This is what you need to know

Imports from the EU to the UK

Imports from the EU to the UK have the best preconditions, but as a new importer it can often seem overwhelming to keep track of the different aspects that have to be taken into account when you start importing. This article aims to summarize the most important aspects of importing from the EU so that you get the best head start.

The European Union

The European Union is both an economical and political union consisting of 28 member states that are all located in Europe. Together they represent most of the continent, and is also the world’s largest trading partner. In addition to the 28 member states, the EU trading coorperation is further extended to Iceland, Lichtenstein, and Norway through the EEA, and to Switzerland through bilateral agreements–though with significant exception, for example, these countries are excluded from the EU Customs Union.

imports from the eu to the uk

The European Single Market

The single market represents one of the core elements of the EU cooperation, and is able to secure and provide the four freedoms that offer free movement of people, capital, goods and services within the EU. These freedoms ensure that citizens in the EU can settle, travel, work, and invest across the countries, and most importantly in this context, it ensures free trade within the EU, which is also one of the fundamental principles.

Free Movement of Goods Within the EU

Thanks to the EU’s single market, it is quite easy to trade with the vast majority of European countries. As mentioned, the EU’s single market has been set up to optimize cross-border trade, and as a result, the process of importing from the EU is both straightforward and well-functioning.

Free movement of goods is ensured by removing any trade barriers within the EU, such as customs duties. This means that the rules have been ‘harmonized’ in the 28 member-states and that the EU countries must respect them mutually.

In practice, there are no customs duties to be paid on goods traded between EU countries. Furthermore, ceilings on the amounts of imports and exports cannot be imposed, and in no other way can limitations be set on trade between EU-countries. In addition, the right to free transit allows all goods to be traded freely–no matter where in the world they are manufactured.


It is important to be aware that there may be restrictions on certain items. This applies to products that may in any way affect health, environment, or public safety.
There may also be excise duty on trade of certain goods, for example on alcohol and tobacco products. Read more about duty charges here.

Modes of Transport When Importing From the EU

Within Europe, most goods are transported by truck. The fact that trucks can move freely within the EU increases flexibility, and reduces the number of empty returns, as the freight forwarder is able to optimize their routes. The excellent road network in Europe is also one of the reasons that road transport is both easy and fast when it comes to imports from the EU to the UK.

modes of transport

When it comes to road transport, you have two options: a regular carrier or a courier, depending on your transport needs. A carrier can take most big and heavy cargo, whereas a courier can be used for smaller package shipments.

As a rule of thumb palletized goods are the best way to secure your goods during transport. The more stable and securely the goods are packed, the better they are protected from possible damage. In addition, palletized goods are easiest for the carrier to handle, with a forklift or pallet lifter.

If you choose a courier to ship your goods, it is important that you pack your goods professionally so that the goods can withstand the transportation without suffering any damage. We recommend that you never send fragile goods with a courier as the goods will be reloaded several times, and because the couriers are generally known to be quite rough in their handling of cargo.

When you book your transport via you will always get a door-door service, whether you need a regular carrier or a courier. This means that the freight forwarder will pick up and deliver your goods at the requested addresses. That way, you should never worry about having to deliver nor collect your goods at an unfamiliar warehouse, and the freight forwarder avoids an overrun warehouse.

Conditions for Loading and Unloading

When it comes to road transport, it is important that you are aware of which loading conditions your supplier offers. If you trade with larger companies, these will usually be able to load the cargo themselves using a ramp or forklift. However, smaller companies will most often not have the same loading equipment nor conditions to load on-site. In such a case, you will need to book your pick-up and delivery with a lift, so the freight forwarder can handle your goods. We recommend that you check your supplier’s loading conditions in order to book the correct corresponding service for your shipment, avoiding the carrier driving in vain. This applies to both pickup and delivery.

Moreover, it is important to pay attention to road conditions. Several places in Europe, for example France’s mountain villages, have narrow and twisting roads which make it impossible for a large truck to pass through. Therefore, you should be aware of the road conditions at the pick-up destination, so that the freight forwarder can send a smaller vehicle if necessary.

conditions for loading an unloading

Price Examples on imports from the EU to the UK

Most imports from the EU to the UK can be done within 4-10 days, depending on the distance. Below we have collected a number of shipments that can give you an idea of the price level as well as the transit time. Keep in mind that all services are door-to-door (EXW) and that prices include all transportation costs.

Madrid – London
1 Euro pallte, 1,8 m3, 500s kg
5-7 days, GBP 238

Paris – Manchester
2 Euro pallets, 3,5 m3, 1100 kg
4-6 days, GBP 250

Berlin – Southampton
3 Euro pallets, 5 m3, 1200 kg
4-6 days, GBP 343

Amsterdam – Birmingham (courier)
1 package (0,11 m3, 10 kg)
2-4 days, GBP 45

Stockholm – Norwich (courier)
3 packages (0.3 m3, 51 kg)
2-4 days, GBP 152

Know the Volume and Weight of Your Shipment

It is always a good idea to know how your goods are packed, as well as the volume (m3) and weight (kg) of your shipment. Without this information, no freight forwarder will be able to help you with a quote as the price is calculated on the basis of volume. In the event of very heavy goods, the weight may also have an affect on the price. For example, europallets have a maximum of approx. 700-800 kg. per pallet, depending on the freight forwarder. Exceeding this maximum weight will also have an influence on the calculation of the price. We recommend that you check the exact volume and weight of your shipment before asking a freight forwarder for a quote or before booking your shipment via

Book Your Transport Fast and Easy via Transporteca

Transporteca is an online booking portal that provides you with transport solutions from relevant freight forwarders. Once you know the details of your next shipment, feel free to visit our site, and select whether you are importing ‘pallets’ or ‘packages’. Once you have filled in the search box, you will get your list of corresponding transport solutions, which contains prices and expected delivery dates.

Now you can book your transport directly on the website, and once the payment is completed, the freight forwarder will take care of the rest for you: contact your supplier, pick up the shipment, customs clearance, and deliver to your address.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions. We are here to help.
[email protected] or +44 20 3769 6586