Shipping domestically throughout Germany and throughout the European Union is a common occurrence and quite effortless in its execution. It is a bit more complicated to move shipments outside the EU, but the procedures are relatively straightforward for exporting goods and services. This guide will mostly center on shipping from Germany to the USA and other countries outside the EU.
Our Global Network – Germany
Agility Germany is a full-service logistics provider and a gateway to European markets and suppliers for the automotive industry and other sectors. Agility Germany offers freight forwarding, contract logistics and supply chain solutions that connect your business to the world.
Germany Export Customs Requirements
When exporting goods from Germany to a third country, please note the following:
The exporter of the consignment from the EU must have an EORI number if it is a commercial export. As a rule, the German seller of the shipment will act as the exporter.
An export declaration must be submitted for every export shipment. If the export takes place via a German exit customs office, shipments with a goods value of up to EUR 1,000 and a net weight of up to 1,000 kilograms can be exported via commercial invoice. No export declaration has to be created. An export declaration must be created for all other shipments. If the export takes place via a non-German exit customs office, an export declaration is required in any case.
The export declarations are created via the ATLAS system or online. As a rule, a forwarding company based in the exporting country takes on the task of preparing the export declarations as the exporter’s representative.
Restrictions on German Exports
The German government adheres to the export restrictions and bans set by the EU.
This means that for the export of goods requiring a license, such as for military purposes, weapons, chemicals that could be used for warfare or dual-use goods, export permits or licenses must be applied for from BAFA.
Furthermore, international sanctions lists against terrorism should be observed, in which it is clarified in advance whether these special goods may be delivered to the respective recipient in the respective country of destination.
If there is any doubt as to whether goods may be exported without special permits or licenses, the exporter should contact BAFA. The exporter is always responsible for checking the exportability of a goods.
Germany Import Customs Requirements
For each shipment, meaningful preliminary documents such as commercial invoice, packing list, bill of lading and possibly certificates of origin and preference certificates must be available. The lack of individual preliminary papers can lead to delays in customs clearance and the associated higher storage costs and clearance fees. The import sales tax rate in Germany is 19% (or the reduced rate 7%). The EU tariff varies depending on the goods and the country of origin.
DDP deliveries to Germany are very complicated in terms of customs clearance. This results from the fact that in the case of a DDP delivery the third country seller becomes the declarant. However, since in most cases this does not have a seat in the EU, it has to be represented indirectly. Almost all German freight forwarders, however, reject indirect representation. Furthermore, DDP leads to the fact that the German buyer of the shipment loses his right to deduct the 19% import sales tax because he does not have the power to dispose of the goods at the time of customs clearance. A simple solution would be to switch to DAP with a back calculation of the customs duties incurred to the seller and the settlement of the EUST as input tax to the buyer of the shipment.
- Shipments to Germany with a value of less than 22 EUR – No customs or VAT are charged
- A commercial shipment over 22 EUR but less than 150 €: – VAT will be charged
- A commercial shipment over 150 EUR – customs + VAT will be charged
- The value added tax / VAT in Germany is 19%.
- Some items, such as print products, have a reduced VAT rate (7%).
- An electronic customs declaration must be submitted for each shipment with a goods value of more than 150 EUR.
- For the payment of import duties by a German freight forwarder, they charge a capital provision / liability of various amounts.
- The freight forwarder needs an original customs authorization to prepare an import customs application or an export declaration.
Top Cargo ports in Germany
The two major ports in Germany are Port of Hamburg and Port of Bremen-Bremerhaven.
In thousand TEUs, Hamburg saw 8,741 in traffic in 2018, a reduction of 3.3% in traffic from 2011. It was also the 11th busiest transshipment container port in the world in 2015.
In thousand TEUs, Bremen-Bremerhaven saw 5,442 in traffic in 2018, a reduction of 7.8% in traffic from 2011. It is also the world’s busiest port transporting cars.
Source: Seaports of Germany
Top Cargo Airports in Germany
In 2017, official air cargo tonnage was recorded as being 4.9 million tonnes, a rise of 8 percent from the previous year. Eighty-five percent of this traffic passed through Frankfurt, Cologne-Bonn and Leipzig. These three, especially Cologne and Leipzig, benefited much from international freight forwarders using their facilities.
Other German airports accounted for the remaining 15%, including smaller airports such as Dortmund, Friedrichshafen, Karlsruhe.
As for the top airports, Frankfurt had 2.23 million tonnes in volume, about half the volume of all cargo passing through German airports. Leipzig handled almost 1.2 million tonnes – up 8 percent and Cologne-Bonn 840,000 tons – an increase of almost 7 percent from 2016.
