Picture of route to Italy

The Challenges of International Freight Deliveries

International Freight Deliveries

Many European companies are used to domestic logistics only. Small businesses (SMEs) and local national manufacturers may often deliver their goods and cargo using the same haulage company or on the same motorway/distribution channel for many years.

I know of one such company in the south of Ireland who have used the same freight forwarder to move their goods from Cork to Belfast for over 30 years. The freight company this manufacturer uses has a fleet of about 15 trucks which always work the same routes from the Republic of Ireland to Northern Ireland and back –  day in day out, for over 30 years.

However, when say a UK manufacturing company from Manchester or Birmingham or an Irish company that wants to export decides to open up new European or global markets, then a new layer of logistical complexity is added to the supply chain.


Make no mistake about it but international logistics are a total different ball game to domestic logistics.

For instance, an importer or exporter has to ask himself/herself some new questions when shipping trans-European for the very first time:

  1. Does my existing freight forwarder, transport broker or logistics out-sourcer work in the new European market I want to sell to or buy from?
  2. Will I need to source a new haulage or transportation company for groupage or chilled refrigeration part loads to Spain or France?

For instance many companies will say to themselves.. I can arrange my delivery as far as Calais or Dover easily, but which transportation provider do I use to reach Paris or Berlin or Madrid for the onward journey?

You see, this is a brand new market for me and a completely unknown territory as far as I am concerned… I hadn’t thought about such complications until now!

In theory, this simple transportation query or price estimation seems obvious but in practice it can be quite complex, especially if you have never done business in that country before…


For instance, I know my unit costs for a delivery from Birmingham to Liverpool down to a tee or from Swindon to Hull or from Liverpool to Edinburgh.

So, should I assume that the costs for similar distances from Madrid to Valencia or Zaragoza to Barcelona should be the same? Or from Paris to Marseilles?

At Cullen Freight, we advise you to prepare your logistics staff well and make them aware that international logistics and domestic logistics are 2 separate matters.

Just because your domestic supply chain runs smoothly and like clockwork does not mean your logistics in new European or global markets will be perfect initially.


The good news is that there are steps you can take to streamline your international logistics operations in the new and unknown markets you deliver to.

We cannot stress enough how important it is to choose great logistics partners both in your domestic and international market.

By choosing the right freight partners you will save time, money and years of trial and error transport hiccups.

Indeed, it is wise to devote significant time initially to choosing a freight forwarder, transport broker or haulage company that fits your exact needs in the new international market you plan to venture into soon.


You can ask for referrals from your existing domestic logistics provider or transportation agency who may well have good transport contacts in your desired target market.

Always ask for references from any logistics provider you work with for the first time to ensure they have the experience and expertise you seek.

By choosing the right logistics partner from the outset, you can safeguard against issues and logistical mishaps further down the line.

Spencer Cullen