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Blog Archives

Freight Forwarding – Why Choose an Independent Freight Forwarder

Mercator Cargo has been running for over twenty years now and is still run and managed by the same founding family.  Mr Paul (our MD) has been in the industry for almost forty years, and our imports and exports team have extensive knowledge of the freight forwarding industry.

Mercator Cargo is an independent freight forwarder.  But what does this mean to you as the import or export customer?  Traditionally, independent freight forwarders have had the means and the advantage of offering their customers a high quality personal service.

An independent freight forwarding outfit has excellent capabilities of being flexible with their customers, and the ability to be agile and respond quickly to their customers’ need for convenience.  By having this valuable service, good rapport with customers, and formed links with other independent freight forwarders (via a global network), independent freight forwarders have the ability to offer just as comprehensive freight forwarding service, if not a better service than larger logistics companies.

The advantage of an independent freight forwarder being a part of a global network, is also something which can set apart one forwarder from another.  Mercator Cargo is a founding partner of the independent freight forwarder network Marco Polo Line.  The global network is made up of other independent freight forwarders from all around the world.  The advantage of being part of this network includes having personal contacts in almost every country in the world, local knowledge around the globe, ability to offer door-to-door services in most countries, and tried and tested worldwide partners.

Independent freight forwarders, such as Mercator Cargo, have traditional strengths of innovative and bespoke premium services, teamed with the added value of thorough knowledge of their clients businesses and service.

If you’re looking for a reliable service from an independent freight forwarder, then call us today to discuss your shipping needs – Tel. 02392 756 575. Email: sales@mercatorcargo.co.uk.

 

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Freight Forwarding – How Shipping Containers have Changed the Freight Forwarding Industry

Shipping containers have been used since the 1950s when they were invented by an American trucking businessman.  Since then, freight forwarders, importers and exporters have used shipping containers for the transit of all kinds of goods.

Prior to freight forwarders using 40 foot or 20 foot containers, ships hulls were loaded manually by dock workers, box by box, piece by piece.  This is a time consuming job, and sometimes these big shipping liners spent more time at the docks than they did at sea.

Now, using shipping containers, freight forwarders can get their cargo off the shipping liners within hours, rather than weeks.  Their uniformed sizes mean that they can be easily transferred from ship to dockside, to truck, to train, and so on.

These rather simple developments in freight forwarding have dramatically decreased costs involved in importing and exporting goods.

If you have a full container load, or even a less than container load, of cargo to be exported or imported, then get in touch today to discuss our freight forwarding services available – Tel. 02392 756 575. Email: sales@mercatorcargo.co.uk.

 

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What is a Freight Forwarder?

If you are new to importing or exporting from the UK, you may be wondering what a freight forwarder does, what their role with your company should be, what they can offer, and what the responsibilities of the importer/exporter (i.e. you) versus the freight forwarder are.

To cut the jargon, the freight forwarder (the person or company that you appoint to handle your shipment) will do just that – they will handle your shipment for you. Freight forwarders oversee the worldwide movement of goods from country to country, and can offer services such as packing, documentation and customs clearance on behalf of exporters and importers.

Your freight forwarder should be able to offer any kind of level of service you require. For example, if you are completely new to importing and exporting your goods, you may wish your freight forwarder to arrange all aspects of your shipment. This might include a door-to-door delivery (i.e. arrange the collection of goods, and delivery of goods to the door for your chosen destination), insurance, customs clearance, and all services required to deliver goods from one country to the next. However, you may decide that you only wish for a delivery from door to port, or from port to door, and so on. Mercator can offer either a fully comprehensive freight forwarding service, or arrange smaller aspects of your shipment.

So what kind of role do you wish your freight forwarder to have with your company? Again, this entirely depends on your needs and the needs of your business. If you are a first time importer, or exporter, you may wish to make initial contact with your freight forwarder before committing to any international trade with other companies. Mercator Cargo can offer you advice on buying terms from abroad, provide quotes for exports from the UK so you can inform your buyers, and also advise what you can or cannot import from country to country. Our experienced team of freight forwarders can offer as much “hand holding” as you require.

What are your responsibilities, and what are our responsibilities? In a nut shell, our responsibilities are to get your goods to its destination for you as instructed, to inform you every step of the way of your shipment, and to provide reliable advice relating to your shipment. Your responsibilities as an importer or exporter vary from shipment to shipment.  You are required to declare your goods accurately (i.e. if a declaration is made on your behalf as instructed, and it is not accurate, you are liable for this, not the freight forwarder), therefore it is essential you advise your freight forwarder of the accurate nature of your goods.

If you think that you might need the services of a freight forwarder, then give us a call, we will be happy to discuss your freight forwarding needs with you – Tel. 02392 756 575. Email: sales@mercatorcargo.co.uk.

 

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Freight Forwarding News – The New ‘BRICS’

For the past few years, the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) have been at the forefront of economic growth and prosperity.

Word has it that these nations have slowed down in growth, and are set to be over taken by some emerging countries.  The BRICS nations have been predicted to continue a slow growth over the next few years.  This may result in fewer exports to these nations from the UK.

