International Transport and Distribution

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International transport and distribution
Introduction
Transport and distribution are key considerations when planning for international trade. Choosing the right mode of transport is essential to ensure your import or export operation is efficient and cost-effective. There are four ways of importing and exporting from overseas - road, rail, air and sea. When making your choices, you will also need to decide whether to handle logistics by yourself, or outsource the work to a freight forwarder. This guide examines each mode of transport and provides an overview of the issues you must address. It covers how to deal with customs, identifies which regulations must be complied with and how to manage a freight forwarder. This guide explains the basics of international trade and distribution. For more detailed information see our sections on transporting your goods and preparing goods for transport. Using road transport for international trade

Road transport can be the most flexible option for your international business, especially within the European Union. The motorway network is good and crossing national borders is usually quick and efficient. Other advantages:

relatively low cost
extensive road networks - scheduled delivery days and next day delivery services are a viable option you can schedule transport to suit you and you can track the location of goods consignments can be secure and private

But you should be aware of the following issues:
it can take time to travel long distances overland
delays can be caused by traffic and vehicles are subject to breakdown problems there is the risk of goods being damaged if vehicles are not driven carefully  toll charges are high in some countries

complying with road and traffic regulations in some countries You can either use your own vehicles, or a carrier. If you operate your own vehicles, you will need to consider licences, fuel costs, regulations, driver training and tax. There are various types of carrier, including: Couriers - specialise in the speedy and secure delivery of small goods and packages. Find a courier service in your area on the Locateacourier website - Opens in a new window. Hauliers - will collect goods from your premises and deliver them by road. Freight forwarders - consolidate shipments and have a detailed knowledge of the rules and regulations that your business must comply with. See the page in this guide on choosing and managing a freight forwarder and see our guide on using brokers and forwarders. Goods-in-transit insurance can protect you if goods are lost or damaged when transported. Road haulage falls under the Convention des Marchandises Routiers (CMR) which sets out conditions for transporting goods by road. This gives basic cover, but it's advisable to take out extra insurance. See our guides on insurance for international trade and transport insurance. The rules on the international transport of dangerous goods by road are subject to international legislation, in particular the European Agreement on the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR). Drivers of vehicles carrying dangerous goods must hold an ADR training certificate in handling dangerous goods. Using sea transport for international trade

If your business needs to transport large quantities but there is no pressure to deliver quickly, shipping by sea may be suitable. Other advantages include:
you can ship large volumes at low costs - a freight forwarder can consolidate consignments to reduce costs you can use containers for multi-modal solutions - eg using road or rail for onward delivery However, you should consider the following issues:

shipping containers by sea can be slow when compared with other transport modes and bad weather can hamper delivery schedules routes and timetables are usually inflexible
it's difficult to track the exact location of goods in transit  you have to pay port duties and taxes
your goods will require inland transportation to their...
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