All three of the Baltic states - Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia – are members of the European Union. Therefore, if you are a British exporter, you will need to deal with EU customs union rules whether you send a pallet to them directly or via other countries within the trading bloc. In other words, air freighting pallets to the Baltic countries is no simpler than sending them overland via France, the Netherlands or Belgium. You'll need to register with HMRC before you can declare commercial goods for export. Make sure your online declaration matches your consignment's paperwork or your shipment may be held up at the border.
Ideally, you will use a freight forwarding service provider with experience in both HMRC's protocols and the EU's importation rules. This way, you can simplify both the logistical operation and the paperwork side in one fell swoop. That said, shipping pallets to the Baltic States takes a bit more know-how than sending goods to Western Europe. Read on to find out more.
Shipping a Pallet to Lithuania
The good news is that when you send a pallet to Lithuania from the UK, there are two types of delivery you can opt for. The first is an express transit delivery, usually made in a Sprinter-style van. This will cross the English Channel and head to Eastern Europe from Zeebrugge, Dunkirk, Calais or Hook of Holland. From any port, picking up the autobahn network to traverse Germany and then Poland is relatively straightforward.
However, opt for a service that provides 24/7 radio contact with the driver so you can keep your Latvian client updated. The other option is for a groupage pallet shipment. This will mean organising your pallet to Latvia with others bound for the same country and loading them into a lorry. This method takes a few days more but is much more cost-effective when the delivery isn't so urgent.
Sending a Pallet to Latvia
Like deliveries to Lithuania, sending a pallet to Latvia by road means accessing the European road network and avoiding the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, also on the Baltic Sea. Any pallet to Latvia will need to pass through Lithuania en route. Alternatively, it is possible to access roll-on-roll-off ferry services to Riga, Latvia's capital city, from Stockholm in Sweden. According to Barrington Freight, a member of the British International Freight Association, this tends to be a better option if you also have pallets to deliver in Scandinavian countries on the way.
Organising a Pallet to Estonia
Like the other Baltic states, sending a pallet to Estonia successfully will mean organising either an express service or a groupage one. Since Estonia is the farthest of the Baltic states from the UK, deliveries to the country tend to be a little more expensive. Most commercial consignments to Estonia take the fast-moving E67 route from Riga to Tallinn. For destinations in the east of the country, the well-maintained E264 is preferable. Either way, most Estonian companies are happy to accept all types of pallets, not just Euro ones. UK pallets, sized 120 cm by 100 cm, are welcomed almost everywhere in the Baltic countries.