Frequently Asked Questions
When is VAT charged on your invoices?
For UK based companies that have movements within the EU (including UK domestic movements), the standard rate of VAT is charged.
For NON UK based companies no VAT is charged.
For UK based companies that have movements outside the EU, in most circumstances, VAT is not charged.
What are the internal dimensions of a trailer?
The average size of a trailer:
13.6 metre trailer – length 13.4m x width 2.44m x height 2.5m.
N.B. All sizes are in metres.
What are the internal dimensions of a container?
The average size of a container (20ft – 40ft):
40 foot standard container – length 12m x width 2.34m x height 2.38m.
20 foot standard container – length 5.88m x width 2.34m x height 2.38m.
What is the maximum weight I can load into a trailer or container?
Maximum weight that can be loaded in to a container (average):
13.6 metre trailer – 23,500kg (25,000kg to some destinations).
20 foot container – 20,500kg
40 foot container – 24,000kg
Common trading terms used in shipping goods internationally include:
EXW – Ex Works (named place)
The seller makes the goods available at his premises. The buyer is responsible for all charges.
This trade term places the greatest responsibility on the buyer and minimum obligations on the seller. The Ex Works term is often used when making an initial quotation for the sale of goods without any costs included.
EXW means that a seller has the goods ready for collection at his premises (Works, factory, warehouse, plant) on the date agreed upon.
The buyer pays all transportation costs and also bears the risks for bringing the goods to their final destination.
FCA – Free Carrier (named places)
The seller hands over the goods, cleared for export, into the custody of the first carrier (named by the buyer) at the named place. This term is suitable for all modes of transport, including carriage by air, rail, road, and containerised / multi-modal sea transport. This is the correct “freight collect” term to use for sea shipments in containers, whether LCL (less than container load) or FCL (full container load).
FAS – Free Alongside Ship (named loading port)
The seller must place the goods alongside the ship at the named port. The seller must clear the goods for export. Suitable only for maritime transport only but NOT for multimodal sea transport in containers (see Incoterms 2010, ICC publication 715). This term is typically used for heavy-lift or bulk cargo.
FOB – Free on board (named loading port)
The seller must themself load the goods on board the ship nominated by the buyer, cost and risk being pided at ship’s rail. The seller must clear the goods for export. Maritime transport only but NOT for multimodal sea transport in containers (see Incoterms 2010, ICC publication 715). The buyer must instruct the seller the details of the vessel and port where the goods are to be loaded, and there is no reference to, or provision for, the use of a carrier or forwarder. It DOES NOT include Air transport. This term has been greatly misused over the last three decades ever since Incoterms 1980 explained that FCA should be used for container shipments.
CFR or CNF – Cost and Freight (named destination port)
Seller must pay the costs and freight to bring the goods to the port of destination. However, risk is transferred to the buyer once the goods have crossed the ship’s rail. Maritime transport only and Insurance for the goods is NOT included. Insurance is at the Cost of the Buyer.
CIF – Cost, Insurance and Freight (named destination port)
Exactly the same as CFR except that the seller must in addition procure and pay for insurance for the buyer. Maritime transport only.
CPT – Carriage Paid To (named place of destination)
The general/containerised/multimodal equivalent of CFR. The seller pays for carriage to the named point of destination, but risk passes when the goods are handed over to the first carrier.
DAF – Delivered At Frontier (named place)
This term can be used when the goods are transported by rail and road. The seller pays for transportation to the named place of delivery at the frontier. The buyer arranges for customs clearance and pays for transportation from the frontier to his factory. The passing of risk occurs at the frontier.
DES – Delivered Ex Ship (named port)
Where goods are delivered ex ship, the passing of risk does not occur until the ship has arrived at the named port of destination and the goods made available for unloading to the buyer. The seller pays the same freight and insurance costs as he would under a CIF arrangement. Unlike CFR and CIF terms, the seller has agreed to bear not just cost, but also Risk and Title up to the arrival of the vessel at the named port. Costs for unloading the goods and any duties, taxes, etc… are for the Buyer. A commonly used term in shipping bulk commodities, such as coal, grain, dry chemicals and where the seller either owns or has chartered, their own vessel.
DEQ – Delivered Ex Quay (named port)
This is similar to DES, but the passing of risk does not occur until the goods have been unloaded at the port of destination.
DDU – Delivered Duty Unpaid (named destination place)
This term means that the seller delivers the goods to the buyer to the named place of destination in the contract of sale. The goods are not cleared for import or unloaded from any form of transport at the place of destination. The buyer is responsible for the costs and risks for the unloading, duty and any subsequent delivery beyond the place of destination. However, if the buyer wishes the seller to bear cost and risks associated with the import clearance, duty, unloading and subsequent delivery beyond the place of destination, then this all needs to be explicitly agreed upon in the contract of sale.
DDP – Delivered Duty Paid (named destination place)
This term means that the seller pays for all transportation costs and bears all risk until the goods have been delivered and pays the duty. Also used interchangeably with the term “Free Domicile”. The most comprehensive term for the buyer. In most of the importing countries, taxes such as (but not limited to) VAT and excises should not be considered prepaid being handled as a “refundable” tax. Therefore VAT and excises usually are not representing a direct cost for the importer since they will be recovered against the sales on the local (domestic) market.