Custom Clearance

This document contains frequently asked questions (FAQs) that have been compiled following analysis of customer queries received from recent Customs Declaration Service
town hall events.  They should be used to assist with the answering of questions relating to the closure of CHIEF and the process of moving to the Customs Declaration Service.

Click here to download: Customs Declaration Service – FAQ

Yes, we offer a total service and we will always assist our customers to complete any forms that are required to process the shipment.

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Customs clearance work involves the preparation and submission to customs of all documentations required for the import and export of goods. It also involves liaising with customs in regards to examinations, assessment of the goods, payment of taxes to government and arranging delivery together with all the correct documents after clearance.

Your obligations will differ depending on whether you are the shipper or the receiver. Generally, as the shipper you are obliged to correctly label the goods you are sending ensuring you identify the sender and receiver’s information on the items.

For exporters, you will be paying for the collection of your goods, booking it with the shipping line and arranging the customs clearance along with the documentations provided by the shipper. For the importer, we have 3 different service levels.  Our full service, however, would involve presenting your goods to HMRC/UKBA import clearances; dealing with the shipping line and contacting UKBA/HMRC with examination issues if your consignment is selected for x-ray; it also involves paying taxes on your behalf and arranging delivery to the final destination.

Actually you will find that our prices are extremely competitive for the level of services we provide. We are happy for you to compare our prices.  However, please remember that the quality of service provided by different agents can vary enormously.

Yes, you can follow the process yourself by completing form C88, but we would not recommend it, unless you know what you are doing.

We have trusted third party colleagues who delivered for us at competitive rates.

Yes, you can make your arrangements through our Schedule Planner which you will find on our website.

You can get more information by contacting Company’s House, telephone number: 0303 123 4500. 


We provide freight forwarding, warehousing, storage, pick ‘n’ pack and delivery. Please visit our website for full details.

Unfortunately, due to GDPR we are unable to provide customers’ details without their written permission to non-governmental personnel or to organisations. You will, however, find some testimonials on our website.

All our customers are given equal priorities and exceptional services.

We take exceptional care when transporting pets and livestock.

Human remains are given absolute priority and we guarantee that they are treated with the utmost respect both by ourselves and also by the airlines involved.

Each country’s customs have different import regulations. Any specific requirement will be based on the particular country’s rules and conditions for allowing the import of your consignments.

HMRC/UKBA or any other government agencies have the legal powers to open your packaging without your permission.

IPR is a customs regime system that offers the opportunity for companies to import goods from outside the UK. An IPR offers the opportunity for both customs duty and import VAT relief for the goods imported for processing into manufactured products prior to re-exportation to non-EU destinations. An IPR can also be used for goods being sent to the UK for repair or replacement, provided authorisation has been received from HMRC.

OPR allows for the temporary export of UK goods to be processed in a third country. On re-entry to free circulation in the UK, the customs duty is only payable on the value added in the non-EU country.  This is considered a partial relief of the customs duty.  OPR will also allow for faulty goods to be returned to non-EU country for repair or replacement with equivalent goods under the standard exchange system (SES).  OPR cannot be used however, if the goods are only subject to import VAT.

If you intend to use Outward Processing (OP) for exporting and re-importing gold & jewellery, you will require an authorisation for OP.  In order to obtain this you should send the gold or jewellery to an Assay office prior to export in order to identify the carat and quality of gold being exported.

House Bill of Lading (HBL) is a document created in-house by the freight forwarders or non-vessel operating company (NVOCC).  This is issued to the supplier of the cargo from the country of origin once payment has been received by the freight forwarder or NVOCC.  The HBL will include the names of the actual owner (the consignee) and the shipper (the exporter) of the goods on the documentation. The notifier can be either the importer or the local agent nominated by the customer.

Master Bill of Lading (MBL) is issued by the carrier (shipping line or operator).  This represents a contract between the person shipping and booking the freight directly and the carrier.  Only they will receive an MBL directly.


Containerised Sea Freight is normally the cheapest way to move goods between countries, other options include road, rail, and airfreight. If we understand what it is you are shipping and the time frame, we can usually find the option to you.

Yes, it is possible to do it yourself instead of using the services of a professional freight agent. To do so though it is important that you are familiar with the process of booking, obtaining the correct HS Codes and know how to present yourself and your goods to customs should they need to speak to you about your imported and exported goods.

Maybe, but this will depend on where in the process your previous agent is up to.  If they’ve already arranged the customs clearance, we will be unable to take over, as the process will take too long and is too complicated to resolve. If they have already arranged the shipment, you will need to pay your previous agent for their services before they will release the cargo to another agent.