Source: German Airports Enjoy Cargo Boom
Top Commodities Exported from Germany (2018)
Vehicle Parts 4.53%
Packaged Medicaments 3.71%
Blood, vaccines, toxins and cultures 1.98%
Source: OEC Germany Profile
Top Commodities Imported from Germany (2018)
Vehicle Parts 3.68%
Packaged Medicaments 2.3%
Broadcasting Equipment 1.86%
Source: OEC Germany Profile
Top Tradelanes from Germany (Germany is the origin point)
United States 8.77%
United Kingdom 6.21%
Top Tradelanes to Germany (Germany is the destination point)
International Shipping Guide from Germany | Shipa Freight
Are you getting ready to talk to some freight forwarding companies in Germany, with a view to getting quotes and information about international shipping? Here you will find some information about German and EU export formalities, and insights into some of the core trade lanes used for international shipping from Germany.
Major Industries in Germany
Germany has a developed social market economy, the largest in Europe and fourth and fifth largest globally by nominal GDP and GDP PPP (Purchasing Power Parity) respectively. Most of the world knows Germany because of its manufacturing sector as it produces some of the highest quality products.
Machinery, Automotive, and Aviation Industry
The machinery and equipment sector drives the high-tech nation and leads in innovations like robotics. Germany has a proven engineering tradition and continues to offer modern manufacturing solutions. This sector has more than 6,419 employees with an ever-growing workforce that generated almost $267 billion in 2015. Germans lead in the European automotive industry in both production and sales. Globally, many people recognize the innovative and precise nature of German car manufacturers and suppliers. Worldwide, people appreciate German products like Bayerische Motorenwerke (BMW), Daimler-Benz, and Volkswagen for excellent engineering, innovation, safety, and designs.
The aviation sector in Germany has been on a constant rise, especially over the last two decades. In 2016, the aviation industry revenue stood at $43 billion. Germany hosts leading civil and defence aviation manufactures with projections of producing approximately 35,000 new aircrafts within the next twenty years.
Chemical and Medical Industry
The German chemical industry leads in Europe in terms of sales within Europe and exports to other continents. Germany has well-developed chemical research and development infrastructure. The country’s education system also produces quality graduates ready to work and offers investors a fertile and market ready environment for chemical products. In 2016, Germany recorded the third largest sale ($168 billion) in chemical products, behind China and the US.
Medical equipment and pharmaceutical goods are among the top German exports and give the country billions of dollars. The commodities include medical supplies, life-saving machinery, and other hospital equipment.
Consumer and Service Industries
Germany’s consumer spending is stable because of low levels of private debt and unemployment. The country is Europe’s largest consumer goods producer and market in terms of population and purchasing power. Located centrally in the continent and with good infrastructure, Germany has the vantage position to access western and eastern European consumer markets.
Textiles, garments, and shoes constitute the second largest consumer industry (generating about $50 billion in turnover, this is mostly Mittelstand companies) after food and beverage. Germany ranks fourth globally in the export of clothes and textile products. The DIY and home improvement market generated approximately $46.4 billion in 2014, which is 9% of the cumulative consumer good market.
Whether on job or vacation, Germans embrace domestic tourism. German vacation sites also attract more foreigners each year who go to enjoy the cultural sites, international events, and sporting activities among others. 2016 figures show that Germans spent $167 billion on culture and entertainment. The same year, German hotels recorded $518 million on accommodation from national and international tourists.
Energy and Environmental Technology Industry
Germany leads in the production of green energy and environmental technologies. In addition, traditional energy is steadily transiting to renewable energy. By the year 2050, Germany aims at reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% and increase use of renewable energy by 60%. The country also has investments in offshore wind energy, solar panels, bioenergy, photovoltaics, energy grids, and energy storage projects.
Germany’s solar energy supports electricity production and heating. The country provides incentives, infrastructure, and good environment for photovoltaic investments and energy storage. In 2014, Germany invested 2.3 billion Euros on new photovoltaic installations. Another energy sector that Germany invests in heavily is electric vehicles and their charging infrastructure.
Electronics and ICT Industry
Germany has the fifth largest electrical and electronic industries in the world with an annual market value of approximately $142.7 billion. This industry has wide-ranging products like home appliances, nanotechnology equipment, commercial lighting, automation systems, and luminaries among other products. This industry employs 29% of all Research and Development employees in Germany and accounts for over 12,000 new patents annually. On ICT, the country enjoys the largest market of its kind in Europe. Most ICT firms and startups are products of Mittelstands.
Although people know Germany for its big firms like BMW and Bayer, the Mittelstand industries are the real backbones of the German economy. In fact, financial loss at most big firms would not result in a big economic crisis in the country. As a key driver to the economy, 99% of German companies are Mittelstand small and medium-sized companies. In Germany, Mittelstand companies are family owned companies with emotional attachments, they display generational continuity, are independent, are nimble, flexible, have lean hierarchies, long-term focus, customer oriented, innovative, socially responsible, invests on the workforce, and have strong regional ties. Mittelstand companies employ less than 500 workers each and in total, they employ 80% of the country’s workforce and exports a significant number of products.
Source: Market Research on Germany
Manufacturing Map of Germany
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