What every business should know

International Shipping Services

At World Options, we offer international shipping services from some of the world’s biggest and most reliable carriers, for everything from documents to shipping containers. Our export courier services are a great way for UK businesses to extend their reach abroad and with over 300 destinations available, there’s no limit to the scale of your international shipping possibilities.

With our unique online shipping portal, you can book exactly the service you need and compare rates on international shipping from many of the best couriers to ensure your business requirements are met.

Unlike with domestic shipping, there are extra considerations to make when choosing international shipping services and rules to be aware of that may apply differently to different countries, or to different shipments. A step-by-step guide and an interactive map are available below to help you ensure that your international shipments meet the relevant regulations and requirements.

How can World Options help?

The World Options portal is a great option for ad-hoc shipping solutions, both domestic and international, and enables you to book, manage and track multiple orders with different carriers all in one place, giving you more control and more flexibility to suit your needs.

However, if your UK business has made the decision to begin exporting products on a regular basis, World Options can also help to give insight on the best carriers for your exact requirements and enable you to compare prices on the services you need to find the best available rate.

For more information about services to a specific country, please select a destination on the interactive map below. This guide will offer you some general tips on shipping overseas, accompanied by an interactive map that reveals country-by-country facts to be aware of, such as legislation, customs rules, and regulations.

tour the world with our interactive map

Europe

Asia

Select a place

Where can I ship to?

World Options provides international shipping services to over 300 locations worldwide. Below, we’ve listed some of the most popular destinations to help you to learn more about the requirements and regulations that apply to each when exporting goods.

The most popular international destinations for UK businesses include:

  • Australia
  • Belgium
  • China
  • France
  • Germany
  • India
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Netherlands
  • Singapore
  • Spain
  • USA

The information provided is intended as a guide and is subject to change. If you have questions about a particular shipment or service to another country, please call World Options’ customer support on 0330 335 8100 for bespoke advice tailored to your circumstances, or fill in our customer contact form.

General advice for shipping around the world

When shipping overseas, it is important to look into the specific rules regarding the item(s) you are sending. These will differ from country to country, as will the documentation you’ll need to provide alongside your shipment. The pages listed above will provide more information about the specifics of each country and with the World Options online portal, you can automate many of these steps or receive prompts to provide the necessary information for customs and border control authorities around the world to process your shipments.

Below, we have provided some general advice for ensuring that your exported goods fulfill all the necessary requirements. If you have questions about a specific item you wish to ship, or the regulations for a specific country, you can fill in the form at the bottom of this page to arrange a call back with one of World Options’ international shipping experts.

Consult the carrier

As well as the import/export regulations imposed by countries, every shipping carrier has its own rules around what can and cannot be shipped to each destination. As these rules vary

between each provider, and are frequently updated, it is important to check with the particular carrier you are using at that point in time to ensure you do not break any rules.

Failure to comply with guidance or legislation on restricted or prohibited items could result in delays to your shipment, fines or the shipment being destroyed, so it is a costly error that you must aim to avoid. The World Options platform gives you access to multiple carriers and an Account Manager who will stay up to date with each company’s rules. This means that you’ll always be able to find a carrier that can fulfill your needs.

It’s also important to ensure that you choose the carrier with the right service for your needs. World Options provides access to international services from UPS, DHL, TNT and FedEx, many of which deliver both express and economy services to enable you to choose a faster or a more cost-effective option.

Each carrier has advantages and disadvantages. For example, UPS handles more packages than any other carrier, but also has more extra charges for additional handling for large or heavy packages, and even charges for delivering to residential properties - so getting the best price will depend on the specifics of your parcel.

DHL offers timed services and has better prices for lighter-weight packages, but for consignments over 60kg the company needs 24-hour notice to make a booking, so it’s perfect for smaller goods. TNT is ideal for services into Europe and domestic UK deliveries, but has different size limits for different countries and has limited coverage to the USA. FedEx provides the fastest service to the USA from the UK, but has a zone-specific pricing structure that can make things complicated.

For more details about any of these services, become a World Options customer and speak to your dedicated account manager to get detailed advice tailored to your business needs.

