Logistics expertise 01.02.2024

Unlocking Global Markets: Cross-border logistics with TIMOCOM

Roads at night

Cross-border logistics can help small to medium enterprises gain access to new customers and grow their business. We discuss what cross-border logistics is, the potential challenges, the benefits, and how you can start unlocking global markets.


What is cross-border logistics?

Cross-border logistics involves transporting freight across national borders. A lot of coordination is needed for cross-border logistics including cross-border supply chain logistics, complying with different country's legislation, and choosing the right cross-border logistics company. There has been growth in cross-border logistics markets due to factors such as rising disposable income, increasing middle-class population, rapid urbanisation, and the adoption of blockchain technology which can record digital transactions. 


Market trends of cross-border logistics

There has been a decrease in the amount of goods lifted by UK-registered HGVs to decrease for imports and exports but in 2018, the amount of goods lifted rose by 11%. This increase was possibly due to the UK’s impending departure from the EU in March 2019. And in 2022 there were 6.6 million tonnes of goods lifted by UK-registered HGVs which was an increase of 26% since 2021.

The first quarter of 2023 saw 46.3% fewer freight offers on average in the spot market across Europe but there was an increase come April. While imports and exports are sluggish at the moment, there is still expected to be growth overall according to the Kiel Institute for the World Economy.

The top five countries the UK exports to are France, Belgium, Ireland, Netherlands, and Germany. With the most imports from Belgium, France, Netherlands, Germany, and Ireland. Although imports and exports to and from Germany have decreased since 2001 with the insolvency post-Brexit.


Cross-border issues

There are challenges to cross-border logistics which should be considered before your small to medium enterprise transports goods.

Cross-border regulations

When the UK left the EU, it meant additional customs had to be put in place.

To transport goods cross-border, you need to understand all the customs, tariffs, and product standards to comply with legislation and avoid delays.

Each country has their own customs regulations which need to be complied with otherwise you could face delays, fines, or seizure of your goods.

There are varying VAT regulations across EU member states along with commercial invoices, export licences, and import duties.

Since Brexit, UK businesses that export to the EU need an Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) number.


Language barriers

The cultural differences and diverse languages can lead to misunderstandings and delays.

It may also mean training needs to be given or the hiring of translators. But using a freight forwarding logistics company can easily help avoid this issue without extra time or cost to you.



While the UK and EU are close in proximity, potential delays at border crossings can impact delivery. This is especially important to consider if you are shipping perishable goods.

You must ensure you have all your documentation in order, you’ve conducted the appropriate research, and you have the technology to calculate your routes and track your goods in real-time to avoid delays.


The differing currencies can be an issue with exchange rate variations. These should be included to ensure the exchange rate doesn’t mean you lose out on profit.

Other expenses can include customs and other tariffs which are not applicable for domestic transport.


Roads, terminals, and ports infrastructure will be different depending on the country. This needs to be considered to either calculate alternative routes, or to incorporate this into the time of your delivery.

With a third-party logistics company, you can calculate and track your routes to avoid any delays.


Advantages of cross-border logistics

Cross-border logistics has the potential to decrease trade barriers and cause trade growth. There are many benefits to choosing to transport your goods across borders.

Increased market share

By transporting goods outside of domestic borders, it allows small to medium enterprises to reach new markets, diversify their consumer base, and increase sales potential.

Transporting your goods cross-border means you don’t have to rely on a single market which helps to reduce risks by relying on one market.

And if a certain product doesn’t do well in one country, it may do well in another.

Reduced costs

By consolidating shipments and having a wider reach of freight networks, SMEs should be able to reduce their costs.

Reaction times

The UK’s location to Europe means short transit times which means they can react quicker to consumer demand and increase their sales potential.


What is the cross-border logistics process?

To ensure you transport goods cross-border without any issues, you should understand the process to avoid delays which can lead to unhappy customers who expect quick delivery and this could mean a loss of future business.


Before shipping cross-border, you need to understand the different regulations, customer preferences, and cross-border logistic processes in other countries.


You then need to ensure you have the correct documentation such as commercial invoices, certificates of origin, and others to ensure you don’t suffer delays or gain extra fees.

For licences or certificates for your goods, there are special rules and you may need these for goods such as animals, plants, medicine, waste, hazardous chemicals, and weapons.

Logistics companies

It’s important to choose the right logistics company that can support you in navigating cross-border transportation. 

With the right logistics company such as TIMOCOM, you have access to a wide network of reliable transport partners who have been vetted. This gives you one less thing to worry about.

Cross-border customs

For UK-EU shipments there are mandatory customs declarations. It is vital to declare goods properly or you could face penalties and delays.

Track and trace

Having the right technology to track and trace your shipments in real-time is important to update your customers, be reactive to potential issues, and avoid delays.


After delivery is complete, the task doesn’t stop there. You should get feedback to understand where improvements can be made to ensure a streamlined process that gets the best out of your business.


How to choose the right cross-border road transport company

Choosing the right cross-border logistics company can be overwhelming.

Make sure any company you choose has the correct insurance to cover you, is vetted, and offers good customer service.

Having the right technology is vital to having a competitive advantage and optimising your logistics process. Ensure whichever logistics company you choose has the features you need such as real-time data.


Cross-border logistics with TIMOCOM

TIMOCOM has a network of more than 53,000 companies across 27 countries throughout Europe that can help you transport goods.

With a simple interface, you can quickly and easily search for transport options that suit your needs, find warehousing, calculate your routes, and track your goods. All our clients are vetted and have passed a detailed security check to ensure your goods are in trusted hands.

It’s also easy to manage your freight orders, so you can take charge of your shipments.

If you’d like to know more about TIMOCOM’s marketplace and how we can help you grow your business, contact us today.

Or start your free trial now to see the difference it can make to your business.

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