There are two issues with Guernsey that make it different from most other parts of the British Isles in terms of shipping. Firstly, it is an island so you need to arrange to get your goods over the English Channel, something that you obviously won’t have to do if you are sending a shipment from one part of the mainland to another. Secondly, Guernsey isn’t officially part of the United Kingdom.
As such, different rules apply when sending goods there because they are classed, officially at least, as exports. Nevertheless, there are ways to ship to the island at a low cost if you know what to do. What are the main options when fulfilling an order to a customer on Guernsey today?
Some British firms simply post their goods to Guernsey and the other Channel Islands. However, this will not work in the same way as usual Royal Mail services because Guernsey has its own postal service called Guernsey Post. As such, sending items – even small orders, samples and gifts – to Guernsey by post means making a declaration to UK Border Force officials.
Any goods under £270 in value being sent to Guernsey by post must be accompanied by a CN22 form while all large parcels and items over £270 need to be sent with a CN23 form. Without them, your parcels won’t leave the UK. In addition, you’ll need to declare and pay VAT for any posted order over £39 in value. As such, posting orders isn’t the low-cost option many people think it might be. In other words, it is good for documents rather than commercial shipping.
Door-to-Door Commercial Couriers
Because posting commercial goods to Guernsey is such a hassle, it is often better to arrange a door-to-door shipment instead. Many commercial courier firms collect items from warehouses and stock rooms and will board ferries from ports on the mainland to St Peter Port in Guernsey from where they can make their onward journey. Some will even fly goods to the island for onward delivery by road.
Regardless of this process, you’ll still need to make customs declarations for your exports. As such, using a firm that combines freight forwarding services and customs clearance agency work under one roof is the most cost-effective option. According to Barrington Freight, a company in Essex that combines such work, shipping freight to Guernsey is more affordable when both sorts of services are brought together in this way.
Groupage Shipment Services
It is worth noting that you don’t have to ship goods to your customer(s) in Guernsey directly. Because there are many ferry services from the UK to the Channel Islands every week, lots of other exporters will be sending goods to Guernsey at any particular moment, too. If you put your goods together into the same van or lorry, then you can both save.
This way of organising shipping is known as groupage. Most good freight forwarding firms can arrange groupage for you, allowing you to slash your logistical costs when shipping to places like Guernsey. The fact that the export route from the UK to Guernsey is so busy means that your shipments there will not be unduly delayed while they’re organised into groupage consignments.