One of the shipping lines that I use for my sea-freight exports out of Tilbury has informed me that I must claim a “Single Transport Contract” on my export documents otherwise my goods could be snagged by Customs. The shipping lines representative explained that it is due to the Export Control System and the fact that my goods actually sail from Antwerp although they are received at Tilbury. What is this ˜Single Transport Contract” and why should I have to claim it on my export paperwork. Will my goods really be stopped if I don’t?

The term ‘Single Transport Contract’ applies to certain ‘Indirect Exports’ that are covered by a ‘Through Bill of Lading’ for maritime exports or a ‘Through Air Waybill’ for airfreight exports. Although your goods sail from Antwerp and under ECS you should really be providing the shipping line with an Export Accompanying Document (EAD), if they issue you with a through Bill of Lading showing Tilbury as the place of receipt/loading, your goods are classified as an ‘Indirect Export’ under ‘Single Transport Contract’. In these circumstances, if you claim ‘Single Transport Contract’ on your export documents you do not need to provide an EAD. But you must be sure that your goods are indeed genuinely under a Single Transport Contract.

If you are making your own Customs declarations, you should input Additional Information (AI) code STC99 in Box 44 of the SAD. If you leave it up to your agent or the carrier, you should ensure that they input this information on the declaration. HMRC have issued Customs Information Paper (09) 33 which deals specifically with the concept of the Single Transport Contract. You can download it at


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