Christmas Deliveries Made Possible by Customs Support
Your Christmas shopping starts now, but we love a last-minute rush! Charlie Dawson explains how Customs Support Ireland enabled a late shipment across Asia and Europe by rail, sea, and land last year.
How far in advance do companies order Christmas stock?
Generally, companies like to get all their goods in by the start of November so that they’re ready to be distributed to stores in time. If there are delays like there have been over the last couple of years for lockdowns and other issues, then these place you at risk of not selling your stock on time.
What we see, though, is that businesses start to order Christmas goods around the start of June so that they arrive by the end of July. The cost of storing your goods for a few months can be close to, or even less than, the increased freight rates closer to Christmas time – and the risk reduction is worth it.
How do you support Christmas as a customs broker?
There are many ways in which we can help you. We can process the import clearance, of course, but this is only a basic function of ours.
What we can also do is help you with using the right commodity code, suspend your duty using a bonded warehouse, or maybe eliminate duty by helping you select a different country of supply – some Christmas items are duty-free from different countries.
You helped an importer with a last-minute shipment last year. Tell us about that
One of our customers in Belfast wanted to order some more stock in late October but was concerned that it wouldn’t reach Ireland in time. The average transit from China to Northern Ireland is 51 days by sea freight, so any delay risked the shipment not arriving in time for sale.
After discussing it with our team, we helped the customer route the container by a combination of rail, sea, and road to get the shipment to Belfast in approximately 21 days. The complex part was then how to facilitate the route through customs, which we did.
Firstly, we instructed the shipper to raise a T1 form so that the goods could travel through multiple countries without requiring payment of duty and VAT. The container would be moving by rail through China, Russia, and the EU, so there needed to be no delays at any borders.
We needed to check the accuracy and compliance of the paperwork for movement through all of these countries. Russia is a sensitive territory at the moment, and we couldn’t afford a delay on arrival in the EU, so we checked with our colleagues in Germany as they see more movements through this border.
We then processed the phase one (non-inventory) clearance in Northern Ireland so that the driver could close the T1 form on arrival.
The operation was a success, and our customer got their goods on time for Christmas.