Customs clearance is a regular topic at Waller Transport when working with overseas clients fees when delivering pallets internationally or receiving them from abroad. We’ll also look at when they’re applicable, who pays them and how. 

So, Who Pays Customs Clearance Fees?

When sending a sea or air shipment abroad from the UK, clearance fees are not your problem, due to the fact that it’s the importer who pays that cost. The exporter needs to provide their customer with the relevant documentation for the shipment to pass through customs in the destination country, but all clearance costs are the responsibility of the recipient. 

Typically set down in the contract you have with your customer, the charges the importer pays will be determined by the duties and taxes charged there. Conversely, when you’re importing pallet freight into the UK, the responsibility is yours. So, it obviously pays to know exactly what that might entail. Keep reading to find out more. 

pallet freight - importing cargo - Waller Transport Services

How Are Customs Charges Worked Out?

There are a number of factors that are accounted for when determining the costs of importing cargo for shipping. Let’s take a look at what they are…

  • VAT – Typically related to the goods themselves, the shipping and the duty, the combined VAT amount is known as the ‘Taxable Import’. Right now, UK VAT is 20%
  • DUTY – Usually this figure is a percentage of the goods’ value and it will be categorised in line with a set commodity code. The HRMC’s Trade Tariff site will tell you more. 
  • ANTI-DUMPING DUTY – Charged to safeguard domestic manufacturing in the country of destination, this levy again varies depending on the goods in question. 
  • ADDITIONAL COSTS – There may be additional services required for quality & safety standard reasons, like X-rays or extra storage costs when delays occur. 

How Are These Customs Fees Settled?

When talking about companies importing pallet deliveries, they will usually have a freight forwarding company that takes care of it for them. For example, if you chose Waller Transport as your haulage provider, we’d deal with this on your behalf. 

However, should the importer be managing things, an invoice is issued, which will need to be settled before the cargo can move onward. Sometimes, a third party (not the importer) will be liable, which happens when importer/exporter incoterm agreements are made. 

It is possible to defer these duties by applying to HMRC, with certain customs procedures permitting logistics partners to assist in the application. Again, this is something the Waller Transport customs team will be able to help you with. 

Do These Charges HAVE to Be Paid?

Yes, they do, and any delivery company making a false declaration on commodity category or overall worth in an attempt to reduce taxation can face prosecution. Although several relief schemes in existence can help to reduce or eliminate this duty. 

One of these in the UK is the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP), which replaced the EU version at the beginning of 2021. It’s a scheme that allows goods from particular nations to be tax-reduced or exempt.

Again, the easiest way to determine exemption is to check the government website link shown above, which shows commodity codes and other information relating to other restrictions and exemptions. 

customs clearance process uk - Here to help with your customs clearance needs - Waller Transport Services

Here to Help With Your Customs Clearance Needs

Customs clearance payments are just one part of a very confusing process. The good news is that Waller Transport is here to help and you can find lots more information by looking at the Customs Clearance page on our website. Everything you need to know and more is laid out clearly for your convenience. 

We also have a dedicated customs team that offers an all-encompassing solution to all your customs clearance needs. You can help with administration, logistics and the red tape that so many fall foul of when moving shipments internationally. Whether you’re in need of one-off support or ongoing assistance, we’re here to help. 

If you’d like to speak to our customs team directly, you can do so by calling 01473 254717 today. However, if you need more general information about the benefits of working with Waller as a customer or driver, visit us today at