Import from France is pretty straightforward, and as an active member of the European Union’s trade cooperation, the French market is quite popular among many UK importers. This is partially due to the free trade agreement allowing free movement of goods within the EU, moreover, France is also a major exporter of many attractive goods. With this article we hope to clarify the most common questions you might have about import from France.
The French market
As mentioned, France is a major exporter and is home to some of the world’s largest international companies. In fact, France is the world’s seventh largest exporter and also the EU’s second largest trading nation, when you measure the value of both import and export.
France offers a broad range of export goods and services within a wide variety of industries, of which the most important are: vehicles, aircrafts, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, plastic, refined oils, chemical products, steel, and agricultural products–in fact, France is the second largest exporter of agricultural products after the United States.
Mode of transport
Most transportation of goods within Europe is handled by truck, and the same applies to import from France. The well preserved European road network makes for fast and easy import from all corners of France to your business in the UK.
Road transport within Europe is always a door-to-door service, when you book your transport via Transporteca. In this way, you do not have to worry about collecting and/or delivering your goods at a warehouse, and the freight forwarder avoids an overrun warehouse. The carrier will collect and deliver the goods directly at your door at the desired pick-up and delivery addresses.
The conditions for pick-up are important to be aware of when it comes to importing goods from France. In small villages in the countryside, narrow and twisting roads can be frequent, making it impossible for a large truck to pass through. Therefore, it is important to notify about this, in order for the forwarder to send a smaller vehicle instead. The same goes for delivery in the UK. For instance, should you have a very narrow driveway, the forwarder can send a smaller car to deliver your goods. Otherwise, the forwarder will have to unload your goods at the nearest possible place and this will probably mean that you will have to move the goods, yourself, further than necessary.
Pick-up and delivery
It is important that you are familiar with the loading conditions your supplier offers. Large companies will typically have both a ramp and a forklift available for loading and unloading the truck, whereas smaller companies or small wine farmers often can not offer the same conditions and loading equipment. With this, it is important that you are informed on your suppliers loading conditions and on this background order the correct corresponding service for your shipment.
For example, you may need to order a truck with a lift, if your supplier does not have any loading equipment and are not able to load the goods themselves. The lift on the back of the truck is used to lift and lower the goods from the truck’s bed. The same considerations must be taken into account for delivery in the UK. Do you have a ramp or forklift to unload the goods yourself, or do you need a truck with a lift to deliver your goods? This is crucial for the forwarder to know, so they do not drive in vain upon delivery.
It is important that you are also informed on how your goods are packed. Typically standard goods will be palletized, which means that your goods are packed on pallets. However, whether your goods are packed on (standard) Euro pallets, half pallets, English pallets, or some other type of pallet, may vary. In order to calculate the price on import from France, the forwarder needs to know the specific volume and weight of your shipment. Therefore, it is always a good idea to inquire the specific details on your goods from your supplier before you request a quote from a forwarder.
Palletized goods are generally the most secure solution and also the easiest for the carrier to handle. On a trip from France to the UK your goods will be reloaded a couple of times, and the more secure and stable your goods are packed, the better it is protected from potential damage. Of course, it is possible to send packages and other odd sized items that are not packed on pallets. However, this requires a little more work on the forwarders end before they can produce a quote on the specific shipment.
Are you looking to import goods that are not palletized? Please send an email to [email protected] and tell us about your shipment, we will be happy to assist you with a non-binding quote.
For smaller packages there is also the option to send your goods with a courier; a dedicated package-service transporting smaller items operated by independent courier companies such as FedEX, UPS, and TNT. Courier services are also always door-to-door and can usually be done faster than regular road transport–but usually also at a higher price. Should it be relevant for you to take your goods home with a courier, please note that there is a significant difference between the rate agreements available to large-scale customers, and the standard tariffs available to everyone. If you do not have your own rate agreement you can either go through a forwarder or book your transport via transporteca.co.uk to benefit from great savings.
We strongly advise that you do not send fragile goods by courier, as the goods are manhandled and subject to several trans-shipments along the way, thus increasing the risk of potential damages. On the other hand, if your goods are packed professionally and not considered fragile, it may be a great solution to choose a courier for your smaller shipments.
What are the time frames?
No matter where in France you are importing from, it will typically take 5-8 days to get your goods home with standard road transport. The freight forwarders typically have 1-2 weekly departures from France and the many collections from suppliers around France are made on a daily basis and can, in most cases, be booked with a 1-2 day notice. Hereafter, the goods are shipped to the forwarder’s warehouse and shipped to the UK at the first possible departure. When your goods arrive in the UK they will be sorted according to the destination-city, and will usually be delivered to you the following day.
Below we have listed a couple of price examples to give you an idea of the price level when you import from France.
Bordeaux – London
1 euro pallet, 700 kg
Transit time: 5-7 days
Saint-Étienne – Manchester
2 euro pallets, 1500 kg
Transit time: 5-7 days
Paris – Brighton
3 euro pallets, 1800 kg
Transit time: 5-7 days
Strasbourg – Birmingham (courier)
5 parcels (0.18m3), 40 kg
Transit time: 3-4 days
Free movement of goods within the EU
As you are probably aware, France is a member of the EU and is therefore also part of the common market where goods can move freely between EU countries without importers being subject to paying customs duties.Therefore, there is no import duty to be paid when importing from France to the UK. For more information on import from EU coutries, please visit: www.gov.uk/starting-to-import/moving-goods-from-eu-countries
However, it is important to note that there may be restrictions on certain goods and the amount of goods you may import. For example, you must pay Excise duty when importing wine from France. Excise duty is required for importing certain items into the UK such as alcohol and tobacco. Read more about importing alcohol into the UK here.
If you are contemplating importing wine from France for personal use, then you must be aware that the maximum amount you can import is 120 bottles or 90 litres per shipment.
Ready to start your import from France?
Visit our main page, transporteca.co.uk, where you can find and book transport fast and easy. All you do is select ‘pallets’ or ‘parcels’, specify the quantity/measurements and weight of your shipment, and fill in the postcodes or cities for pick-up and delivery. When you have entered your contact information you will get your quote, which is completely non-binding. Now you can book your transport directly on the site. As soon as you have confirmed and paid for your requested service your supplier, as well as the forwarder, will receive an email with the booking information and they will handle the pick-up arrangements.
If you can not find what you are looking for, please get in touch and we will be happy to help.