Logisitcs Archives - Atlas Logistics UK LTD


Due to the ongoing crisis in the Red Sea the situation continues to impact global shipping lanes.   Last week saw more attacks on vessels by missiles launched from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen.

Despite allied nations air and missile strikes in retaliation, the attacks are still impacting shipping with the result being most liners avoiding the area to keep their vessels and crew safe.

In recent days, these Red Sea attacks continue to cause significant disruption to the global supply chain, with around a 68% decrease in vessels transiting through the Suez Canal and 264 vessels known to have rerouted in the majority around the Cape of Good Hope.  This is causing severe delays on both east and westbound services, often adding around 12 to 15 days transit time.   This trend is causing significant space issues and increases in freight rates throughout the shipping industry.

The issues in the Panama Canal are adding to global supply chain disruptions and it is expected that throughout Q1 and Q2 2024 the trends will persist.   The upcoming Chinese New Year will as always create congestion in the market so forcing rates to remain higher than seen during 2023.   These constraints on ocean trade are also impacting air and rail options as the industry looks for alternative methods to move cargo.  We are seeing space and rate increases on many air trade lanes along with rail freight prices from Asia to EU being higher than seen in recent months.   In addition to this war risk premiums on insurance are increasing as the market adjusts to this volatility.

The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) has convened a public hearing on 7th February 2024 to investigate how the Red Sea crisis is impacting commercial shipping and the global supply chain, aiming to gather information on the effects of attacks and how the industry is responding to such incidents.

Atlas Logistics UK Ltd in conjunction with our partners are working to mitigate the impact as much as possible and the whole team is here to help however, we can.  Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any concerns or wish to look at alternative methods of transport to sustain your business continuity.


Considering the drone and missile attacks on cargo ships in the Red Sea area Friday 15th December 2023, many shipping lines have chosen to either suspend services, reroute ships around The Cape of Good Hope in South Africa or in some instances ask vessels to pause their journeys and call at safe harbour awaiting the outcome of the escalation.

There are known to have been two attacks on vessels Friday, which included a Hapag Lloyd operated containership being struck by a missile. According to widespread reports, the missile was launched from an occupied area inside of Yemen, but this is yet to be verified.

Members of all three shipping alliances have announced drastic measures to avoid harm to their vessels and crew, including over 100 ships being rerouted which in some cases is adding around 10-12 days to Asia inbound and outbound transit times.   We are receiving every few hours from carriers notices of GRI’s or emergency PSS on freight rates to cover these added costs, and in some cases, liners outlining the laws around force majeure that is in place to cover this type of eventuality.

Atlas Logistics UK Ltd is doing everything we can with our Global partners and carriers to mitigate the impact of this situation outside of our control, for our clients, but please do be aware of the impact of potential delays and costs to your business in the light of the escalation.

If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to a member of our team who will be able to update on the situation as it develops.


Streamlining Customs Declarations and Tailored Solutions
Streamlining customs and excise procedures is a paramount concern for businesses operating in today’s fast-paced global market. At Atlas Logistics, we specialise in simplifying these complex processes while offering bespoke solutions to meet your unique requirements. We have in-house electronic links to the majority of HMRC locations around the UK and have published these on our website. With unparalleled coverage of UK ports and airports, our team of experienced Customs brokers leverages our cutting-edge software to handle diverse import and export declarations efficiently. Discover how our centuries of combined expertise and tailored services can benefit your business.

Unmatched Expertise and Comprehensive Coverage
Our seasoned Customs brokers possess unrivalled expertise in managing various processes, including IPR, OPR, End Use, BIRDS, EIDR, and warehousing, among others. Whether you need assistance with specific Customs formalities or require comprehensive support, our diverse range of services caters to your business’s unique needs. Thanks to our electronic links to HMRC locations we ensure seamless customs clearance regardless of your geographic location.