Pick the right packaging

Regardless of where you are shipping to, you want your item(s) to arrive in perfect condition, just as the recipient expects. The nature of the packaging will depend on the contents, but it may also need to be adapted according to which country you are shipping to and which carrier you’re using.

Check the rules set out by the carrier you are using for that particular destination to ensure your choice of packaging is compliant. Some considerations to bear in mind when choosing your packaging include:

  • Checking the weight, size, value, fragility and shape of the goods; these elements will dictate the type of packaging the parcel requires
  • What is the final use of the shipment? If you are shipping directly to customers, your inner packaging must be in excellent condition. If the item is being shipped to a retailer, it has to be retail-ready and free from markings
  • Applying the six-centimetre rule: ensure that there is a minimum of 6cm distance between the walls and the contents of the box
  • Avoiding empty space within the box and filling this with appropriate internal packaging, such as bubble wrap, foam, crumpled paper, corrugated cardboard or airbags
  • For more comprehensive guidance on your packaging, consult our free shipping guide which is available to download via this link.

Calculate the volumetric weight of your parcel

The volumetric weight of a parcel is a calculation that carriers use to determine its overall size for the purposes of pricing. Each carrier will have slightly different prices relating to volumetric weight, but these are generally standardised to remain competitive. To calculate the volumetric weight of a parcel for the purposes of shipping with UPS, DHL, FedEx or TNT express services, you can measure the height, length and width of the box in centimetres, times these three numbers together and divide the total by 5,000.

You can avoid paying extra-dimensional weight charges for a parcel by ensuring that the packaging of your goods is only as large as it needs to be - oversized but lightweight boxes are typically penalised when paying by volumetric weight.

Check the documentation

A common cause of delays with international shipments occurs at customs, as a result of the wrong - or no - documentation being attached to the products. The nature of this paperwork varies according to the destination, carrier and contents, so it is crucial to check the individual rules around this that apply to every shipment you send. Typically, you will be required to provide paperwork that demonstrates you have paid the relevant taxes, customs fees and tariffs.

Paperwork requirements will also vary from country to country. To find out more about each country, click the links above, or speak to your World Options account manager.

International shipping with World Options

At World Options, our online portal makes it easy to fill in the necessary paperwork and can provide much of the documentation you need automatically. By comparing services from many of the world’s leading carriers, you can ensure that you get exactly the service you need at the most competitive rate available.

To get started or to receive a quote for a specific delivery, please contact us using the form below to arrange a call back from a World Options international shipping expert.

START SHIPPING - REQUEST A FREE ACCOUNT

Parcel to

Australia

As the 13th largest economy in the world, Australia is a good country to trade with. It has had 26 years of economic growth, and a prosperous market with most Aussies enjoying high income jobs. Many brits have chosen to emigrate to Australia which has contributed to import and export of goods and improved courier links between both countries.

The UK is Australia’s seventh largest trading partner, trading between both countries is valued at $27.8 billion (2017-18). The UK is the second largest foreign investor in Australia, valued at $481.4 billion.

The relationship between the UK and Australia is very strong, and following the UK’s announcement to leave the EU, Australia was one of the first countries to reach out and start a working dialogue of implementing a Australia-United Kingdom free trade agreement.Both governments are committed to ensure a swift progress of FTA negotiations when the UK has left the EU.

How to send a parcel to Australia here

Parcel To Australia

Parcel to

Belgium

Belgium is a short distance from the UK and can be accessed by rail, air and sea, so there has been a close trading relationship between the two nations for many years. Belgium’s appealing economy has attracted global businesses, many of which have headquarters in Germany.

English is very widely spoken in Belgium and the country is in a strategic location for accessing the rest of Europe, making it appealing for UK businesses to export there.

The top UK exports to Belgium are:

  • Automotive equipment
  • Chemical products
  • Diamonds
  • Medical products

Want to send a parcel to Belgium? Click below to learn more.

Parcel To Belgium

Parcel to

France

French and British businesses have traded with one another for centuries, with the two countries benefiting from their close proximity and mutual appreciation of one another’s cultures. The easy access to France via road, rail, air and sea means that many British businesses chose the country for their first foray into exporting.

The market and economy in France is quite similar to the UK; however, there are a number of considerations to make in order to successfully ship across the Channel. While rules for EU countries tend to be more lenient than those for the rest of the world, it is also worth checking the regulations enforced by individual carriers, as these will vary according to provider.

