Like the other Baltic states, Latvia is a member of the European Union. Therefore, any British firm that would like to send pallets of commercial goods to the country first needs to bear in mind the different trading arrangements that exist post-Brexit. To begin with, sending commercial consignments of pallets means that you will need to be registered with HMRC as an exporting company. You don’t have to do this for personal items you’re sending to friends and family members but if the items have been bought by a Latvian customer, then customs paperwork will need to be submitted.
When shipping a pallet to Latvia, it can therefore make sense to ask a customs clearance broker to handle the documentation for you. This is quite possible under the UK’s regulations where online submissions need to be made of all EU-bound export declarations. Ideally, you will have chosen someone who has the knowledge and experience needed to get commercial goods into the EU’s customs union. Remember that this will be needed if you are box-shifting your pallets from any third-party country outside of the EU. As such, this will affect import and export firms in the UK that ship directly to Latvia from their suppliers in India and China, for example.
Making mistakes with your accompanying paperwork can cause considerable delays at the border. Often regarded as technical work, outsourcing customs clearances is the usual method employed by small and medium-sized enterprises that don’t have the resources to deal with customs officials in-house. Remember that even unprocessed goods that have been made in other EU countries will need to be declared if they are arriving from the UK, having been in storage here.
When shipping multiple pallets to Latvia by road, lorries are usually sent to northern France from most locations in England. According to Barrington Freight, a freight forwarding specialist that provides services to Latvia throughout the UK, sending pallets to the Netherlands from Immingham or Newcastle can make more sense depending on where the consignment is being collected from. In theory, a lorry drive from Calais to Riga via Germany, Poland and Lithuania would take 24 hours.
However, bear in mind that drivers would be required by law to stop and rest so it could take several days with the ferry sailing included. You could arrange for a two-driver team to keep going. Although this is more expensive, it can be worth it for time-sensitive pallet deliveries. Typically, three or four pallets will be loaded onto a van for this sort of more agile delivery to Latvia.
Another option worth considering is driving to Immingham and taking one of the many sailings to Norway, Denmark or Sweden. From there, it would usually be possible to drive to Stockholm and access a roll-on, roll-off ferry service to Riga. Nevertheless, this is a route that is currently suspended, so check out the nearest alternative from one of the aforementioned Scandinavian countries instead. Typically, this will currently mean making landfall at the Port of Klaipėda in Lithuania, about 40 minutes by road to the Latvian border.