You have successfully found a seller in China and negotiated your terms with them. Now all you need is to transport the goods and have them arrive in good condition. If your seller’s warehouse is near the port of Nanjing in Jiangsu Province, there is a high chance he might choose to deliver to the largest inland port in the world – Nanjing port. Here are five steps to ensure that your items reach you in excellent condition bearing the necessary consumer safety marking.
The UK imposes strict rules on imported goods to ensure their conformity to safety standards. If you want your electronics, PPEs, or medical devices to be cleared by customs, you must ensure that your supplier correctly labels the goods and provides the necessary safety documents.
Before Brexit, when the UK was part of the EU free market, all imported goods had to bear the CE mark. With the Brexit process finalised as of December 2020, the UK has slowly been shifting to the UKCA marking.
Effective from 1 January 2021, the UKCA mark is acceptable for goods being placed in the market in Great Britain (England, Scotland, and Wales). This change will come into full effect on 1 January 2023, so HMRC is still accepting the CE mark for the time being.
Your manufacturer/seller must place a CE at least 5mm high onto the product itself, the packaging, or an accompanying document such as the user manual.
Ensure that the labelling links to the declaration of conformity (DoC) that shows that the item conforms to UK safety standards.
The accompanying declaration of comfornmirty needs to include:
Containers do get lost at sea, and in that event, you should have cargo insurance to cover your losses. To get comprehensive cargo insurance at a good rate, it will help to compare several rates from freight forwarders and cargo insurance companies
Trade with suppliers only on clear contacts and make sure you understand the implications of your incoterm, especially DAT and incoterms in the “C” category.
Request your freight forwarder to double-box all fragile shipments. The first box should be wrapped with bubble wrap and peanuts to add more security. Ensure that your supplier marks all your packages to make identification easy.
Proper packaging also lowers the risk of theft, especially when importing valuable branded items.
Most freight forwarders don’t send you a copy of the insurance policy document unless an accident happens. To ensure that you have all documents ready in the event of loss or damage, ensure that your freight forwarder keeps all the transit documents, including date and time stamps. Ask your forwarder for copies of pick-up orders and delivery notes which document how many items were handed over and their condition during delivery. These documents will help your insurance company determine who is responsible for any loss or damage.
The Bill of Lading is central to international trade and plays multiple roles. Your freight forwarder issues the bill of lading as three original documents, and in most cases, you’ll need to have all three to have your cargo released at the UK port. Your seller will ask you if you prefer to receive a telex release of the BOL or the original documents. To avoid losing the papers as they travel via post, it’s best to request the telex Bills of Lading. If your goods get damaged or lost during transit, you will need the bill of lading to file an insurance claim. If you lose the BOL, here are the steps you can take to have your cargo released. You may also incur a fee.
When your freight forwarder sends you a draft of the Bill of Lading, ensure that the details match what is on the commercial invoice issued by your supplier. These details also have to match those on the packing list. Any contradictions on freight documents presented to export and import clearance officers could trigger costly inspections and penalties.