The Head of Emerging Markets at Morgan Stanley has predicted that China’s economy will grow between 5%-6% over the next five years, whilst India will continue to grow at a rate of 6% each year.  These rates are much lower than their previous double figure rates over the past few years.

The emerging economic stars are set to be parts of Asia and Latin America.  The list includes the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Peru, Chile and Colombia.

With these economies set to grow, there are business opportunities to be had from here in the UK.  Mercator Cargo is an experienced freight forwarder, with excellent contacts in almost every country around the globe thanks to our founding partner status in the global network of independent freight forwarders, Marco Polo Line.

If you are considering exporting to any of these emerging markets (the Philipines, Indonesia, Thailand, Peru, Chile or Colombia) or importing goods into the UK, then give Mercator a call today.  You can speak directly with one of our team of freight forwarders to get quotes for freight shipments, and any help and advice you may need as an importer or exporter.

To speak to an experienced freight fowarder regarding your shipment, call us today – Tel. 02392 756 575. Email: sales@mercatorcargo.co.uk.

 

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Freight Forwarding – Customs Clearance for Importing to the UK

If you are importing goods into the UK for the first time, you will need to understand ‘customs clearance’ and your responsibilities with regards to paying VAT & Duty on your import.  As freight forwarders, we can handle your customs clearance for you.

If you do not yet have an EORI Number (Economic Operator Registration and Identification) then you will need to contact HMRC to obtain one.  This number will be used as a reference when dealing with any customs matters relating to your shipments.  It is a requirement to have an EORI number when importing goods into the UK, and it is fairly straight forward to obtain one (generally it takes less than a week to obtain this through HMRC).

I have my EORI number, what else do I need to know?  The following list details some other aspects you will need to know/have before you import your goods:

  • Your EORI number for imports;
  • Deferment Number (if you already have one existing with HMRC);
  • A full description of your goods and a Customs Tariff Code (we can assist you with this).

What do I actually need on the day of import?  In order for your goods to clear customs, you will need to have the following sent to us in advance of the import:

  • The commercial invoice from the shipper of the goods;
  • Certificate of Origin of the goods;
  • Generalised System of Preference (if applicable).

These documents will not only allow us to proceed with customs clearance, but will also allow us to calculate the amount of VAT and duty payable (this can be worked out in advance if required).

If you choose us as your freight forwarder to handle your import into the UK, and decide for us to handle your VAT & duty payment to HMRC, we will require the cleared funds to be able to release your shipment.

If this sounds intimidating, then please do not despair!  As experienced freight forwarders we are here to guide our customers through this process, and are happy to provide a “hand holding” service for those new to the process.

Give us a call today if you have any questions about your import shipment with us – Tel. 02392 756 575. Email: sales@mercatorcargo.co.uk.

 

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Freight Forwarding – Terms of Delivery when Buying Internationally

If you are looking to begin international trade: buying your goods outside of the UK and importing them, there are some terms of delivery which you will agree with your supplier that are important that you understand.

It is generally advised that you use ‘INCOTERMS’ when buying your goods internationally. INCOTERMS are a set of rules which have been issued by the International Chamber of Commerce. The terms outline both the buyer’s and the seller’s obligations and risk under given terms of delivery. The precise nature of these terms and their definitions can prevent misunderstandings between the buyer and seller and their obligations.

The following are the main terms used for delivery (there are many others, but generally these are the ones to know about).

EXW – Ex Works. The buyer is responsible for the door to door transport costs, destination taxes and duties, and marine insurance. It is the buyer’s risk from door to door.

FOB – Free on Board. The seller is responsible for charges up to and over the ‘ship’s rail’ (the ship’s rail being the point where the container is lifted off the quay and over the side of the ship). It is the seller’s risk up to and over the ship’s rail.
The buyer is responsible for the shipping costs from the port of departure to the place of delivery, marine insurance from the port of loading and destination duties and taxes.

CFR – Cost and Freight. The seller is responsible for the FOB charges and ocean freight up to the named port of destination. It is the seller’s risk up to the FOB.
The buyer is responsible for unloading from the ship, duties and taxes, and local delivery to the destination and marine insurance from the FOB.

CIF – Cost Insurance Freight. Same as CFR (above), but the seller arranges and pays for the marine insurance up to the buyer’s door.

We can offer all levels of service, from arranging every single aspect for you (e.g. door to door delivery, insurance, customs clearance, VAT & Duty payments, and so on), or just one part of your shipment for you, for example the ocean freight.

If this has left you baffled and you’re not sure what to do next, then give us a call to discuss your shipment. We’d be happy to help you make sense of this and assist you with arranging your import into the UK – Tel. 02392 756 575. Email: sales@mercatorcargo.co.uk.

 

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Freight Forwarding – New to International Trade and Importing?

If you haven’t dealt with international trade before, the business of importing your goods into the UK might seem like a bit of a challenge.

It is a good idea to appoint a freight forwarder with the required knowledge and experience to assist you with your shipments.

Not only can a good freight forwarder arrange the actual shipment for you from A to B, but they should be able to impart some useful advice when it comes to buying your goods abroad.

