Importing for the first time

28th August 2017

We recently imported an ice cream machine and Gazebo from China for Michael Notarangelo of Edinburgh start-up Rolly’s Ice Cream. We asked him about his experience importing for the first time, and what he would do differently next time.

How did you find your supplier?

I found the supplier through Alibaba, I contacted a few manufacturers and got an idea of the how much the unit would cost with the modifications I wanted to make. After a few quotes I settled on a manufacturer I trusted based on their testimonials. 


How did you communicate with your supplier?

Communication was fairly simple, we communicated through WhatsApp and even though the manufacturer was in China, she was very responsive and the process to decide on a final design and price was very straight forward.


The ice cream gazebo

Did you hit any problems and how did you resolve them?

The first problem I hit was not knowing how to import the machine, the manufacturer was asking me what shipping terms I wanted and what port I wanted the machine to be delivered to and I had no idea what they were on about, I thought they would just deliver it to the port nearest me and I would collect it from there. 

I was advised to get a shipping agent, this is how I came across T.Ward Shipping. 

How did you find a shipping company?

I done a few google searches for shipping agents and T.Ward popped up and it stood out as it was in Edinburgh and they covered the Forth Ports which I thought it would be delivered too. 

What did T.Ward Shipping contribute to the import process?

I phoned T.Ward and spoke with Callum, he was extremely helpful and immediately I knew I was in safe hands as he talked me through the whole process and explained how T.Ward would take care of all the logistics and would deliver the unit door to door via sea and road and take care of all import and duty tax and ensure the unit clears customs without issue. T.Ward were in constant communication throughout and everything went smoothly with the whole shipping process. 

Michael at work


Is there anything you would you do differently next time?

If I was to import again, I would negotiate shipping terms with both parties to get the best price for myself as it can be costly when you need to cover overseas handling fees. 

Do you have any advice for other 1st time importers?

Use T.Ward for your shipping needs, but just be weary that although manufacturing is cheaper in china/overseas just be aware of the UK customs charges or port handling charges as these can really 

ramp up the cost, especially if the unit is expensive.