We continue our series of question and answer sessions by asking Agata Gorka of Dr Gorka Trading and Consulting about her experience importing to the UK for the first time.
Dr Gorka are a local Edinburgh company who provide furniture and equipment for manufacturing plants, R&D centres, hotels, schools and hospitals. They import goods from Europe and China, especially for the high tech world of research and development labs.
We imported two shipments via LCL (less than container load) sea freight method from China - one from Ningbo and one from Shanghai.
Once Dr.Gorka had established a supplier and paid a deposit for their goods they instructed us to arrange shipment. Through our Chinese agents, we then spoke directly to their supplier to facilitate the export from China to the UK, which meant Dr.Gorka didn’t have to worry about any of the export and shipping from China to the UK. When the goods were close to arrival date in the UK, we simply processed their import through UK customs and, once cleared, we ensured they got their goods in a timely manner.
One of the shipments required customs examination but we kept in touch with HMRC throughout to try and get goods inspected within the agreed free storage period.
How did you find your supplier?
We found several manufacturers that seemed interesting on online trading platforms, contacted them and negotiated contract conditions with the ones who seemed reliable and trustworthy.
How did you communicate with your supplier?
Online only, mostly via emails and WhatsApp.
Did you hit any problems and how did you resolve them?
No, we did not encounter any problems throughout the order process.
How did you find a shipping company?
We found the shipping agent through internet research. We wanted someone with real people sitting in real offices, preferably in Edinburgh, should a need arise to come and meet them. We didn’t though, the process was so smooth we communicated via emails and phone calls only.
How did T.Ward Shipping contribute to the import process?
The one problem we did not anticipate was the long time we had to wait for the UK Border services to check the shipment before allowing it to enter the country. T.Ward Shipping contacted the officers on a daily basis to speed up the process and succeeded so that we didn’t have to pay additional storage charges.
Is there anything you would you do differently next time?
No, we would have proceeded exactly the same.
Do you have any advice for other 1st time importers?
Always plan ahead for any unexpected delays and expenses, choose your contractors wisely and trust your intuition.
We’ve completed two shipments for Dr.Gorka so far, and we hope to continue working with them and their new venture in the future.
More first time importers we interviewed: