LogisticsTransportation

What You Need to Know About Sending a Parcel to Germany from the UK

Germany is a prominent trade hub within the EU, and accounts for a staggering 19.3% of all UK exports. The number of businesses and individuals sending parcels to Germany is constantly growing and isn’t likely to slow down any time soon.

Whether you’re planning on sending a parcel to Germany for business purposes or sending a parcel to a friend or family member, here’s our tips for how to get started.

Royal Mail or Courier?

Up until very recently in the grand scheme of things, most people would default to sending parcels by Royal Mail. If the parcel was too big/heavy for Royal Mail themselves, it defaults to Parcelforce. Neither of which is always a cost-effective option. Of course, it depends on the parcel and destination, but it is worth considering that Royal Mail just might not be the best bet if you’re sending anything bigger than a large letter or small parcel.

When it comes to these smaller parcels, Royal Mail tends to be a good choice, because these (and letters) are what the Royal Mail model has been built around. Once you start getting into the realms of parcels weighing 2 kilos or more, you should consider shopping around for a better deal.

Benefits of a Courier

The entire model of how a courier works is built on handling parcels. They build their service around carrying parcels that aren’t cost-effective to send through Royal Mail, including heavier, bigger, bulkier, and awkward-shaped parcels.

Courier services tend to be fully tracked and can reach Germany in as little as 1-2 working days if you opt for an Express service (such as WPS Air Express). If you need to send something really heavy and awkward, some couriers will even take parcels weighing up to 500 or even 1000 kilos.

Of course, the exact services that are offered by couriers will vary by company, so always read up on what the service includes to make sure you’re getting the best value for your money.

Customs

As with anywhere in the world, there are some items that are either restricted or totally prohibited by German customs. It is important to always research your parcel’s destination before packing the box to make sure you can send your planned goods.

Some items that are uniquely prohibited by German customs include:

  • Absinthe
  • Religious notations on the address site of articles
  • Mobile phones containing lithium
  • Lithium batteries
  • Playing cards
  • Pulverized cocoa beans

This is just a brief list of some items that are prohibited – so always do your research first as some items on prohibited lists can be a little unexpected. You can find more information on the German customs website, and we would recommend consulting the WPS prohibited items list too.

Brexit

When the UK officially left the EU customs union, this brought about some inevitable changes to how shipping to EU countries works. As a result, there are some changes that you need to be aware of if you are planning to send a parcel to Germany.

To begin, all shipments from the UK to any EU country now requires a commercial/pro forma invoice. When you book with an experienced parcel intermediary such as Worldwide Parcel Services, these documents will be automatically generated and sent to the courier. If you are planning on sending a parcel as a business, you will need to provide your EORI number when you make the booking.

You are also now required to itemise the contents of a parcel that is being sent to any EU country. This is required as part of the booking process, and you’ll need to give information including the item’s description, the quantity, total value, weight, country of manufacture and the item’s commodity code.

You will no longer be charged VAT when you book a courier service to an EU country, however you need to consider that your recipient may be required to pay this and a disbursement fee when the parcel arrives in the destination country. For more information on sending parcels to the EU following Brexit, read our full guidance here.

Booking with Worldwide Parcel Services

Opt to send your parcel to Germany with Worldwide Parcel Services and you can benefit from an easy process, great customer service and a choice of affordable services too.

To book, simply:

Get a Quote

Enter the weight and dimensions of your parcel, and click quote and book! It’s that simple. If your dimensions are in inches and pounds, that’s no problem – you can use the handy unit calculator to convert the measurements.

Compare Services

The site will automatically generate a selection of quotes for you from the different couriers that are available. You can use this list to compare delivery lead times, prices and more.

Addresses

Once you’ve picked your service, simply add your collection address and the parcel’s destination.

Book the Collection

You can specify the date you want the parcel to be collected. The service we picked only allows collections on business days, but there is the option to swap to a drop-off service instead if none of the available dates work for you.

Customs

Now the UK has left the EU, we need to itemise the contents of the parcel. The WPS website takes you through the individual steps of this and even has a helpful search tool to find the relevant commodity code for your goods.

After itemising, you need to enter the reason for the export, and the type of customer that you are. In our example, we’re sending a gift as a private individual. This information lets WPS create the commercial invoices that will be sent straight to the courier.

Make the booking and ship!

Once you’re happy with all the details, you can go through and pay for the booking. It’s all that simple! After you’ve booked, you’ll get emails from WPS with any paperwork and labels that are needed, plus instructions on what to do with the paperwork before your parcel is collected.

Remember…

  • Always use the labels (and any paperwork) provided by WPS. This will be emailed to you after the booking has gone through
  • Make sure that you weigh the parcel correctly to avoid overpaying, or an extra charge being added on by the courier if you underpay
  • Make sure the goods are packaged well to avoid damage in transit

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