Cutting-Edge Technology for Optimal Efficiency
Leveraging our proprietary software, we empower our Customs brokers to handle import and export declarations with utmost precision and speed. Our advanced technology minimises the risk of errors, expedites clearance processes, and guarantees compliance with all relevant regulations. By investing in state-of-the-art tools, we deliver accurate results while maximising operational efficiency, allowing your business to thrive in the competitive international trade landscape.

Operational Excellence at our ETSF HMRC Warehouse
As a testament to our commitment to end-to-end solutions, we operate our own ETSF HMRC warehouse strategically located in Birmingham. This facility provides handling services for goods under Customs control, ensuring flexibility and convenience for our clients. By seamlessly integrating warehousing and transportation services, we offer a streamlined supply chain experience that optimises the handling of your valuable goods.

Expert Consultancy Services
Recognising that every business faces unique challenges, we go beyond our core services by offering consultancy services through our sister company, Atlas Business Solutions Ltd. Our dedicated consultants possess deep knowledge of Customs and Excise regulations, enabling them to provide tailored guidance for your specific needs. From compliance management to strategic planning and process optimisation, our consultancy services offer invaluable insights to help your business thrive in the dynamic world of international trade.

Partner with Atlas Logistics UK Ltd
Atlas Logistics UK Ltd stands as a trusted partner in simplifying Customs declarations and delivering tailored solutions to meet the diverse needs of businesses. With our in-house Customs electronic links to HMRC locations (known as “badges”), we ensure efficient customs clearance and comprehensive coverage of UK ports and airports. Leveraging cutting-edge software and operational excellence, we streamline import and export processes, guaranteeing accuracy, speed, and compliance. Our ETSF HMRC warehouse and expert consultancy services further enhance our ability to provide end-to-end solutions. Reach out to our dedicated team today to experience the benefits of our bespoke services and unlock your business’s full potential in the global marketplace.


Completing customs declarations can be difficult without the necessary understanding of harmonised commodity codes, licensing, changes to legislation and much more – here at Atlas Logistics UK LTD we have a team of highly trained staff equipped to process customs clearances both for import and export. Collectively we complete approximately 3000 customs clearances per month. 

There are many variations of export declarants: 

  • Goods Vehicle Movement Service with some inventory linked locations movement 
  • Only inventory linked locations movement 
  • Designated Export Place (DEP) movement software
  • Export declarants using the National Export Service (NES) web service 

The Customs Declaration Service, otherwise known as the CDS supports the processing of import and export declarations when moving cargo to and from the United Kingdom. The British International Freight Association (BIFA), has received an update from the HMRC pertaining to the CDS export dates which we uncover below. 

In January of 2023, a letter was sent to all freight forwarders completing export declarations with key dates and updated processes; this has since been updated slightly. Here is all of the key information and dates you’ll need to know, 

Starting from late February 2023 

The HMRC will be contacting export declarants who are only utilising the Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GMVS) with software or the current National Export System (NES) online service to explain how freight forwarders can make export declarations on the CDS via their software or online portal. 

Commencing Summer 2023 

The HMRC will now be branching out generally and working with all export freight forwarders to ensure you are aptly prepared for the transition to the CDS system by sending out guides and other relevant materials as well as making these available online. 

As of September 2023

The HMRC will be reaching out to all export declarants using any route will now be available on the CDS system and should be replacing any previously used export declaration software or service. 

BIFA has stated that the remainder of the information highlighted in Monday’s announcement remains the same, and they are making every effort alongside calls to action to ensure a swift transition into the export CDS system. Here at Atlas Logistics UK LTD we are happy to announce we were amongst the first family business owned freight forwarding companies to have introduced the import CDS system within our company. 

We have already started planning our transition into the export CDS system. Our previous experience with the CDS software will ensure a smooth transition and enable our access to the customs database. This will provide our customers with a swift import or export customs clearance service, to and from all UK ports and airports. 

For a FREE quote, click here, or give our team of dedicated professionals a call:  https://atlaslogistics.co.uk/services/fare-rate/  

Birmingham: +44 (0) 121 783 6564

London: +44 (0) 0208 893 7880  

We look forward to hearing from you! 


