Incoterms – if you deal in international trade, you’ve likely come across incoterms at some point – they are, after all, the internationally recognised terms to layout agreements between buyers and sellers in the aim of mitigating as much confusion and “lost in translation” moments as possible.

With that in mind, we have Brexit and a new European trading relationship upon us with new customs clearance procedures to follow – so it’s best we familiarise ourselves with the 2 most popular Incoterms once again, just so there is no confusion who is responsible for what, particularly when it comes to customs.

Export Customs Clearance

  • EXW – Under the Ex Works trade term, the exporter has NO obligation to make the export customs clearance of the goods. All customs operations, be it export from country of origin (e.g. Spain) or import into country of destination (e.g. UK), must be handled by the Importer under Ex Works deliveries.
  • FCA – Under the Free Carrier trade term, the exporter is obligated to clear the goods for export. As a result, all export custom operations must be completed by the exporter under this term.


  • EXW – Under the EX Works trade term, the exporter has NO obligation to load the goods into any collecting vehicle.
  • FCA – Under the Free Carrier trade term, if the exporter delivers goods at their own premises, then exporter must load the goods onto the means of transport provided by the importer. In any other case, the exporter remains responsible for the goods until the delivery vehicle (truck etc) arrives at the destination and is ready for unloading. 

Like to discuss anything you’ve seen above? Or anything else freight related? then get in touch!