Rest assured we take every precaution to ensure our customers’ goods remain safe whilst in our possession during transit. Unfortunately, there are rare occasions when circumstances are beyond our control.  For example a container could fall into the sea during transit.

Yes, unfortunately theft can occur. Generally however, this usually relates to goods of high value such as precious metals, gemstones, jewellery, money, alcohol and tobacco etc.

This could happen if customs officials at the port of origin examine your goods and find them to be miss-declared by your supplier, or maybe if they require an export licence or additional documentation. It could also happen if there is a disagreement with your customer with regards to payment.  Rest assured, if this happens Aerona will make every effort to support you and ensure the correct actions are taken on your behalf.

No, your goods are not insured unless you request in writing for us to arrange it. The insurance can only be from the country of origin to the country of destination.  It is possible though to insure goods from the destination port to your customers’ premises.

All customers are advised to take additional insurance with their shipment.  We can arrange this for you, or you may wish to go through your own insurance broker.

All consignments are weighed by the airline, co-loader or shipping lines on their receipt. Any incorrect weight will result in the freight rates being re-rated and an additional invoice raised for the extra cost.

Once your shipments are collected from your suppliers they are sent directly to the shipping or airline depot. They will then weigh and measure them to ensure the shipment matches the original quotation.

Yes, your freight price will be based on the weight or dimensions. Whichever is greater will be used to calculate your freight rate.

Yes, the bigger the dimensions and the greater the weight of your goods, the higher the freight rate you will be required to pay.

Whilst there is no weight limit, there are additional charges for bulky consignments. We will inform you if there are when we rate your freight shipment.

Yes all consignments are to be securely packed and labelled with details of the shipper, receiver, weight, and the commodity being shipped before it is collected.

Yes, the police can seize your goods if they believe they are illegal.

Yes, your goods can be selected for X-ray by UKBA/HMRC.

Yes, by any authorised agency or government department as part of the process of carrying out their legal duties.

This is a possibility, which is why we strongly recommend you take out additional insurance as protection against damage to your goods in transit.

Yes, sometimes containers can be lost overboard due to bad weather.  Again we always recommend that our customers should take out appropriate insurance.

Please note that if there is a choice we will always explain your options before arranging transportation.

Yes, but you must have the correct permits from the appropriate government authorities.

Yes, with the correct permits and product labelling.

Yes, we can arrange the transport of hazardous cargoes, but they must be properly and correctly labelled and include all the required documentation.

Euro Pallet: 1200mm x 800mm x 144mm:

Standard Pallet: 1200mm x 800mm x 800mm

20ft Container:  L6.10m x W2.44m x H2.59m / Weight 30480KG

40ft: Container: L12.19m x W2.44m x H2.59m / Weight 30480KG

Yes, you can send your goods by barrel and costs will depend on the destination.

If it the consignment is not packed correctly, it will be repacked at an additional cost, but only with your permission. Otherwise shipping will not be permitted.

HMRC/UKBA will stamp your goods with their label if it has been opened and repacked by them.

Yes, you can send someone to collect your goods, providing the instruction is in writing and both the owner of the goods and their representative provide a government issued ID.The original ID must be presented to the warehouse manager before the cargo can be released to the person collecting the goods.

You must measure the box or pallets you are planning to send (L x W x H) in centimetres and then divide this figure by 6000 (Please note that some airlines may use 5000) in order to calculate the chargeable weight for your goods. This is the freight price you will be charged. 

Example: 1

You have a box or pallet weighing 100kgs with the following dimensions: L200 x W80 x H120cm. You must then multiply these figures, which equals 1,920,000.  When you divide this number by 6000, it comes to 320kgs, which is the chargeable weight for the pallet or box you want to ship by airfreight. Note that the chargeable weight is greater than the actual gross weight of the box or pallet, which was originally weighted at 100kg.

Example: 2

You have a box or pallet weighing 320kgs with the following dimensions: L100 x W100 x H100.

You must then multiply these figures, which equals 1,000,000.  When you divide this number by 6000, it comes to 166kgs. You will notice that the original weight was 320kgs, which is greater than the chargeable weight. Your airfreight price will be charged at 320kgs because this is the higher amount.

Yes, provided the delivery address is confirmed in writing.

Yes, we can offer transportation across the UK, from the UK to Europe and within European countries through our network of European based associates.

We cannot physically check your goods for damages, but we can instruct the airline or seaport sheds to check if there are obvious signs of damages to your goods on the outside.


