How Do I Transport Art or Antiques Abroad?

Fine art and antiques are not something typically associated with freight forwarding or transport. But, if you have an antique grandfather clock, a collection of paintings or an elegant armchair to ship across Europe, a transport company can move it either via the channel tunnel or freight ferry.

One of the first things that springs to mind about shipping antiques and rare items is to consider the following:

  1. transport packagingPackaging and Storage There are many shipping companies who offer tailored services. Running costs, getting from A-to-B are often primary concerns but for art collections or antique furniture or a Grand Piano, it's the safe storage that is significantly important.
  2. Competitive Pricing Be careful when considering profits and margins because cutting too many corners, looking for the cheapest deal can be risky concerning freight such as this.
  3. Reliable Insurance Needless to say a reliable insurance policy should be agreed upon and signed relatively quickly. Some shippers however, request that you organise your own insurance. If you do this the insurance policy must meet the terms and conditions of the shipper and vice-versa. Some shippers do organise their own insurance. If you are a private courier transporting freight for a client or customer the same applies - you can request that the client organises their insurance ready for the transportation of the freight.
  4. Correct Paperwork One of the more common stumbling blocks when transporting rare or expensive freight is incorrect paperwork. Check it! If unsure, get a professional antique dealer to check it. Common issues include:
  • lack of evidence of the freight items being exported otherwise HMRC can tax them
  • the shipper or courier not correctly covered to transport art and/or antiques. Look on dealer association websites, they offer advice on T&C's
  • incorrect valuation of the freight
  • there are regulations for the re-export of freight being imported
  • consider the freight transportation of firearms - these require other permissions and old weapons and/or suits of armour
  • Expensive older items often need an export licence

Book an English Channel, Irish Sea, North Sea, Mediterranean or Baltic Sea Freight Ferry

Where is my freight going?

This of course depends greatly on your choice of route to get to the destination. In the UK more than 70% of all imports and exports pass via Dover - so depending on your destination for example:

  • UK - Spain: It might be more advantageous to take a freight ferry from Plymouth or Portsmouth via the Bay of Biscay and arrived direct on the North coast of Spain.
  • UK - France: Alternatively, taking the most common route via Dover-Calais or Folkstone-Calais to drive across France tends to be cheaper but more time consuming and less cost effective for insurance purposes.
  • UK - Denmark: As with sailing on direct ferries from southern England to northern Spain there are routes available direct to Denmark in order to drive into Germany or into Scandinavia via Copenhagen.
  • UK - Germany: As with sailing on direct ferries from Eastern England to Cuxhaven there are routes available direct to Germany in order to drive into Germany or onto other EU countries via road freight.
  • UK - Morocco: Options include driving across France and Spain down to either Barcelona or Algeciras at Gibraltar or taking a direct freight ferry from Genoa in Italy to Tangier.

Any questions? Speak to our knowledgable customer service team on 0844 847 9000.

09 March 2015

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