Multi-line customs entries on commercial invoices

Discussion in 'International Business' started by DefinitelyMaybeUK, Aug 6, 2021.

  1. DefinitelyMaybeUK

    DefinitelyMaybeUK UKBF Regular

    110 31
    When exporting, can anyone recommend a courier that doesn't charge multiline / additional tariff line fees?

    This is when you typically have more than 5 lines on a commercial invoice and the carrier (UPS, DHL etc) charges a fee per additional line. These fees are extortionate for small value items and are typically £2.50 to £5 per line.

    We've found with DHL there is possibly a relaxation of this rule if the customs info goes electronically (i.e. no paper commercial invoice on the package), but it it likely destination country dependent e.g. France seems ok, but Ireland is a definite no. Germany with UPS is looks to be a major money spinner for UPS :(

    We've tried to confirm the exact processing rules with UPS & DHL but getting an answer seems impossible - constant referrals and promises to call-back is the norm.

    Depending on your business, it may be possible to state the same generalised tariff code for all items (even though a more specific code could apply), but you'll still need to declare different countries of origin perhaps and even that could go over the 5 line limit. Is this an acceptable practice?

    We don't (knowingly) have an issue to USA / Canada / Australia etc and the problem has only come to light post Brexit to the EU as DHL for instance, only introduced the fee in 2020.
    Posted: Aug 6, 2021 By: DefinitelyMaybeUK Member since: Jan 12, 2021
  2. Mike Godwin

    Mike Godwin UKBF Regular

    185 50
    Maybe I can shed some light on this subject.
    1. It's normal practice for a courier/freight forwarders to charge a 'fee per line' on customs entries and this is largely due to the additional time it takes to prepare the entry.
    2. All customs clearances are processed electronically.
    3. The fact you may not have paid this previously with shipments to long haul destinations is a question for your courier to answer. However since Brexit, all freight companies have been inundated with additional customs paperwork on each shipment, the cost of which has to be recovered somehow.
    I would suggest you speak with other courier/freight forwarding companies and try to negotiate a better fee structure based on your volumes. Many UK Forwarders have special deals with the major courier companies and this may be a good option for you also.
    Hope this helps a little.....
    Posted: Aug 10, 2021 By: Mike Godwin Member since: Mar 27, 2018
  3. DefinitelyMaybeUK

    DefinitelyMaybeUK UKBF Regular

    110 31
    Hi Mike - thanks for the reply. I'd naively assumed that as the sender supplied all the customs info to the shipper electronically, then there shouldn't be any extra overheads - I'm guessing this isn't checked by hand at the far end - but maybe I'm wrong here and that's where those 'extra' costs come into play. As mentioned, getting clarification from the big boys is seemingly impossible. I've discovered today that ParcelForce may be worth another look as they *may* not have any line item charges unless it's their globalpriority service - the PF customer services weren't 100% convincing though! That said, contacting a forwarder could be the best answer :)
    Posted: Aug 10, 2021 By: DefinitelyMaybeUK Member since: Jan 12, 2021