Of course, it is a legal requirement to provide our customers with invoices.

We do not accept cash payments, only bank transfers, which offer more security for everyone involved.

We do not accept PayPal, only bank transfers.

We do not accept Debit/Credit Card payment, only bank transfers.

Sorry, we do not offer credit facilities.

That all depends on the level of service you require from us. In most cases we act on behalf of our customer as a full-service freight and customs clearing provider, which means all funds will be paid to us directly and we will act on your behalf dealing with all the various government and non-governmental agencies involved in the clearance and delivery of your shipment.  However, if you have asked us to manage only a certain aspect of your shipment then of course you will be responsible for paying other government and non-governmental agencies that are involved in getting your goods customs cleared and delivered to your premises.

No, apart from ensuring all the correct and necessary documentations are provided at the time of clearance.

Yes, possibly. If your goods are not collected for delivery within the allotted time, which is 5-days for shipping lines and 24-hours for Airlines from their time of arrival, your goods will incur rent/storage charges. This may be the result of a delay by your haulier, shipping line haulage allocation, or any government agencies wanting to look at your import or export goods.


Please contact us explaining your issue. You will then be referred to one of our experienced administration staff who will help you resolve the matter. If you have previously been given a name, you can also request to be referred to a particular staff member.

Our office opening hours are 9am to 5pm, but someone is always there by 8.30am. Outside these hours you can also request the office mobile phone number in case there is an emergency with your shipment.


We have been in business over 15 years and have many repeat and loyal customers. Check out our case studies and customers’ testimonial comments – Google Review

The contract will be confirmed electronically once you have completed and returned our Letter of Authorisation to act on your behalf regarding your shipment

Currently, we do not have this facility.

Of course, our policy is to notify all customers immediately by email and/or telephone if any problems should occur.

Please full the request a call back on our website or complete the contact us for this information 

For general goods, we will require Invoice Packing Lists, EORI number, Bill of Lading for sea freight and Airway Bills for airfreight shipment. We will also require, additional documentations such as Certificate of Origin and Generalised Systems of Preference if required.

It is our standard procedure to provide you with a reference and or container number, which should help you to track your shipment.

We are based in Greater Manchester, United Kingdom and we have assembled a global network of trusted associates.

We have been in business since 2006 and our highly professional team has a combined experience that exceeds 50 years.

Yes, there are managers with many years’ freight experience working within the business on a daily basis. They can assist you with any advice you require or with any problems you may encounter.

For customers within the UK for whom we are currently working on their shipments, we will endeavour to call them back within a few minutes of receiving their call. For a prospective customer making an enquiry, we prefer to have the enquiry in the form of an email. This will help everyone to avoid any misunderstanding of the requirements later.

Calling from outside UK +44 161 652 3443; from within UK 0161 652 3443.

During office hours 9am – 5pm.

Anyone within our operation team will be able to assist you with your enquiry.

Yes, you can but please be aware that it is not regularly monitored.

We can be reached by mobile phone outside working hours for a current shipment that may be held by the appropriate government authorities.

We currently do not offer mobile app facilities, but it is something we hope to offer in future for our customers.

Generally, we always welcome visitors to our office within working hours. Since the Covid-19 pandemic however, our office is closed to visitors until further notice.

Yes, as we stated we previously welcomed visitors to our office if they wished to meet us. However, since the Covid-19 pandemic we would prefer telephone contact or you can make appointments via our online calendar schedule for discussion by Zoom.

Safestore House, 189 Manchester Road, Oldham OL8 4PS, United Kingdom.

9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday

We do not open at weekends, except for emergencies, for example if we are shipping human remains, or for sensitive import & export clearance when a reduced staff will be available.

Our offices are closed on bank holidays.

All import and export freight arrangements would need to be originated from our Manchester office. We can however, link you with our associated agents who are working on our behalf and they will be willing to assist you with any advice needed. 

No, we are an independent business.

You’ll find details on our website and also at Company’s House.

Yes that’s not a problem, providing the consignment has not been collected and shipped. If you should change your mind after it has been collected, but before it is loaded in the container or on a flight, you must collect your consignment within 24-hours of changing your mind in order to avoid rent charges.  You will of course still be liable for any costs we have incurred, such as haulage and handling charges.


If we have arranged a full-service customs clearance, you will not have to deal with HMRC or any government or non-governmental agencies because we do that on your behalf. However, if you require our basic standard services, you will have to deal with HMRC or any government or non-governmental agencies.