The Chinese New Year is a major festival celebrated predominantly in China, but also widely across Asia. As this festivity is based on lunar cycles it does not occur on a fixed date. This year the festivities of the Chinese New Year commence on January 22nd 2023 with the traditional Spring Festival and end on February 5th with the Lantern Festival. The first days of Chinese New Year for the next three years are as follows, 

2024: February 10th – Year of the Dragon

2025: January 29th – Year of the Snake

2026: February 17th – Year of the Horse

The lunar new year is a well known period in the freight industry where we tend to notice a slower impasse of trade, due to the two week closure of China and other Eastern nations celebrating this festivity. At Atlas Logistics UK LTD we aim to continue supplying our customers with excellent logistic solutions via sea, air, road and rail to/from China and East Asia.  

As a company, we enjoy celebrating the lunar new year as we were formed during the year of the Ox, in 2009. In Chinese culture, the Ox is appreciated for its patience and honesty – qualities we are proud to be associated with. As we enter into 2023, we look forward to the year of the rabbit. The rabbit symbolises longevity, peace, and prosperity, therefore we predict this year to be one of hope and increased business as we hop onto the right foot.

Our membership of the World Cargo Alliance (WCA), gives us immense global reach and provides us with substantial leverage to negotiate competitive rates, suitable to your cargo and transport needs. For a free quotation contact us today by clicking here.


The International Chamber of Commerce published new Incoterms® 2020 that came into effect from the 1st of January 2020.  The ICC originally published Incoterms® in 1936 and have continually made updates to reflect the changes to the Global Trade environment.  It’s important that all parties involved in trade clearly understand the changes and how they apply to their part in the global supply chain.

Incoterms® play such a vital role in the world of global trade.  Incoterms® 2010 or Incoterms® 2020 may seem complicated, but it’s imperative that buyers and sellers clearly understand how they work and their own obligations along the supply chain.  This blog is to be used in conjunction with Incoterms® 2020 chart found on our accreditations page (@Jed Marshall – can you put a link to it here?)

Please note the content of this blog and the chart are only for general information purposes and should not in any circumstances be considered bespoke legal advice or professional advice.

What are Incoterms®?

Put simply, Incoterms® are the selling terms that the buyer and seller of goods both agree to during international transaction process.  These rules are accepted by governments and legal authorities around the world. Understanding Incoterms® is a vital part of International Trade because they clearly state which tasks, costs and risks are associated with the buyer and the seller.

The Incoterm® outlines when the seller’s costs and risks are transferred onto the buyer.  It’s also important to understand that not all rules apply in all cases.  Some encompass any mode or modes of transport.  Transport by all modes of transport (road, rail, air and sea) covers FCA, CPT, CIP, DAP, DPU (replaces DAT) and DDP.  Sea/Inland waterway transport (Sea) covers FAS, FOB, CFR and CIF.

Why are Incoterms® vital in International Trade?

Incoterms® are referred to as International Commercial Terms.  They are a set of rules published by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), which relate to International Commercial Law.  According to the ICC, Incoterms® rules provide internationally accepted definitions and rules of interpretation for most common commercial terms used in contracts for the sale of goods’.

All International purchases will be processed on an agreed Incoterm to define which party legally incurs costs and risks.  Incoterms® should be clearly stated on relevant shipping documents and commercial paperwork.

Please feel free to read the Incoterms® 2020 pdf and should you have any questions or wish to seek guidance call one of our team on +44 (0) 121 783 6564 or email enquiries@atlaslogistics.co.uk

One of our experienced team will be on hand to help however we possibly can.


The EU celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome on March 25th, which signified the start of the European Blocs formation.  Leaders from 27 of the 28 member states were present to renew their commitment to the EU with the exclusion of the UK which started proceedings on March 29th to leave the community with the triggering of Article 50.  Article 50 is part of the Lisbon Treaty which was signed on the 13th December 2007 by the then 27 member states.  The Lisbon Treaty was created for two reasons, as a replacement for the Constitution Treaty which in 2005, the French and Dutch voters rejected, and due to the enlargement of the size in EU membership in 2004, the community needed to reform the working of the European Union.

