Best Practices for Managing International Logistics:

Managing international logistics can be a daunting task for UK businesses, especially those who are just starting out. With the complexity of regulations, customs procedures, and transportation arrangements, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. However, with the right approach and best practices, managing international logistics can become a streamlined and efficient process. In this blog, we’ll explore some of the best practices for managing international logistics, and how UK businesses can apply them to their operations.

Managing International LogisticsManaging international logistics Customs Procedures

The first step in managing international logistics is to understand the regulations and customs procedures of the countries you’ll be importing or exporting to. This includes understanding tariff codes, import/export licences, and documentation requirements. The UK government provides a range of resources to help businesses navigate these regulations and procedures, including the Trade Tariff, Export Control Joint Unit, and the International Trade Administration.

Tariff Codes

Tariff codes are used to classify goods for import and export purposes, and determine the amount of duty and tax that needs to be paid. It’s important for UK businesses to correctly classify their goods to avoid delays and additional costs. The UK government provides a free online Trade Tariff tool to help businesses classify their goods.

Import/Export Licences when Managing international logistics

Depending on the nature of the goods being imported or exported, UK businesses may require an import or export licence. These licences are issued by the relevant authorities and ensure that the goods being traded comply with certain regulations and standards. The Export Control Joint Unit provides guidance and support for businesses who require an export licence.

Documentation Requirements

International trade requires a range of documentation, including commercial invoices, bills of lading, packing lists, and certificates of origin. These documents provide evidence of the origin and value of the goods being traded, and ensure that they comply with regulations and standards. It’s important for UK businesses to ensure that they have the correct documentation in place, and that it’s completed accurately and on time.

Partner with the Right Logistics Provider

Partnering with the right logistics provider can make all the difference in managing international logistics. A good logistics provider will have a thorough understanding of regulations and customs procedures, and can help businesses navigate the complexities of international trade. They’ll also have established relationships with carriers, freight forwarders, and customs brokers, which can help streamline the logistics process.

Carrier Selection

When selecting a carrier for international shipments, UK businesses should consider factors such as transit time, cost, and reliability. It’s important to work with a carrier who has experience in the markets you’ll be trading with, and who has a strong network of partners in those markets.

Freight Forwarding

Freight forwarders are responsible for managing the transportation of goods from one country to another, and can handle all aspects of the logistics process, including documentation, customs clearance, and insurance. UK businesses should look for a freight forwarder who has experience in the markets they’ll be trading with, and who has a strong track record of reliability and customer service.

Customs Brokerage

Customs brokers are responsible for ensuring that goods clear customs and are delivered to their final destination in a timely and compliant manner. They’ll work with customs officials to ensure that all documentation is in order, and that any duties or taxes are paid correctly. UK businesses should look for a customs broker who has experience in the markets they’ll be trading with, and who has a strong track record of compliance and efficiency.

Managing international logistics inventory

Transportation and inventory management are key components of managing international logistics. By optimising these processes, UK businesses can reduce costs, improve delivery times, and enhance customer satisfaction.

Transport Optimisation

The right mode of transportation for each shipment based on factors such as cost and the goods. UK businesses utilise consolidation opportunities to improve efficiency.

Inventory Management

Effective inventory management is essential for managing international logistics. UK businesses should strive to maintain optimal inventory levels to avoid stockouts and overstocking, which can lead to additional costs and delays. Utilise technology to track inventory levels to forecast demand which will optimise replenishment.

Embrace Technology

Technology can play a significant role in managing international logistics. By leveraging the latest tools and platforms, UK businesses can streamline processes, improve communication, and enhance visibility into their supply chain.

Supply Chain Management Systems

Supply chain management systems provide a centralised platform for managing all aspects of the supply chain, from procurement to delivery. UK businesses should consider investing in a robust supply chain management system to improve efficiency and visibility.

Managing international logistics by Transportation Management Systems

Transportation management systems provide a platform for managing transportation operations, including carrier selection, shipment tracking, and invoice management. UK businesses should consider investing in a transportation management system to optimise transportation operations and reduce costs.

Communication Platforms

Communication platforms like email and instant messaging are easily available. Video conferencing can all help improve communication among team members. UK businesses should utilise these platforms to enhance communication and build stronger relationships with their logistics providers and customers.

Continuously Monitor and Improve

Managing international logistics is an ongoing process. UK businesses should continuously monitor and improve their operations to ensure they’re meeting their goals and objectives.

Key Performance Indicators

Key performance indicators (KPIs) provide a way to measure the performance of logistics operations and identify areas for improvement. UK businesses should establish KPIs for on-time delivery, inventory turnover, and cost per unit shipped.

Continuous Improvement

Continuous improvement involves regularly evaluating logistics processes and implementing changes to optimise performance. UK businesses should create a culture of continuous improvement and encourage feedback from their logistics providers and customers.


Managing international logistics can be challenging.  Utilising the right tools and resources, UK businesses can streamline their operations. This will improve their bottom line. By understanding regulations and customs procedures and partnering with the right logistics provider is a prerequisite. Optimising transportation and inventory management, embracing technology, and continuously monitoring and improving, UK businesses can succeed in the global marketplace.

International Logistics:

international logistics

  • What is international logistics?
    International logistics refers to the process of moving goods from one country to another. This includes activities such as transportation, customs clearance, documentation, and freight forwarding.
  • What are the key factors to consider when managing international logistics from the UK?
    When managing international logistics from the UK, some key factors to consider include:
    • Customs regulations and requirements in the destination country
    • Shipping costs and transit times
    • Insurance coverage for the shipment
    • Language and cultural differences in the destination country
    • Any necessary permits or licences for the shipment
    • Risks associated with shipping, such as damage or theft
  • What documentation is required for international shipments from the UK?
    Documentation requirements can vary depending on the destination country and the type of goods being shipped. Some common documents that may be required include:
    • Commercial invoice
    • Packing list
    • Bill of lading
    • Export licence (if applicable)
    • Certificates of origin or other trade documents
  • What are the different modes of transportation for international logistics?
    The different modes of transportation for international logistics include:
    • Air freight
    • Ocean freight
    • Road freight
    • Rail freight
    The choice of transportation mode will depend on factors such as the type of goods being shipped, the destination country, and the required transit time.
  • How do I choose a freight forwarder for my international shipment?
    When choosing a freight forwarder for your international shipment, some factors to consider include:
    • Experience and expertise in handling shipments to your destination country
    • Reputation and customer reviews
    • Availability of tracking and communication tools
    • Rates and fees for their services
    • Insurance coverage offered