It is advised that you appoint an experienced freight forwarder when you import goods from China, the Far East or the Indian-Subcontinent.  It is quite a well-known issue that if you rely on your supplier to arrange the shipment when the  goods arrive into the UK there are extra higher charges payable.

Why does this happen?  When the supplier of the goods arranges the shipment to the UK, they will contact a UK based agent to accept the shipment.  In return for this, the supplier will expect ‘remuneration in kind’ – these are extra charges, and ultimately it is the UK importer who will have to stump up the bill.

It is essential that if you wish to import goods from either China, the Far East or the Indian-Subcontinent, that you choose a reliable freight forwarder who can ‘take control of your cargo and charges’.

What does this mean in plain English?  By nominating Mercator Cargo as your UK based freight forwarder to take the whole shipment from origin either under FOB (an INCO term ‘free on board’) or EX Work Terms, and avoiding CIF Terms (cost insurance freight – where the shipper pays/arranges the freight), in other words taking ‘full control of your shipment’ and letting us arrange the freight, there will not be any unexpected higher charges upon arrival.

For example, we recently shipped in some goods from Pakistan for a customer – for one of the containers we were given ‘control’ and we arranged the full shipment from the door in Pakistan, to the port, via ocean freight and onwards to the door in the UK.  The same customer had another shipment from Pakistan of a similar size from the same supplier in the same origin, however they decided to allow their supplier to arrange the shipment under CIF Terms.  Using this option, they incurred an invoice for the UK port charges and local UK delivery fees, not including ocean freight, which came to 75% of the invoice total of our full door-to-door shipment from Pakistan to the UK.  In other words, they paid too much in charges for their shipment.

If you decide to appoint Mercator as your freight forwarder and give us ‘control’ of your cargo you could save yourself money.  Don’t get ripped off by another option which might look cheaper, because in the long run, it is likely that it will not be cheaper.  If you switch to FOB or EX Works and choose us to be your freight forwarder starting from at least the ocean freight, you can eliminate any ‘surprise’ charges and you could save your business money and avoid headaches when the cargo does not arrive on time, and costs you more than it should.

Contact Mercator before you agree on your buying terms.  If you buy on CIF (cost insurance freight – where the shipper pays/arranges the freight) you are at risk of paying too much for the service you are receiving.

So give us a call to speak to a member of the imports team and discuss how we can take control of your import shipment and most importantly your charges so they don’t get out of hand – Tel. 02392 756 575. Email:


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    Please note we are unable to handle personal shipments.