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Category Archives: Freight Forwarder Experience

Freight Forwarding – Air Cargo to Kuwait from the UK

If you have cargo to send via air to Kuwait from the UK, then look no further.  Mercator Cargo can handle all aspects of your air freight shipment to Kuwait for you.  We are a family-run, independent freight forwarding agent, based in the UK.  Over 20 years ago, our MD (Paul) founded Mercator Cargo, and he is still a big part in the business today.

We have a small but expert export department who deal with air freight on a daily basis.  Our in-house freight forwarders arrange cargo to Kuwait regularly.  In partnership with our fellow Marco Polo Line agent in Kuwait, we are able to offer a full shipping service to Kuwait, from pick up in the UK to delivery to door in Kuwait and all the bits in between.

There are daily flights to Kuwait from the UK, and transit takes less than a day, so it is ideal for urgent shipments.  Air cargo rates are based on weight and dimensions, so if you would like to call us for a quote, it would be helpful if you have these to hand.

Mercator Cargo has recently expanded their air freight services, and are now members of IATA (International Air Transport Association).  This means that Mercator has access to special rates and direct contact with air freight carriers, so we are able to offer options and competitive prices.

Give our export team a call today to discuss the requirements of your air cargo shipment to Kuwait – Tel. 02392 756 575. Email:


Request a Quote for Air Freight to Kuwait


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Freight Forwarding – Shipping to Dubai from the UK

When choosing a freight forwarder to handle your shipping to Dubai, you’ll need to make sure that they are able to offer all the services that you require.  A reputable freight forwarder will be able to offer:

  • All documentation required for shipping to Dubai;
  • Pick up in the UK and delivery to port/airport;
  • Sea or air freight to Dubai;
  • Clearance at customs in Dubai (usually in conjunction with a partner agent based in Dubai);
  • Delivery to door in Dubai.

When shipping to Dubai, it is important that the specific documents required are supplied upon arrival, to ensure the smooth transit of your goods.  As an experienced freight forwarder this is something that Mercator is able to offer; we can arrange to have commercial goods certified.

Another important service to look for in a freight forwarder when shipping to Dubai is that they have a reliable and tested partner agent locally.  Mercator Cargo has these contacts as a founding member of the global network of freight forwarders Marco Polo Line (MPL).  MPL consists of small to medium independent freight forwarders across the globe, all with the same ethos as Mercator: the customer is king.  All members of the network are vetted, so we know, and you know, that your cargo is in good hands.  When arranging your shipment to Dubai, we will ask our partner agent out there to customs clear and deliver your goods to the door in Dubai (if you require these services).

There are weekly sailings from Tilbury and Southampton, transit time via sea is approximately 20 days.  There are daily flights from the UK to Dubai airport, and these take a matter of hours.

To discuss our shipping services to Dubai and to obtain a quote, give our export team a call today – Tel. 02392 756 575. Email:


Request a Quote for Shipping to Dubai


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Freight Forwarding – Shipping to New York from the UK

If you have a shipment for New York, whether it is a full 40 foot container load, a 20 foot container load, a part load, or palletised goods, then give Mercator Cargo a ring today.  Mercator is a small, but experienced freight forwarding agent, our export team deals with shipping to New York on a regular basis.

If your goods are a full container load, or are particularly heavy, you may opt for a sea freight transit, which takes around 7-10 days from the UK (from Southampton or Felixstowe) to New York.  Air freight might be your preferred choice if the cargo is urgent, or particularly lightweight (air freight is calculated by weight and volume, whereas full containers via sea freight are priced on a per unit basis).

There are several carriers which we have worked with for a number of years that offer shipping to New York from the UK.  Using our long-standing relationship with these carriers we can do the hardwork of getting the best price for you, and arrange all aspects of your shipment for New York.

When your goods arrive in New York, they will need to be cleared through customs.  Using our partner agent in the USA, we can arrange this for you, as well as delivery to the door in New York (if it is required).

Give our export team a call today to discuss your shipping to New York and to obtain a quotation for air or sea freight – Tel. 02392 756 575. Email:


Request a Quote for Shipping to New York, USA


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Freight Forwarding – Shipping Container to South Africa from the UK

If you have goods to send to South Africa then get in touch with Mercator Cargo today.  We have been exporting goods to South Africa for many years and are well versed in the ins and outs of shipping to South Africa.  We generally deal with containers or pallets to South Africa rather than small parcels or packages.  But get in touch, as even if your shipment is small, we may be able to palletise it.

We have a partner agent based in South Africa, who handles all our customs clearance and deliveries locally.  Mercator Cargo is rather special for this reason.  We are a founding member of the international network of independent freight forwarders Marco Polo Line (MPL).  We have partner agents in almost every country in the world who handle our shipments once they’ve reached their destination country.  These agents are tried and tested (MPL do not just let anyone join without checking and monitoring) so you can rest assured your cargo is in safe hands.

Even if your shipment is smaller than a full container, it might be worth considering a 20 foot container to send to South Africa, or arrange a groupage shipment.  ‘Groupage’ is where lots of smaller shipments are loaded into a shared shipping container, this can reduce costs (rather than paying for a full container shipment).  If loading for a groupage shipment, we may advise for your cargo to be palletised, as generally palletised cargo is less likely to be damaged during handling.