Discover everything you need to know about sending a parcel to France here

Parcel To France

Parcel to

Germany

Germany is often seen as an appealing destination for British businesses looking to export their goods overseas. It is close to the UK and there are a number of ways to access the country, via rail, road, air and sea.

Germany has an excellent transport infrastructure, and its renowned autobahn motorways make land transportation an appealing prospect for overseas businesses looking to sell in different German cities.

Its strong economy is another benefit, as there is a ready and willing customer base that has the funds to spend on your goods, provided that you can show they are relevant and appealing to your target market. With proper planning, logistics and shipping in place, exporting to Germany can bring a real boost to British businesses.

How to send a parcel to Germany here

Parcel To Germany

Parcel to

Ireland

The obvious first benefit to mention when you are considering exporting to Ireland is that there is no language barrier to take into account, which removes some of the obstacles that many businesses face when shipping overseas. This is just one of the reasons why, according to official government data, Ireland is the UK’s fifth largest export market and imports more from the UK than any other country.

Food and drink are the main success stories and Ireland is the UK’s largest export market in these sectors, followed by clothing, fashion and footwear. This means businesses operating in those industries have huge potential to begin shipping their products to Ireland. But firms outside the sectors equally have scope to sell their items to Irish consumers, provided there is demand and a gap in the market.

The easy transport access to Ireland is another benefit to exporting here, with air and sea shipping solutions readily available to get your goods to their destination within a short length of time. This is perhaps one of the reasons why the government reports that two-way trade between the UK and Ireland stands at more than €1 billion per week.

How to send a parcel to Ireland here

Parcel To Ireland

Parcel to

Italy

Italy’s membership of the European Union means there are no tariffs for fellow members, making it an appealing destination in which to do business. It is easily accessible from the UK via rail, road or air, and has excellent links to the rest of Europe, as well as the Middle East.

The UK government warns that payment terms in Italy are longer than in the UK, taking an average of 80 days for business-to-business payments in 2014. There are also certain sectors where terms are even longer, stretching to almost five months for public administration bodies, although this has been improved recently.

Despite its complicated bureaucracy, Italy remains a strong option if you are looking to sell your goods abroad.

Find out how to send a parcel to Italy

Parcel To Italy

Parcel to

Netherlands

Thanks to the close political and cultural ties the Netherlands and the UK share, the Netherlands is seen as an attractive place for British businesses to export goods to.

Over 90% of people in the Netherlands can speak English, it is the 18th largest economy in the world and it has a GDP per capita of $48,860 (£37,894) which makes the Netherlands one of the richest countries in the world. The country is also home to the port of Rotterdam, which is the largest port in Europe and one of the busiest in the world and which handles 40 tonnes of goods to and from Britain every year.

Courier Transportation links are great, as the country boasts a modern road, railway, air and water network, which has been rated as the 4th best infrastructure in the world.

British businesses are benefiting from this fantastic network by utilising the excellent courier services when sending documents, parcels, packages, pallets and freight shipments to the Netherlands.

Click below to learn how to send a parcel to the Netherlands

Parcel To Netherlands

Parcel to

Spain

Spain has a close relationship with the UK and the two countries share a mutual appreciation of one another's culture, customs and consumer behaviour. British businesses keen to ship overseas have a good chance of success in Spain, thanks to this strong bond and the geographical proximity of the country.

Another appealing fact about doing business in Spain is that it can open up access to the Latin American market. The ties between Spain and Latin America can act as an entry point for British firms to create even more opportunities for growth in the future.

The benefits of shipping to Spain outweigh the disadvantages, but you should be aware of slight differences in the market compared with the UK. Many organisations have long payment terms, often between 90 and 120 days long, which must be taken into account when planning your business operations. The British government also explains that the high degree of devolution of powers to Spain’s 17 autonomous regions can be a barrier for exporting.

Learn More About Sending A Parcel To Spain Here

Parcel To Spain


Parcel to

United States

The United States is the UK’s number one trade partner. Recent figures from the government show the UK exported £113.8bn worth of goods and services to the USA, and imported £69.5bn in 2017.

