Congratulations! You’ve received interest in your goods/products from a customer outside of the UK, but what do you need to do next?

Carrying on reading for AFS Global’s top tips for preparing to export.

  • EORI

In order to export (or import) from the UK, you will need to register with HMRC to receive your unique Economic Operators Registration and Identification number, better known as your EORI number. This is a one-time registration, free to apply and typically takes 48 to 72 hours to be issued and activated. Once you have your EORI, you’re able to trade internationally.

  • Understanding your potential customer and territory

It’s worthwhile doing your research on who is interested in buying your products. Are they a recognised company? Do they have a credible website? Which country are they based in? Knowing the location of your customer will help when you are deciding which Incoterm to use for the sale of your goods.

  • Incoterms

Who’s responsible for the which part of the shipping process? Who’s paying for the collection of the goods or the freight costs? Is it you or your customer? An Incoterm will quickly clarify which party, either the buyer (your customer) or the seller (YOU), is responsible for each step of the journey.

  • Size of Shipment

Will the order fill a shipping container? If so, you can send a 20FT/40FT or 40FT High Cube container to your customer. This is referred to as a Full Container Load (FCL).

Sending a smaller shipment? If you are sending a few pallets or crates, then this is known as an LCL (Less than Container Load). LCL’s can be any size and we can help you understand how this differs from sending a full container.

  • Pricing

When you offer your customer a price, ensure that you specify which Incoterm applies to your quote. If you are offering an Ex-Works price, you only need to factor in the costs of manufacturing the goods, as all other costs of export will be paid by your customer (the buyer).

On the other end of the Incoterm scale, if you offer your customer a DAP price, then you must ensure that you have included all packaging, loading, collection, freight, local charges and onward delivery to your customers nominated place.

Some other commonly used Incoterms for exporting are FOB, CIF, CPT. Don’t worry if these don’t make any sense, the team at Asia Freight will be able to discuss these with you in more detail.

  • Timescales

When negotiating with your customer, you will need to bear in mind not just the manufacturing time of the products but also the lead times for packaging, collection, transit to the right seaport or airport and time on the water / in the air to get your goods to your customers destination.

  • Packaging

Preparing your products for the journey ahead. You will obviously want your goods to arrive at their destination and meet with your customer’s approval. Although packaging your goods for transit is an additional cost, it’s incredibly important that the crate / pallet / cartons are robust enough to stand up to the rigours of global travel. Pallets and custom-made crates must be built from ISPN 15 treated timber or other materials that are approved for worldwide transport. The threat of infestation through untreated packaging is taken very seriously by all destinations.

  • Cargo Insurance

Another consideration is whether you will insure your goods whilst they are being transported around the world. Subject to the size of the shipment, the pallets / crates / cartons can be handled a number of times on their journey. Having marine cargo insurance will provide peace of mind for you and covers against loss / damage arising from the perils associated with navigation by sea / air or road.

  • Heavyweight items?

If your goods are very heavy, then you will need to consider this when pricing and shipping them. With weight, most shipping lines have limitations/guidance/surcharges to be aware of and be especially vigilant with air freight where weight is one of the most important factors.

  • Hazardous Goods

There are many factors to consider when deciding if you are shipping “Hazardous Goods”. Something as simple as your products containing lithium batteries can greatly affect the transport, packing and declaration of your goods. Failure to accurately declare hazardous goods can be heavily penalised. With dangerous or hazardous goods, you must ensure that you provide your freight forwarder with the Dangerous Goods Note (DGN) and the Materials Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) so they can make the proper shipping arrangements.


Exporting your goods to customers around the world can be simple if you use the right partners.

For more information and a personalised quote, please get in touch with a member of the AFS Global team, who will be happy to help.