Flowers by Air
by Dave Marshall on June 9th
Flowers are brought into UK airports in a number of ways. They can be transported by freight, parcel post or brought in by passengers as part of personal luggage.
Commercial cut flower imports are most commonly brought in at UK airports by freight.
There is an import duty to be paid on these flowers. As they are in 'bulk' they are classified as bulk cargo therefore VAT must also be paid. At UK airports there is also a ground handling charge as the load will have to be carried from the airport.
Commercial cut flowers also have to be checked. Depending where they are from the flowers get checked for different things by customs duty officers, with specific plant pest and disease checks particularly for more exotic imports. Even European imports from the Netherlands, one of the UK's main suppliers, is also subject to a series of similar checks. Cut flowers are also checked at UK airports to see if the cargo is made up of cut flowers or whether other items are being carried into the country. Regulations within the trade descriptions act mean that all cut flowers must conform to their description and not defy the rules regarding imported goods allowed in the country. Columbia supplies flowers to the UK and this cargo in particular is subject to drugs checks to ensure that drugs are not smuggled in with the flowers.
Parcel post depends on the size and weight of the flowers brought in but flowers by parcel are usually personal items or deliveries to individuals, so subject to the same checks as personal luggage.
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