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The Logistics Of Exporting To Latin America

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The Logistics Of Exporting To Latin America

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The transit time from the UK to Latin America is between 1 to 3 days via air and between 15 to 30 days via sea.

Deciding whether to ship by air or by sea will depend mainly on the type of goods, the time available for delivery and the freight costs which are charged based on the total size/mass of the cargo. Before deciding which method of transport to use, the exporter needs to check first that:

  • The goods are correctly classified (Harmonized Commodity Code) There are no restrictions for the exportation/ importation of the goods
  • Any export / import licence or certificate if applicable has beenissued by the relevant authority
  • The exporter, whether a company or an individual has a EORI number (required for UK customs)
  • The importer, whether a company or an individual is authorised to act as such in the country of destination
  • The parties, seller and buyer are aware of potential import taxes (duty, vat, etc.), which in some countries in Latin America can be 50% - 90% over the landing value of the goods
  • The parties, shipper and consignee are aware of potential airline storage charges or shipping line rental charges. Commonly airlines offer 24 hours free storage at arrival and shipping lines offer 7 days free rental after a container is discharged at its destination port. Extra charges will be incurred if customs clearance takes longer that this, which it usually does in Latin America where the average customs clearance process is 3 to 5 days for cargo arriving by air and between 10 to 15 days for cargo arriving by sea.
  • Exporting by Air

    The cargo will generally route to Latin America on direct flight or via an airport
    hub in either mainland Europe or the USA. It is approximately 30% cheaper to
    send via a hub than direct. Cargo should not exceed 160 cm height otherwise it
    will have to go on a cargo freighter (instead of a passenger aircraft), which will
    increase the costs. It is best to arrange for the goods to land at least 1 week prior
    to delivery date to allow for any potential delays.

    Exporting by Sea

    The vessel will generally sail on a direct route, going through the Panama Canal
    when the port of destination is on the Pacific side of the continent. A 20FT
    container will safely hold a maximum of approximately 19 tons of cargo and a
    40Ft around 27 tons. The shipper is responsible for supplying the VGM -Verified
    Gross Mass- of the container prior to shipping (Cargo gross mass + container tare weight = VGM). It is best to arrange for the goods to land at least 2 to 3 weeks prior to delivery date to allow for any potential delays.Whether by air or sea, it is highly recommended to ship a small volume of cargoon the first shipment, as a test to check everything is in place, including handling, product certificates, customs procedures, routes, etc. Thus minimizing the risks when shipping larger volumes.

    By Jorge Gonzalez of Britain & Latin America Logistics Ltd.

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