Companies wishing to start importing or exporting should ensure they do their research and assess the risks before signing up to contracts, according to Global Freight managing director Nicole Howarth.

Mrs Howarth says many businesses are failing to seek the correct advice before embarking on international trade programmes, resulting in expensive mistakes.

These include not researching the potential overseas market properly, not ensuring the correct customs codes are attached to shipments or failing to have sufficient insurances in place.

Mrs Howarth, the managing director of award-winning shipping company Global Freight, has now compiled a top ten tips guide to assist businesses considering trading overseas.

She said: “Often we are contacted by companies which have realised only too late that the paperwork isn’t correct and so shipments are being held up at customs, which means incurring extra costs for the business.

“A recent issue concerns Economic Operators Registration and Identification numbers, which are included on the customs declaration when you import your goods from or export goods to countries outside the EU. Confusion has arisen for some companies which have not realised an EORI number is still required if they occasionally buy items from outside the EU for example machinery, equipment and office supplies even if their core business is not usually involved in importing or exporting.

“Sometimes companies are failing to investigate the requirement for their product in an overseas market or not accurately estimating costs involved in moving goods overseas.”

Mrs Howarth, who was last year named as one of the top three female directors in the transport and logistics industry, says there is a wealth of information available to help first time exporters and importers.

“I hope that Global Freight’s brief guide, which provides some tips on what to consider when preparing to trade into new markets overseas, will assist businesses and help put them on the right track,” she added.

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