So now that Article 50 is invoked the difficult navigation of the process to formally leave the European Union for the United Kingdom starts.  So, what happens now?   Where does the United Kingdom go from here?  The United Kingdom have two years to negotiate a separation deal before our membership ceases in 2019 and with this in mind the government published The Great Repeal Bill White Paper on 30th March outlining the governments approach to converting many of the existing EU laws into UK domestic law. These should be integrated into UK law by the end of 2017, so they will not be a point of negotiation with the EU.  These laws include for instance worker’s rights and some environmental law.  There will be separate bills for customs and immigration.  The UK has to abide by the EU laws and treaties throughout this negotiation phase but cannot be part of any decision making within the EU.

The first major step for the EU is on the 29th April 2017 there will be an EU Summit where the leaders start to discuss the withdrawal.  They should agree that a mandate is passed by the European Commission to negotiate with the UK.  Shortly after this negotiating guidelines will be published by them.  Negotiations can then start between the two sides.  Speculation is rife the EU will want a divorce bill agreed by the UK prior to any negotiations.  Current figures for this are varying from £3 to £50 billion pound’s sterling.

Other key areas of negotiation include but are not limited to, what happens to the rights of British people living in other EU member states and of the EU citizens currently in the UK, cross border security arrangements and intelligence sharing, whether we can enter a free trade deal with our own trade deals internationally rather than access the single market, fishing rights within EU waters and what happens to the unspent EU funds the UK has contributed?  These negotiations could further be hindered by both the French presidential elections in May 2017 and the German parliamentary elections at the end of September 2017.

The UK aims to have the negotiations completed by October 2018 then The Houses of Parliament, European Parliament and European Council all need to vote in agreeance of any bill.  Within the European Council at least 20 countries with 65% of the EU population need to approve this deal.  If not then it is back to the negotiating table. There is a two-year deadline on this, so if no agreement has been made this period can be extended but only if all 27 countries agree.  If not then at midnight on March 29th 2019 the UK will cease being a member of the EU and will formally withdraw.

So after all this is it possible for the UK to re-join the EU at a later date should it see fit?  In reference to Article 49 of the Lisbon Treaty states “Any European State which respects the values referred to in Article 2 and is committed to promoting them may apply to become a member of the Union.”  On this basis, it is not out of the question but all the current member states at the time must agree to it.


The Lisbon Treaty – http://www.lisbon-treaty.org/wcm/the-lisbon-treaty/treaty-on-European-union-and-comments/title-6-final-provisions/137-article-50.html; 

BBC News – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/politics/uk_leaves_the_eu 


As much of the World celebrates the Lunar New Year we thought it timely in our February blog to mention a little of the impacts on global trade and specifically the supply chain. Prior to this celebration, it was very evident in the media about ships being full, cargo being delayed and liners omitting ports of call because of congestion at some Far East ports, especially those in China.

The start of a new year herald’s great excitement, and with The Year of the Rooster that is no exception. The Rooster is almost the epitome of fidelity and punctuality under the Chinese zodiac. For ancestors who had no alarm clocks, the crowing was significant, as it could awaken people to get up and start their working day. Whilst the Far East enjoys some fantastic celebrations and pageants as we saw in Hong Kong, where it coincided with its 20th anniversary as a Special Administrative Region this year; we should all be ready to get up early and kick start 2017 with vigour.

Much money is spent celebrating these events and making it special. For example, in Hong Kong the Lunar New Year pyrotechnics display was one of the most anticipated events during the whole holiday. Almost 24,000 shells being fired from three barges in the harbour to mark The Year of the Rooster. The 23-minute display cost about HK$8 million, paid for by sponsors “Unique Timepieces by Halewinner”, according to the Home Affairs Bureau of Hong Kong.