When buying your goods, here are some pointers that you may wish to think about before signing anything with a supplier:

–          Ensure you know how much your goods are going to cost;
–          Make sure you know how much it is going to cost to transport your goods to your warehouse;
–          Make sure you investigate as to whether there are any restrictions on the goods you wish to import into the UK (an experienced freight forwarder will be able to advise);
–          Ensure that your contract of purchase is sound;
–          Make sure that you will get your goods once you have paid, or have legally agreed to pay.

These are just a few pointers to consider when looking to import into the UK.  If you are at this stage, then it will be worth contacting a freight forwarder to obtain a quote for the importation of your goods.  An experienced freight forwarder will be able to offer you a variety of different levels of shipping services – for example, a comprehensive service from door to door, including all insurance, customs clearance, VAT & Duty payments to HMRC etc, or just an aspect of your shipment, for example just the ocean freight.

If you’re looking to import goods into the UK, then contact Mercator Cargo today, our family-run business can offer you support and advice when it comes to importing for the first time – Tel. 02392 756 575. Email: sales@mercatorcargo.co.uk.

 

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Freight Forwarding from South Africa to the UK

Mercator Cargo has been handling regular imports from South Africa to the UK for many years now. We are an independent freight forwarder, based in the UK and have a team of experienced forwarders with experience in importing from South Africa.

We have recently seen trends for vehicle imports from South Africa. These are either an individual purchasing a vehicle for their personal use, or a business buying stock for their UK market.

Another field of our experience in importing from South Africa are used, and in some cases, classic cars. The climate in South Africa means vintage cars are, for the most part, not affected by rust or perishing. We have imported a number of interesting vehicles over the years, and are in regular contact with some vehicle sourcing and exporting companies.

fiat multipla 1956

As part of a worldwide network of freight forwarders, we have personal contacts around the globe with local knowledge. Our Partner in South Africa is able to assist with Export Customs, transport and other associated activities. We can advise our customers on all aspects of exporting from South Africa to the UK. Our services for importing from South Africa can be fully comprehensive including insurance, door-to-door imports, or as little as arranging your ocean or air freight.

If you’re looking for a freight forwarder with experience in importing from South Africa, then give us a call today to discuss your requirements – Tel. 02392 756 575. Email: sales@mercatorcargo.co.uk.

 

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Freight Forwarding – Which UK Port Shall I Import My Goods Through?

Mercator Cargo is an independent freight forwarder, based in the UK in Portsmouth.  Having been running for over twenty years, with the same management in situ, Mercator has a wealth of experience in importing goods into the UK via various ports.  As an independent business, still run and owned by the same family, we are able to offer our customers a comprehensive customer service, and offer different levels of freight forwarding services depending upon your requirements.

From some locations, your vessel may only call at one port in the UK, in which case, you do not need to worry about making a decision as to which port to use.

Depending on where you are importing from, you may choose to import your goods into the UK via the Port of Southampton.  Located on the South Coast of England, with good transport links, it may be your preferred choice for your cargo to be unloaded into the UK.

We also operate the majority of our UK imports through Felixstowe and Tilbury (often preferred choices of container ports for deliveries further North).  Both with excellent transport links, and capacities to handle a great deal of cargo on a daily basis.

Your choice of import container port in the UK may also take into account sailing times of the vessel your cargo is on.  Some vessels will just call at one container port in the UK, whereas others may call at several.  Which port they call at first, may be your choice of unloading if you wish to have your goods in the UK slightly sooner.

The below video clip is taken from the BBC’s show ‘Sea City’ which followed the workings of Southampton container port.  This particular clip shows the operation of the cranes unloading the containers from the vessel at the port.

If you’re looking for an independent freight forwarder to handle your UK import, then call us today to discuss your requirements – Tel. 02392 756 575. Email: sales@mercatorcargo.co.uk.

 

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Freight Forwarding News – London Gateway Container Port

A new container port is due to open later this year on the north bank of the River Thames.  London Gateway is said to be the UK’s first deep water shipping port, and one of Europe’s largest centres for logistics.

As container ships grow in size, London Gateway will be an ideal choice when using these larger container liners for importing and exporting from the UK.

The port will increase the UK’s container handling capacities, and is aiming to be one of the most efficient ports in the UK.  Alternative ports in the UK currently include Felixstowe, Southampton, Hull and Liverpool.  The new container port will add 3.5 million TEU (equivalent 20 foot containers) to the UK’s container handling capacity.

Record-breaking cranes were recently delivered to the London Port.  Five in total, these cranes will be able to handle the world’s largest container vessels.  The cranes are said to be taller than the London Eye, and can reach further than is currently required when loading and unloading the largest of the container vessels currently sailing.  This will ensure the port’s future, as container ships are becoming larger all the time.  The cranes will be able to reach across 25 containers on the container ships, and will lift up to 80 tons at a time.

Container ships have currently grown to hold up to 18,000 TEU (compared with just 6,000 TEU, 50 years ago).

If you’re looking for a freight forwarder to handle your shipment from or to the UK, get in touch.
Tel. 02392 756 575. Email: sales@mercatorcargo.co.uk.

 

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