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How to create a logistics plan for exporting

Read our guide to learn how to create a logistics plan suitable for exporting your company's products.

Create a logistics plan for exporting

Having developed sales of your products to your selected markets, check you can fulfil your export orders on time and securely.

A logistics plan - ensuring you have the relevant knowledge and supporting administrative capabilities in house - is an essential part of your export preparations.

Consider the different logistics options for your company

Logistics options for getting your products effectively to market include those from well-known providers, such as Royal Mail and Parcelforce, and couriers such as UPS, Fedex and DHL through to specialist freight forwarders. 

To choose the right logistics options for your company, consider what you require from your logistics partner.

Seek out the most competitive rates and service available. 

Your choice may depend on factors, such as:

  • The freight forwarder’s knowledge of your target market
  • Whether they have a presence in that market
  • Whether you require warehousing and storage of the product
  • How competitive their pricing is

A good and trusted logistics partner will be invaluable to your export development.

Take the time to identify and explore the best fit with your needs as a company, and their exposure and experience in your target market.

Find logistics partners on the BIFA website opens in a new window  

Ensure you understand Incoterms

A good and trusted logistics partner will often take responsibility for any export documentation required, and the most efficient route into the market for your product.

Nevertheless, you should be familiar with key logistics terms, and the logistics process and requirements, even if you have outsourced this to a logistics partner.

Incoterms (International Commercial Terms) are the commonly used terms which, for each export transaction to your selected market, define the responsibilities and roles of the buyer and seller. 

The Incoterm defines:

  • Who is responsible for the goods at each stage of the export transaction
  • Where and when responsibility for the goods pass from buyer to seller
  • When payment for the goods becomes due

Each transaction should clearly indicate the Incoterm that is to determine the cost obligation and liability towards the safe transportation of the subject. 

The most common Incoterms are Ex Works (EXW) where the seller’s premises or factory is the designated point for packed goods to be dispatched. Getting the goods to the market is the buyer’s responsibility and risk. 

Delivery Duty Paid (DDP) is at the other end of the Incoterms spectrum where the seller is responsible. They bear the risk of getting the goods to the final market destination specified by the buyer. 

The Incoterms have been updated recently and the latest edition is Incoterms 2020.

However, the previous edition, Incoterms 2010, remain in place for those using them.

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) have published a guide to Incoterms 2020, including the central changes made to Incoterms 2010 opens in a new window

Read more about Incoterms rules and access training and further advice on the ICC website opens in a new window

Make sure your documentation is correct

It's important to know what documents need to be prepared or in place for any export transaction. 

A good export logistics partner can advise you of the documents needed for your product in different markets.

The Scottish Chambers of Commerceopens in a new window  also offer businesses exporting support, including specialist documentation and certification services.

Get the right support and advice

Other helpful resources which provide information on exporting logistics include:

Contact us

Ask our experts about preparing an export plan.