Global supply chains are becoming the ‘norm’ as businesses branch out to international suppliers to boost their resilience, with road haulage being the most popular mode of freight transport in the UK.
There are several key points to consider before choosing a European road haulage company, especially if you intend to get the full benefit of the service. You’ll also need to know how to pay an overseas invoice without eroding your revenue or exposing your business to unnecessary currency risk.
What is international road haulage?
International road haulage is the movement of goods from one country to another by road. The two most popular methods are ‘international loaded’ and ‘international unloaded’. ‘Loaded’ refers to goods being loaded in the vehicle’s registered country and transported overseas. Unloaded is the opposite — goods are loaded overseas and brought back to the country the vehicle is registered in.
Road haulage is best suited to businesses with large volumes of product to import from mainland Europe. Food and agricultural products, machinery, and consumer products are the most popular for road freight transportation in the UK.
What to consider when booking road haulage services
To reap the full benefits of an international road haulier, you should consider several factors. These include:
- Type of goods transported (e.g heavy load, fragile or hazardous)
- Size/weight of packed units
- Speciality of road haulier (e.g heavy haulage or hazardous freight distribution)
- Timescale required
If you import from one country in particular, you may benefit from working with a haulier who regularly operates there — such as a UK to France road haulage specialist. They’re more likely to have established routes and the necessary documentation and licences needed to move easily between the two destinations.
How much does importing goods via road haulier cost?
The road haulage rates you pay will depend on the type of vehicle your goods require. It also includes the cost of tolls and ferry crossings. You can request a quote based on the weight, volume, packing style and urgency of your consignment.
Now that Brexit has taken effect, it’s important to work with European road haulage companies who hold the correct documentation for the movement of goods across European boarders. They should have an EORI number and in some cases, an ECMT permit and an international driving permit.
How to pay for international road haulage
According to Deloitte, the majority of the UK’s imported goods are handled by hauliers with vehicles registered in Romania, Ireland and Poland. Paying a European road haulage company can expose your business to currency risk, especially as the UK is still to agree its post-Brexit trade deals with a number of countries.
Making overseas transfers can also be incredibly expensive through a standard business account, especially if you plan on making regular payments. Rather than risking market volatility or facing the high cost of business banking, you can opt for a moneycorp business account. FX tools such as spot contracts give you the option to quickly pay invoices online at the current exchange rate with funds typically delivered in 1-2 working days.
You may also need to set up a duty deferment account to easily pay import, excise and customs duties by direct debit each month. Once you have a duty deferment account, you can apply for CFSP (Customs Freight Simplified Procedures) to make the customs process far quicker.
Which documents are needed to pay European road hauliers?
Once road haulage rates have been agreed and customs charges, duties and VAT have been established, you’ll need to pay for your road haulier services.
The main document you need is a commercial invoice, complete with the correct data for customs declarations. To pay an international invoice, you’ll need an IBAN number (International Bank Account Number) and a BIC/SWIFT code.
The invoice should also contain the road haulier’s VAT number (if registered), the VAT charge for the country they’re based in, and the commodity codes for your imports. You should also have the consignment paperwork to hand.
As each post-Brexit trade deal is agreed, the documents required for international road transport to the UK may change. It's best to stay up to date with trade-specific news to ensure you always have the documentation you need. To find out how moneycorp can help you successfully manage your overseas payments, speak with one of our currency specialists today.