It might be worth noting that for groupage shipments, cost is calculated on a volume and weight basis, whereas shipping a full container to South Africa is on a per unit basis.  Sea freight containers take around 23 days to sail to Cape Town, or 28 days to arrive in Durban.

Give one of our export team a call today to discuss shipping a container (or groupage shipment) to South Africa from the UK and obtain a quotation – Tel. 02392 756 575. Email:


Request a Quote for Container Shipping to South Africa


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Freight Forwarding – Shipping to Chile from the UK

The main calling points in Chile are Antofagasta, which is near a mining region, and Santiago, the capital city of Chile.  Most sea freight services call at both ports in the South American country.  We see many engineering and component parts being shipped to Antofagasta for the mining industry, and other commodities to Santiago.

There are direct sea freight shipping services to Chile, which sail via the Panama Canal.  Transit time for sea freight is approximately 24 days.  Air freight generally calls at Santiago, where it is unpacked and handled for its onward journey.

Mercator Cargo regularly handles shipments to Chile, and we have a partner agent based in Santiago.  Our partner agent will be able to clear your goods through customs and arrange for delivery to door.  This is a valuable part of our service.  Through our founding membership of the global freight forwarding network Marco Polo Line (MPL) we are able to offer this service in almost every country around the world.  Our contacts with local freight forwarders mean we have access to local information, such as customs and documentation requirements.

Our services to Chile can be comprehensive, or we can arrange just certain aspects:

  • Collection of goods from your base in the UK;
  • Delivery to warehouse or port in the UK;
  • Packing at a UK warehouse for transit;
  • Air or sea freight to Chile;
  • Marine insurance;
  • Documentation;
  • Customs Clearance in Chile;
  • Delivery to door in Chile.

Chile is an EUR. 1 country.  What does this mean?  An EUR. 1 form is a movement certificate, which is required for the movement of goods between EUR. 1 countries in order to claim a reduced rate of duty, or a zero duty rate, and to certificate the origin of the goods.

To discuss this further and to enquire about our shipping services to Chile, call our freight forwarding team today and talk to our export department – Tel. 02392 756 575. Email:


Request a Quote for Shipping to Chile


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Freight Forwarding – Importing Goods into the UK, Paying VAT and Duty

If you have not imported goods into the UK before, you may be wondering how import VAT and duty works.

How much VAT and duty will I need to pay?

HMRC uses a ‘tariff’ to determine the rate (a percentage) of VAT and duty that needs to be paid on customs clearance.  This means that the rate is dependent upon what your goods are, and their worth.  Take a look here:  Our team of freight forwarders will classify your goods when we handle your shipment and/or customs clearance, calculate the amount payable, and handle payments to HMRC (if required).

Who is responsible for paying for the VAT and duty?

You, as the importer, are responsible for settling any VAT and duty payable upon your goods arrival in the UK.  Your goods will not be released from customs until this is settled.  Most of our customers opt to use us to clear their import through customs.  Our standard procedure is to calculate the rate of VAT and duty payable, an invoice is raised for this amount, once funds from our customer has cleared into our account, we forward the payment to HMRC with the necessary release instructions.  Customs clearance is required for both air and sea imports.

Can I claim back VAT and duty?

If you are VAT registered, then you should be able to claim back any import VAT (not duty).  To import into the UK you will require an EORI number (Economic Operator Registration and Identification).  This is a straight forward process of filling in a form, you should receive your EORI number within a week.  We can assist you with this if required.

Give us a call to discuss Mercator Cargo handling your shipment, or UK customs clearance and delivery.  Our team of freight forwarders deal with UK clearance and delivery, and international shipping on a daily basis – Tel. 02392 756 575. Email:


Request a Quote for UK Customs Clearance


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Freight Forwarding – Shipping to Jordan from the UK

If you have cargo to be shipped to Jordan you’ll need to make a few decisions about your shipment.  The first decision is whether you wish for the goods to travel via air or sea freight.  The first obvious difference between sea and air is the transit time.  Shipping via sea freight to Jordan can take around 14 days (via the Suez Canal), whereas air freight to Jordan arrives within the same day.

The second main difference between sea and air shipping is the cost.  Air freight comes at a premium, but if your shipment is urgent, you may choose to transport your goods in this way.  Sea freight liners operate to Aqaba from Felixstowe in the UK, and air freight is generally to Amman from major UK airports.

It is wise to appoint a freight forwarder to handle your shipping to Jordan as they can arrange all aspects for you at your instruction.  This is especially valuable to your business if you are unfamiliar with shipping.  Without specific knowledge of shipping and also local restrictions in Jordan, mistakes can be rather costly.

Our export team handles shipping to Jordan regularly, and we have a partner office in Amman thanks to our founding membership of the global freight forwarding network Marco Polo Line (MPL).  MPL is an exclusive network of small to medium sized independent freight forwarders, and all members are carefully vetted before being allowed into the group.  So we can be safe in the knowledge that our worldwide partners operate how we do, with the customer at the forefront of what we do.