Many suppliers and manufacturers in the Far East will be enjoying the celebrations back at home with their families. However, all this time of celebration does pose difficulties for global trade, as does any national holiday period the World over. Supply Chains are now built to cope with these annual events but that does not stop it causing challenges. Early February is already showing signs of vessels being full. The knock-on effect to this will be the airlines are full too, so planning in advance to avoid any costly and avoidable headaches is key to minimising the effects on your logistics.

Origin factories will come back to work within a few days, then the rush will be back on to move freight and so the annual cycle begins again. It is hugely exciting and with many changes around the World, being the first to seize on new opportunities is paramount. Exploring every option is the key to the success of any business. In the logistics sector, we have solutions for sea, air, plus air/sea services via the Middle East and now the new rail services through the Old Silk Route to import goods specifically from China to the UK.

Recently the first freight direct train service from China to the UK arrived in London on Wednesday 17.1.2017 completing its 18-day trip. Some 34 containers packed with mainly clothes and other high street goods completed the 7,456-mile (11,999km) journey. After setting out from the Chinese industrial city of Yiwu on 1.1.2017, the East Wind train crossed Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Belgium and France before passing under the Channel and arriving at the London Euro rail freight hub, close to the River Thames.

With the myriad of options available to the supply chain and the challenges of 2017 which will no doubt bring some real success for many, it is a good time to celebrate The Year of the Rooster with great vigour. Be ready to rise to the opportunities of 2017 and don’t forget you can reach out to Atlas Logistics UK Ltd for bespoke solutions on any of the items discussed in this blog.

And as they say in China for this new lunar year, 祝来年好运,并取得更大的成就。 — “Good luck and great success in the coming new year.”


When dealing with overseas transactions companies need to make all the necessary arrangements to get the cargo into or out of the UK.  Whilst this can be done by the trading companies themselves, many choose to use a freight forwarder to take over these formalities.  In the UK importing or exporting requires a lot of knowledge to be done successfully.  A freight forwarder can make sure you have all the basics covered as well as being versed in the more complex shipment.  If you have just set up in the UK and have your first shipment to import, you may have your VAT number but did you know that you also need an EORI number?  This Economic Operator Registration & Identification (EORI) number is linked to your VAT number and is required to be declared on all customs entries.  A decent reliable freight forwarder will be able to help and guide you through this type of scenario.

Freight forwarders are an agent that acts on behalf of importers and exporters to organise the transportation of goods by the most efficient means possible.  The International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA), shorthand description for a freight forwarder is “the architect of transport”.  The forwarders can use a different variety of transport modes to move the customer’s cargo from A to B.  They may collect the cargo from the manufacturing warehouse via a truck, then road freight it to an airport or a seaport.  The forwarder will get the goods ready for shipment by clearing customs, completing security and preparing the shipment documents before they then send it to the arrival port of destination.  The cargo is cleared locally before being transported to the final destination whether it be by road or rail.  Some freight forwarders operate their own vehicles and warehouses but the majority do not hold these facilities.  They select the best supplier for each sector of the shipment to complete the movement.  Some large companies like Tesco and Marks and Spencer, operate their own vehicles (Beneficial Cargo Owners – BCOs).  However, they still work with freight forwarders for help in customs clearing their shipments and to help manage their supply chain process.

In the UK, freight forwarding in an unregulated industry.  Where as in the likes of the USA and Australia formal training is required for customs brokerage services, in the UK there is no such basis.  This means choosing the correct forwarder is a highly important decision but as its unregulated what should you look out for?  Most UK based freight forwarders should be a member of the British International Freight Association (BIFA).  BIFA is the trade association for freight forwarders and sets out a list of standard trading conditions which all members must adhere to.  Other associations to look out for are IATA, (International Air Transportation Association), IMO (International Maritime Organisation), RHA (Road Haulage Association) and FIATA.  Membership to any of these associations is beneficial as it shows the freight forwarder has accessibility to the mainstream transport providers and shows the forwarder has passed certain checks to become an affiliate.

