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Freight FAQs

Who can export freight from the UK?

Businesses who wish to export their goods to another country outside of the EU will need to be registered with customs as an exporter.  If you are registered for VAT then you may already be registered as an exporter. For more information please see the HM Customs Website or speak to one of our freight consultants who will be able to assist you.

If you are a private individual exporting goods for sale, or your own personal effects as part of a house move, then you will not need to be registered with customs for exporting.

What types of freight do Rapid Shipping handle?

Almost any! We can export all types of general freight cargo including fragile items and machinery, oversize or heavy cargo and dangerous or hazardous goods. We also ship household goods, personal effects and excess baggage, antiques & artwork, cars and motorcycles.

Unfortunately we cannot send perishable foods, alcohol or tobacco, mobile telephone SIM cards and cash, bonds or other securities.

If you are unsure if we can export your particular commodity then please contact one of our freight team for guidance.

Can you collect my freight?

We offer nationwide next-day collection using standard or tail-lift equipped vehicles as required. For time sensitive freight we can offer AM/PM or nominated time collections.

If you are located within London and the home counties we can usually arrange same-day collection if notified by 11am.

If you prefer, you or your supplier can deliver freight directly to our depot for export.

What if my freight is coming from more than one location in the UK?

We can collect or receive multiple consignments at our depot and consolidate into one single shipment. Our warehouse management software will automatically update you when goods are received and will produce ‘on hand’ lists for you to check against your order.

If necessary we can pack your freight onto pallets or into plywood shipping cases and produce packing lists and consolidated commercial invoices for customs purposes.

What documentation is required?

All commercial freight exports must be accompanied by a commercial invoice. This applies even if the goods are being gifted or sent as samples, or the sender and receiver are the same person or company. If you do not have a commercial invoice we can supply a template document and assist you to complete it.

For freight packed into more than one package you should also supply a packing list, indicating what is in each package.

For some destinations you may need to prove the country that the goods were manufactured in. For country-specific guidance please speak to one of our freight shipping experts.

How long will it take to send my freight?

Transit times depend on the destination country and the method of shipment. The specific transit time for your shipment will be specified in our freight quotation. This is the time taken for the consignment to reach the destination port of arrival. The time taken for final delivery will depend upon destination customs clearance procedures but will usually be complete within a week.

For urgent freight we recommend our airfreight service. Goods will be immediately dispatched to the airport for loading onto the next available flight. Transit times will be no more than a few days to even the most far-flung destinations.

What happens at the other end?

If you have chosen a ‘door to door’ service then our local partner will contact the recipient prior to the vessel arriving at the destination port. They will assist them in making any necessary declaration to customs, arrange clearance and then deliver the consignment to their premises by arrangement.

If you have elected to send your freight on a ‘door to port’ basis then the airline or shipping line will contact the recipient prior to the vessel arriving and ask them to make their own arrangements for customs clearance and collection from arrival port.

Can you insure my freight?

Yes. We offer comprehensive marine transit insurance to cover against all risks of transit. The cost for insurance will be clearly detailed in our freight shipping quotation and is based upon the value declared on your commercial invoice.

Certain types of commodity are subject to special terms or exclusions under our marine transit cover. If any such restrictions apply to your freight then this will be clearly detailed on your freight shipping quote.

What if I need a whole shipping container for my freight?

No problem. We will arrange for the shipping line to deliver an empty container directly to your premises for you to load. Once you have completed loading the container it will be customs sealed and taken directly to the port of exit to be shipped overseas.

If you are not able to load a container directly at your premises you can deliver your freight directly to our depot for us to load into a container.


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