knowledge of the target EU market
  • Whether they have a presence in that market
  • Whether you require warehousing and storage of the product
  • How competitive their pricing is

A good and trusted logistics partner will be invaluable to your export development.

Take the time to identify and explore the best fit with your needs as a company, and for the individual EU markets.

Find logistics partners on the BIFA website

Ensure you understand Incoterms

A good and trusted logistics partner will often take responsibility for any export documentation required, and the most efficient route into the market for your product.

Also, be familiar with key logistics terms, and the logistics process and requirements, even if you have outsourced this to a logistics partner.

Incoterms (International Commercial Terms) are the commonly used terms which, for each export transaction to your selected EU market, define the responsibilities and roles of the buyer and seller. 

The Incoterm defines:

  • Who is responsible for the goods at each stage of the export transaction
  • Where and when responsibility for the goods pass from buyer to seller
  • When payment for the goods becomes due

Each transaction should clearly indicate the Incoterm that is to determine the cost obligation and liability towards the safe transportation of the subject. 

The most common Incoterms are Ex Works (ExW) where the seller’s premises or factory is the designated point for packed goods to be dispatched. Getting the goods to the market is the buyer’s responsibility and risk. 

Delivery Duty Paid (DDP) is at the other end of the Incoterms spectrum where the seller is responsible. They bear the risk of getting the goods to the final market destination specified by the buyer. 

Read more about Incoterms rules on the International Chamber of Commerce website

Make sure your documentation is correct

Know what documents are needed to be in place for any export transaction to the EU. 

There is free movement of goods and services in EU markets so document requirements are significantly less for EU markets than other international markets.

A good export logistics partner can advise you of the documents needed for your product for the different EU markets.

Remember that while membership of the EU Customs Union allows for cross-border trade without customs involvement, this provision only applies for goods that have ‘free circulation’ status.

'Free circulation' status applies to all goods that have been produced in the EU, or that have been imported into the EU with duty paid. 

Get the right support and advice

Other helpful resources which provide information on logistics in the EU include:

British International Freight Association

International Chamber of Commerce 

Discuss the EU logistics for your business with one of our export advisers. They'll help you prepare and plan for trading with the EU – a free service for any business based in Scotland.

Contact us

Ask our export advisers about preparing an export plan.

Disclaimer

All information provided on this web page is for general guidance only. The contents of this guide have been provided by our training partners, Upper Quartile. Upper Quartile is not affiliated with any of the third parties or listings represented on our website. Third party listings are drawn from public domain and industry body data sources. Due diligence on a given third party or listing remains the exclusive responsibility of the end user. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the details represented, Upper Quartile and Scottish Enterprise cannot endorse, recommend or accept responsibility for any transactions conducted between the user and a given third party or listing provided on this web page.