Our partner agent in Amman, Jordan, will be able to arrange clearance at the port, advise of any required documents, and arrange for a delivery to door (if required).  This is rather special as there are not many UK based forwarders who will be able to handle your whole shipment with you from start to finish.

Give our export team a call today to discuss your shipment to Jordan, either via air or sea freight – Tel. 02392 756 575. Email:


Request a Quote for Shipping to Jordan


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Do you want to buy a Shipping Container for Storage?

Shipping containers have many uses as we discussed in a recent blog post about low-cost housing for the homeless

You might be considering buying a shipping container as a solution to a storage problem on your premises.  If you’ve got the space outside, and a 40 foot, or even a 20 foot container will suit your storage needs, the next step is to find one for sale.

This is where we might be able to help.  We’re Mercator Cargo, an independent, family-run freight forwarder based in the UK.  We work with customers all over the world helping them ship their goods from one country to the next.  We deal with shipping lines on a daily basis who own the shipping containers.  Our contact means that we know who to ask to purchase a shipping container and can arrange the sale for you.

Most people opt for a second-hand shipping container as they are a great deal more cost-effective than a brand new one.  If you are using the container for storage then you will want to have peace of mind in knowing your shipping container has no leaks and is clean.

Once we’ve found the container for you, we can arrange for a haulier with a special truck to drop the container to the ground at your premises.

Call us today to discuss the possibilities of sourcing a shipping container for you to solve your storage needs – Tel. 02392 756 575. Email:

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Freight Forwarding – Cargo to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

If you have cargo to send to Jeddah, whether it is a pallet of goods or a full 40 foot container, you will need to appoint a freight forwarder to handle the shipping for you.  Before you reel back in your chair thinking ‘this sounds expensive’, it really doesn’t have to be.  By appointing a well-established and experienced freight forwarder, you could actually save money.  Sounds unreal?  Well, a good freight forwarder will shop around for the best price for their customers, and with their knowledge, mistakes (which are often costly) can be avoided.

Mercator Cargo has been running since 1991 under the Goehlert family, our founder is still a large part of the business today and the family make up over 50% of the workforce.  We regularly arrange for cargo to be sent to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.  We are familiar with which carriers offer which services to Jeddah and have built working relationships.  Both of these elements allow us to get the best price and service for our clients.

Mercator Cargo is a founding member of the international freight forwarding network Marco Polo Line (MPL), and as such we have a partner office in Saudi Arabia.  Having this personal contact in your cargo’s destination means we can draw on the local knowledge of Saudi Arabia, for example customs and documentation requirements, and offer a ‘to door’ service.

In terms of sea freight to send your cargo to Jeddah, there are regular sailings departing from Southampton and Tilbury in the UK.  Some carriers offer an ‘express’ sea freight service to Jeddah taking just 11 days, whereas using a regular service can take 19 days.  If you want to compare the two services, just ask one of our export team to provide a price for both the express and regular sailings to Jeddah.

Air freight is also an option if your cargo is particularly lightweight or urgent.  There are daily cargo flights to Jeddah from major UK airports and these take a matter of hours (but please factor in packing, handling, unloading and customs clearance times for your cargo – ask our freight forwarding team for more details if you are unsure, we are here to help).

Give our export freight forwarding team a call to discuss sending your cargo to Jeddah, request a quote and seek advice regarding your shipment with us – Tel. 02392 756 575. Email:


Request a Quote for Shipping to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia


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Freight Forwarders – Shipping to the USA from the UK

As the UK’s export market grows, first time exporters are looking to the States for business opportunities.  Shipping goods to the USA from the UK has many benefits to a growing company.  Obviously the biggest impact exporting has on a small to medium business is the growth in revenue and increased production as a result of demand for the goods.

There are also specific benefits to trading with the USA:

  • There is no real language barrier.  Admittedly, the international business language is English, but still it can be challenging dealing with a business partner who’s native tongue is not English;
  • The time difference between the UK and the USA are not too great to disrupt communication.  New York time is 5 hours behind the UK, and the biggest difference is the West Coast, where the time difference is about 8 hours;
  • Sea freight sailings to the USA are relatively straight forward, and do not take as long as Australia for example (up to 50 days).  Sea freight sailings vary from 7 days to New York to 31 days to Los Angeles;
  • There are daily air freight departures from the UK to all over the USA, so no matter where your goods are destined, there is likely to be an international airport nearby for your goods to arrive at;
  • The USA is a vast country with a huge population of over 300 million.  If you can break into this market, there is a huge opportunity for your small business to grow to be bigger and better than ever;
  • Without being stereotypical, the Americans are fans of the British.  If you have a British made product, whether it is chocolates or furniture, you may be onto a winner.

We are a family-run and managed shipping agent, our team of experienced export freight forwarders deal with shipping to the USA on a daily basis.  Whether your goods require transit via sea or air freight, we can offer a comprehensive freight forwarding service for your shipping to the USA.

Give the export team a call today to discuss your freight forwarding needs for shipping to the USA, we can provide you with a quotation and advice relating to your shipment with us – Tel. 02392 756 575. Email:


Request a Quote for Shipping to the USA


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