Send your parcels, packages, documents or pallets to the US using FedEx, UPS or DHL through World Options. Each carrier has a different set of rules on the type of goods they will transport, so it’s worth doing your research first.

You should check the information supplied by your chosen carrier to see whether or not they will accept the product and how it should be sent in case there are specific packaging requirements. There are a number for prohibited and restricted items, import and export rules, these rules can change from time to time.

To view this information click below

Parcel To USA


Parcel to

China

The increase in online shopping and a high amount of manufactures located in China, it’s not surprising to find out more and more businesses are sending goods to China and ordering goods from China to be shipped to the UK.

The latest government figures release by the UK government recorded that UK exports to China were worth £22.3 billion, and imports from China in were £45.2 billion.

In cash terms, UK exports to China have increased from £1.9 billion in 1999 and imports from China have increased from £4.2 billion.

Learn how to send a Parcel to China here

Parcel To China


Parcel to

India

India is the world’s seventh largest economy and since 2014 with country is one of the fastest growing economies in the world – beating even China. India is expected to be the world’s second largest economy by 2050.

These facts along with India having the world’s second biggest population, make the country a serious importer and exporter, as well as trading and business destination to watch out for, now and in the future.

India and the UK also share deep cultural and business ties. Trade between the two countries have existed for at least 400 years and the UK is home to over 1.8 million people of Indian origin, who reside in areas such as: Wembley, Southall, Leicester and Birmingham.

How To Send A Parcel To India Here

Parcel To India

Parcel to

Singapore

Singapore is one of richest countries in the world. Its advanced economy is rated as being as one of the most transparent in Asia. Singapore has the 3rd highest GDP in the world and the port of Singapore is the second busiest in the world. Which makes sending parcels to Singapore a simple and straightforward process.

English is spoken by over 80% of the population, with it also being the native language of over one-third of the population due to the large expat community do live, work and do business in Singapore.

Major exports from the UK to Singapore include:

  • Transportation equipment
  • Financial services
  • Chemicals
  • Manufactured goods

Discover how to send a parcel to Singapore by clicking below:

Parcel To Singapore

general advice for

shipping around the world

When shipping overseas it is important to look into the specific rules regarding the item(s) you are sending and the rules according to the precise country you are exporting to, but the below advice should be considered as a starting point.

Consult the carrier

Every shipping carrier has its own rules around what can and cannot be shipped to each country of the world. As these rules vary between each provider, and are frequently updated, it is important to check with the particular carrier you are using at that point in time to ensure you do not break any rules. Failure to comply with the guidance given could result in delays to your shipment, fines or the shipment being destroyed, so it is a costly error that you must aim to avoid. The World Options platform gives you access to multiple carriers who will ship all around the globe and every single one has its own unique set of rules which your account manager can explain in full.

Pick the right packaging

Regardless of where you are shipping to, you want your item(s) to arrive in perfect condition, just as the recipient expects. The nature of the packaging will depend on the contents, but it may also need to be adapted according to which country you are shipping to. Again, check the rules set out by the carrier you are using for that particular destination to ensure your choice of packaging is compliant. Some considerations to bear in mind when choosing your packaging include:

  • Check the weight, size, value, fragility and shape of the goods; these elements will dictate the type of packaging the parcel requires
  • What is the final use of the shipment? If you are shipping direct to customers your inner packaging must be in excellent condition for this; if the item is going to a retailer it has to be retail-ready and free from markings
  • The six centimetre rule: ensure that there is a minimum of 6 cm distance from the walls of the box to the contents of the box
  • Avoid empty space within the box and fill this with appropriate internal packaging, such as bubble wrap, foam, crumpled paper, corrugated cardboard or air bags

For more comprehensive guidance on your packaging, consult our free shipping guide which is available to download via this link.

Documentation

A common cause of delays with international shipments occurs at customs as a result of the wrong - or no - documentation being attached to the products. The nature of this paperwork varies according to the destination, carrier and contents, so it is crucial to check the individual rules around this that apply to every shipment you send. Typically, you will be required to provide paperwork that demonstrates you have dealt with taxes, customs fees and tariffs.

Become A Customer

START SHIPPING - REQUEST A FREE ACCOUNT