Useful Downloads

The processes followed in exporting or importing can be a little daunting particularly for those who are new to either scenario.

The following free downloads are intended to give some basics on many of the subjects that you may come across. Feel free to download them and if you need any further information please don't hesitate to contact Peter Murphy at Allenco ( or Tel 44 (0) 121 685 4445).

By downloading or printing these PDF’s you acknowledge that these guides are not intended as legal guidance and should not be relied upon as such. In exacting circumstances proper legal or other advice should be sought.

Cargo Insurance - why it is essential
Exports - getting the basics right
ISPM15 - what is it and why is it relevant to the exporter?
Shipping to Exhibitions in the USA

Cargo Insurance - why it is essential.

Shippers often misunderstand the levels of cover that carriers provide whilst moving their goods. Carrier's liability is usually severely limited by either international convention or the carrier's standard terms and conditions.

When insurance is not in place and a loss occurs, the shipper usually contacts the carrier advising them of the loss. Finding out at this point that goods were not adequately covered (other than by the minimal amount afforded under the carriers terms) is a fairly sobering moment. At this point the carrier and shipper usually find themselves in dispute and as long as the carrier has pro-actively provided his terms and conditions to the shipper, the onus will be upon the shipper to prove that the carrier acted negligently. This can result in costly legal action with no certainty of the claim being satisfied.

In contrast, if adequate insurance is in place, the shipper again contacts the carrier but also contacts his insurer. Upon providing the necessary shipment paperwork to the insurer, and as long as the insurer is satisfied that the shipper has not acted in a way to prejudice the cover, the insurer will normally settle the claim and then the insurer will pursue the carrier to recover their losses.

If you are not sure whether your goods are properly insured it would be sensible to check what cover you have in place. Finding out that cover was not adequate in a claim situation is regrettable to say the least.

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Exports - getting the basics right.

Whether you are new to export or a more seasoned exporter there are certain key aspects to successful exporting that must not be ignored.

Detail is critical and failure to approach the process in the right way can lead to disappointed customers, lost contracts, and, worse still, just not getting paid.

The basics are:

Quoting: What should a quote include and how do I define what is included (and as importantly, how do I define what is not included)?
Incoterms: What are Incoterms and how do they assist in the quotation process?
Insurance: Is my cargo insured and if not how do I go about making sure if the worst happens I am covered?
Packing: What is IPSM15 and how do I pack goods so they arrive safely and I comply with any overseas regulations.
Invoice: What information should appear on my commercial invoice?
Getting paid: How do I get paid, should I offer credit, and what methods can I use to secure payment?
VAT: Should I charge VAT on the transaction and if I zero rate goods what will I need to provide to HMRC to justify zero rating the goods.
Documentation: What documentation should I provide?

Getting the basics right will help ensure that the export process is as smooth as possible and will lead to more successful and repeat overseas sales.

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ISPM15 - what is it and why is it relevant to the exporter?

Over 70 countries currently require wooden packaging materials to comply with International Standards for Phytiosanitary Measure no. 15 (ISPM15).

The purpose of ISPM15 is to stop the spread of wood based insects/disease that could detrimentally affect the environments or ecosystems of territories that the goods are sent to or are transiting through.

Failure to use ISPM15 compliant wooden packaging materials can result in any one (or more) of the following:

Refusal of entry of goods into a country.
A requirement to return goods to the origin country.
An order for the goods and packaging to be destroyed.
Significant fines being levied on the importer.
A requirement for the goods/packaging to go through a fumigation process.

Each of the above outcomes will negatively affect the shipper / client relationship. All wooden packaging (pallets, cases, crates (and timber used to secure cargo, for example inside a container) should be either heat or chemically treated (fumigated) and marked accordingly.

Pallets can be readily obtained which already contain a treatment mark, but if your packaging needs are somewhat more involved, ie you need crates or cases it is worth using an export packer who will be familiar with ISPM15 requirements and will ensure the right materials are used and you comply with the regulations.

We would recommend that ISPM15 compliant materials be used for all export markets, even those where it is not currently needed as it is possible that your goods may transit a country where the ISPM15 is already mandatory.

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Shipping to Exhibitions in the USA.

Exhibitions are about as time critical as it gets. Failure to get your stand/product to the exhibition site in good time can be a life (and career) changing moment. When shipping goods to exhibitions it is vitally important to plan ahead. Here are some of the basic things to consider.

Firstly, have a clear idea of what you intend to do with your exhibition goods and stand once the exhibition is over. This may appear to be counterintuitive, but your plans after the exhibition will determine how the goods will be cleared in the USA. For example if you plan to return the goods back to the UK you may choose to use an ATA carnet, or you might consider clearing the goods under a temporary import bond. Alternatively, it may be worth just paying the US duties/taxes upon importation.

"Carnet's "and Temporary Import Bonds both have strict conditions (and costs) attached to them and they are both time limited. Sometimes (subject to the value of the goods and the duty rate payable) it is simpler and cheaper to just pay the US import duty. Don't forget for some goods the duty rate is zero.

It is imperative to have a clear idea of when the goods need to be at the exhibition. There are normally two critical receiving date ranges contained in the exhibition pack provided by the exhibition organisers. They are the advance warehouse dates and the direct delivery dates. It is preferable (and certainly less stressful) to aim for the advance warehouse dates, knowing that if there is a delay of some kind, the direct delivery dates can be used as a fall back.

Once you have established the exhibition receiving dates its time to contact a freight forwarder, ideally one who is used to handling exhibition shipments. The freight forwarder should be able to give a reasonable estimate of the total transit time. The transit time should include some allowance for delay with either the transport or with customs clearance. An experienced freight forwarder will follow the shipment right through to final delivery and will act proactively to anticipate and overcome any delays.

If you are sending goods to an exhibition, planning ahead is critical. As the saying goes "if you fail to plan, then plan to fail". My advice is simple - plan ahead, use an experienced freight forwarder who understands exhibitions, and ship early. Failure is not an option.

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