Exporting From Germany

Germany is an export driven market. The main products are industrial goods and services. Germany is known for its machines, which enjoy a very high profile on the world market. Roughly 52% of the German GDP is made up of exports. It will be very helpful for you to know the procedures involved in exporting from Germany, if you are sourcing your goods from there.

Satisfied customers are the open secret of any successful business. Your customers are waiting for the goods they ordered, just as you are waiting for the arrival of the same. Keep yourself informed as lack of information can damage a business.

Your broker takes care of the importing procedures on the home front. Exporting from Germany is a straightforward affair but you will save yourself a lot of trouble, if you know how exporting works. You need to arm yourself with the following information.

VAT or no VAT?
Exporting from Germany is exempted from VAT.

Civil Aviation Authority Regulation: Known or Unknown Shipper
Is the shipper a Known Shipper? If not, an x-ray screening will be necessary. That will add to the cost. There is no fixed tariff as each forwarder has his own listing.

Export Procedures before pick up
If the commercial invoice value is 1000 EUR or more an Export Declaration called ABD is a must. It is a document (PDF file) with a bar code on the top right.

If the invoice value is below 1000 EUR, the commercial invoice is the paper used for export and must be presented to the customs, preferably in the original.

Remember: Export Declaration procedure cannot be done once the freight has been picked up from the shipper’s facility! An advance electronic application is sent to the shipper’s local customs office in order to obtain the declaration. The goods, to which this document is bound, must be physically present in the shipper’s warehouse or facility. The local customs office is determined by the geographical location of the goods and not by where the exporter is located.

Pick up
Pick up can be organised only after the Export Declaration has been done.
Freight forwarders have a time frame for pick up. It is usually 8 a.m to 5 p.m and the freight arrives in the warehouse only late in the evening.

Special Regulation Iran
Exporting from Germany to Iran is governed by a special law. Even if the value is below the above mentioned amount, an Export Declaration is mandatory.

Customs Registration or EORI Number: Pre-export formality
Only companies that have a Customs Registration Number called EORI number can export. It is the task of the exporter to get this registration done and there are no charges involved. If the company has not done this, the management should follow the instructions given on the website of the German customs and send a fax to the office of the registration. The transmission journal can be used as a proof of having applied. This proof is to be sent to the local customs office file submitting the application for export declaration.

Shippers are usually registered and, hence, most of the business houses will have the EORI number. Imports into Germany cannot be processed without the above number. If you are exporting to Germany, remember to make your consignee’s EORI number to your freight forwarder.

Packaging Material
One most important factor you need to know, before getting the goods picked up, is packaging. Your shipper will usually know this. If the packaging is made from wood, it is mandatory that it is made of treated wood. Make sure the shipper uses wood that carries the IPPC logo. If no wood is used this point does not arise.

Dimensions
Try to keep the dimensions to a maximum of 120 x 80 x 160 cm (L x W x H in cm) for long haul flights. Short haul flights may be smaller aircraft and it is better to keep the weight to less than 150 Kg per piece and the height to a maximum of 75 cm. This is the case for small consignments.

Freighter Service
When it comes to large machines, remember not many airlines fly a 747 freighter. MD11 is now the most popular aircraft in use has a hight limitation of 244 cm. This includes the airfreight pallet (also called ULD) under the freight! It is difficult to say anything about the width and length, but it is advisable to keep the width to less than 250 cm.

Flying: Direct or Consolidation
Direct service will have an air way bill addressed directly to you as consignee. You need to have a broker on hand, who can do a customs clearance for you.

When consolidated, your freight is forwarded under a sub way bill, called House Bill (HB) or House Air Way Bill (HAWB). Such a document will be covered by a Master Air Way Bill. The house bill will be addressed to you (the consignee) and the MAWB to the de-consolidator, who is an airfreight agent at destination.

The de-consolidator has to pass on the documents (air way bill and commercial invoice and packing list if any) to your broker for customs clearance. He will enlighten you on the procedures to follow. If you are in the US, either a Single Entry Bond or a Continuous Bond is needed before any clearance can start. Your broker will help you with these formalities.