Road freight is the most affordable way of sending a pallet to Belgium to your commercial clients. If you were to opt for an air freight service instead, then the costs could easily dwarf what you would pay a freight forwarding firm in the UK to arrange transit to Ghent, Antwerp, Brussels or Liège, for example. What are the main considerations when shipping pallets to Belgium by road? Read on to find out.
Firstly, there is no direct commercially run roll-on roll-off ferry service from the UK to Belgium any longer. Therefore, you cannot send pallets to Zeebrugge or Ostend without first passing through another country. Practically, this doesn’t make much difference to UK exporters since the two principal options, France and the Netherlands, are both EU countries and the onward transit of goods from Dunkirk, Calais or Rotterdam isn’t complicated or far whichever route is chosen.
Consequently, what you should be deciding upon is how cost-effective you can make the transit of a pallet from the UK to Belgium without compromising on speed. Many UK companies with Belgian business clients know that they will have to get their pallets to the desired destinations quite quickly or their customers will soon start looking for alternative suppliers. Therefore, the best option is often an express courier service. Barrington Freight, a freight forwarding company that organises such road shipments, says that two-driver teams offer the best solution for urgent deliveries. Indeed, they can sometimes end up getting there quicker than air freight.
By sending one or two pallets to Belgium in a courier van, many classes of goods can be picked up within hours and some could even be signed off as having arrived before you know it. That said, a more affordable option would be with just one driver. It might take a little longer but this shouldn’t cause too much of a worry, especially if your business is located in southern England and already relatively close to the South Coast.
More affordable still is a groupage service. This is an option that many UK exporters who send a pallet to Belgium just once or twice a month like to make use of. Basically, a groupage rate means sharing the cost of the driver and the fuel he or she will use among several shipments. Your pallet will be held in the UK until there is enough of them for a full lorry load to make its way to Belgium. The lorry will then be driven to Belgium and the driver will simply drop off all of the loads in a straightforward delivery round. Of course, such a service will take longer but it is the most cost-effective option of all.
A good tip is to use a freight forwarding firm that frequently delivers pallets to Belgium. This way, your consignment won’t have to wait for weeks and weeks to pass before there are enough similar shipments to make the service worth it. Therefore, when booking a groupage shipment, always ask the firm you use to give you an indication of the lead time you can expect even if they cannot be exact.