Import from Germany is mostly straight forward, however, you may want to read this mini guide we have put together for some tips and tricks in order to get started.
1. Transport options
Goods in the EU can move freely between borders with the aim to create the greatest possible choice for consumers.
You should be aware of how your goods should be picked up and delivered. The considerations are the access to your supplier and delivery address, as well as what is needed practically to load and pilot the trucks. If there is no room for a large truck to access where the goods need to be collected, then a small van needs to be used to pick up the goods and then deliver them to a distribution centre. This can increase transport time and costs.
If import from Germany is of a size that will need a lifter to handle it, then it will also be necessary to order a truck with a lift so that the goods can be ‘lifted’ down from the bed of the truck.
2. VAT and customs rules
The movement of goods from Germany – and thus within the European Union – are free between EU member states. On the other hand, VAT is still payable on imports into the UK so it is important to be aware of any VAT that was charged when you ordered your goods from the supplier.
As an import business, you do not pay the German VAT of 19%. It is important that you ensure that the invoice the supplier has issued you is without VAT on the purchase. This is to ensure that you are not paying tax twice, when you do import from Germany.
Once the item is purchased, you must calculate and impose VAT on the resale of your products in the UK.
3. Who is responsible for what when when it comes to import from Germany?
It is always the importer – that’s you as a UK company in this case – that has the responsibility for ensuring that products meet UK standards and that they are legal to introduce at home. A product that is legal in another country is not necessarily legal in the UK too. But who will be responsible if something happens to the goods during transport? And when is ownership of the goods transferred from the seller to the buyer?
When commercial companies agree across borders, it is important to agree on the conditions for the transport of the traded product. The ICC (International Chamber of Commerce) is behind the globally recognised trade terms – Incoterms – and there are a number of models for standard use in all trading across borders.
Based on the conditions chosen, the relationship needs to be defined in detail and a framework established for who is responsible for paying and arranging the various elements of transport and when the conditions of liability is transferred from seller to buyer. So, in any case of doubt or disagreement, there are completely clear lines established that outline who is responsible for what.
4. Dangerous Goods from Germany
Some specific products and product types require special attention when it comes to freight and import. As a rule, it is always a good idea to check whether a product falls under special legislation – especially food and dangerous goods. Importing and transport of these goods is a more regulated process so there it is important to be aware of the pitfalls. Read more about shipping documentation here.
The import of dangerous goods requires particular attention to transportation. It is a complicated area, and the best option is to seek advice directly from a shipping company that will ship this type cargo from Germany to the UK.
5. Export from Germany to the UK
It may seem like a good idea to take advantage of the cheap prices of alcohol and cigarettes as a UK company – but beware if you want to sell these types of items in the UK.
Even if a product is cheap in Germany, when you count the freight to the UK, you should be aware that for a large number of product groups, a particular type of tax called ‘excise duty’ is attached when they are imported to the UK. To check whether your goods require the payment of an excise duty, you need to check their commodity code at Trade Tariff.
6. Travel time
Germany is a geographically large market. There is therefore also a relatively large difference in travel time from, for example, Munich in the South or Hannover in the North. As a general rule you can count on a shipping time of 3-4 days from Southern Germany and 1-2 days from Northern Germany by truck.
Shipping with Transporteca
On Transporteca you can find round the clock shipping rates and transport solutions from Germany to the UK. Ordering shipping is quick and straightforward: once you’ve found the right shipping cost and travel time from Germany to the UK, choose “ORDER” and follow the step by step guide through the booking and payment process. Transporteca gives you all-inclusive prices.
This means that you do not have to worry about additional costs freight from Germany to the UK, such as road tax and fuel surcharge – everything is included in your price, with a price guarantee!