The next decision is whether to go for one of the major carriers.  We have all heard of them, those that operate their own flights or vessels, you may not get the best deal money wise or the personal touch but the job will be done.  The other alternative is a non-vessel operating common carrier (NVOCC) which are equally as reliable but a little more personal which many companies find supports them through the shipment process.  Rates with NVOCC’s vary but most of the time a better deal can be made by tailor making the service you require.

Whichever option is chosen the importer or the exporter will be ultimately responsible for the shipment. So, it is of the paramount importance if you are exporting or importing you choose the right freight forwarder.  Not knowing global regulations can be costly to your business, so using a professional company will avoid these problems as they process in accordance with the relevant current laws.


We are all aware in this day and age that there are certain articles you wouldn’t want to be loaded onto an aircraft, train, vehicle or boat that you may be traveling on but are still there.   Whether that be a container of some pathogen samples of a deadly contagious disease, a drum of chemicals or a crate of explosives. Articles of this nature are always having to be moved and for the most part we are aware that there are special protocols we have to adhere to, to get these moved in the safest but most efficient way.  There is however increasing worry within the freight forwarding industry that a major catastrophe is around the corner, due to a rise in undeclared dangerous goods being transported by inappropriate means and lacking the correct packaging and paperwork.

The most well documented case of this was as far back as 1996.  A low-cost carrier, Valujet Airlines operated in the USA and Canada during the 1990’s.  However, on 11th May 1996, Valujet flight 592 crashed into the Florida Everglades killing all 110 crew and passengers on board.  The cause was hazardous goods – Chemical Oxygen Generators, which had been illegally and incorrectly stowed in the cargo hold of the aircraft.

Smaller incidents also occur.  A Dentist sent some dental supplies from the Middle East to Sydney Australia.  He used the postal system to send this.  However enclosed was a small glass container of around 100mls of mercury. This cracked and started to spill during transport but was luckily discovered.  Had it not been found the mercury would have caused the outer body of the aircraft to be weakened and susceptible to a mid-air incident.

By now, we’ve all heard in the news that there have been issues with fires being caused by the latest Samsung phone and the lithium battery within it.  However, did you know that lithium batteries are contained in some other everyday articles?  Robotic lawnmowers, wheelchairs, kids hoverboards, Bluetooth lightbulbs and some torches are all examples of items containing them.  The lithium batteries within these articles pose a fire risk, so all need to be packed and transported in the correct manner.  Lithium batteries are the obvious items to look at but It’s not just those that pose a risk to the sector.   Everyday articles like the latest nail varnish, machinery parts or film equipment can also be hazardous.

The rise of e-commerce business is a fast-growing sector and also a key area for concern.  People can buy used or brand-new items from individuals off public auction websites.  In these instances, the seller may not have full knowledge of the articles they are selling and potential restrictions upon them.  These items can simply be popped into a small parcel and sent through the post with little thought to any implications this may have.  Throughout the Christmas period there is an increased risk from the public sending Christmas parcels to loved ones.  A family member or friend might want to make a light-hearted joke and add in a party popper or a Christmas cracker into the parcel they are sending.  This might seem innocent enough but these items are hazardous.  They contain a small trace of explosive to make the “pops” and “bangs” which again could cause a fire hazard.

There seems to be a certain level of naivety amongst the public on this subject.  So, what can be done to avoid dangerous situations from arising in the first place?

In the first instance the person sending the articles has a responsibility to check with the postal / forwarding companies that what they are sending is suitable for transporting.  This can be done in person, over the phone, or online.  The carriers also need to do their part and to be more thorough when taking bookings.  Specifically asking what the content is.  Not just “is there anything hazardous contained within the article?”  As already outlined, the majority of the general public can quite innocently believe that what they are sending isn’t hazardous as it doesn’t cause an immediate danger to themselves.  Further down the supply chain, training and awareness is key, which requires investment from the carriers.  Above all sufficient deterrents need to be put in place by the CAA to encourage correct practices in the first place.  With technological developments happening at an increasing rate, investment in this area needs to start increasing to combat this ever-growing threat to public safety.