What are the best ways of sending freight to Norway today and which options are the least costly? Read on to find out.
Air Freight to Norway
Although it is often the speediest way you can get freight to Norway from anywhere in the UK, air cargo routes are not the cheapest. Even short-haul air freight routes, such as those between the UK and Norway, use considerable amounts of fuel. So, they are not just unaffordable when it comes to the amount you will need to spend but they have an associated environmental cost, as well.
Furthermore, when you consider that you will still have to undergo the same customs declaration processes for your exports to Norway whether you use air freight or another method of shipment, airborne routes aren’t necessarily that attractive, especially for bulkier items. Remember that getting your goods airside beyond the customs border in the UK means having the right paperwork in place. Even seemingly minor problems with paperwork can lead to delays which would undo much of the benefit of sending consignments by air in the first place.
Bear in mind, too, that when your consignment arrives in Oslo, Bergen, Stavanger, Tromsø, or Trondheim further customs checks will be needed. Norway may not be a member state of the European Union but British exporters are still required to make similar declarations in accordance with the UK’s trade arrangements with EFTA nations. Put simply, given that you’ll need to provide your export custom clearances for any shipment method you choose, there are more affordable options than air freight.
Freight to Norway Via Immingham
The good thing about shipping freight to Norway via the port of Immingham on the Humber Estuary is that its central location suits exporters in the north and the south of the country. Even better, freight sent to Norway from the port will arrive directly in the southern Norwegian port of Brevik. Sailings across the North Sea take about 36 hours but lorry and van drivers will be able to recommence their onward journey as soon as they arrive. Please note that private drivers are not accepted on these crossings so it is not possible for you to drive your Norway-bound consignment onto a ferry yourself. Due to UKBF port approvals, only properly licensed commercial goods drivers may use these services.
Alternatively, you can opt for a cargo-only crossing from Immingham to Bergen, Haugesund or Tananger. This is a cheaper option, according to Barrington Freight, a freight forwarding firm that arranges shipments of freight to Norway on this route frequently. The main difference with these sailings is that the goods you send won’t be accompanied by a driver throughout the sea leg of the journey.
Instead, goods are unloaded at Immingham and conveyed onto a cargo ferry on your behalf. They will then need to be collected on arrival for the completion of their onward journey. This option tends to be the most cost-effective for heavy cargo loads and raw materials. Even if you are not shipping heavy freight to Norway, the lowest cost way to proceed would be to group your shipment with other consignments going to similar destinations in the country. This will mean that logistical costs are shared both in the UK and on arrival in Norway.
Freight to Norway Via Calais and Dunkirk
Another convenient route for freight to go to Norway is via the English Channel. Ferry services are more frequent and shorter so they’re often much cheaper than North Sea sailings. However, the onward travel by road from France to Oslo is more circuitous and would take around 19 hours via Germany, Denmark and Sweden. Therefore, what you save on a ferry crossing fee is normally counterbalanced by fuel costs. That said, courier services use this route frequently. The roads on this route are particularly well maintained and suited to lighter freight and palletised goods.
It is also worth bearing in mind that there is another option from the French Channel ports. These routes involve driving to the northernmost part of Denmark and bypassing Sweden altogether. If so, another ferry crossing from the port of Hirtshals to Larvik will need to be arranged. Typically, this will involve something like a 16-hour trip from Dunkirk to get to Larvik by road and sea. It is a good option if your consignment’s onward journey won’t require it to pass through Oslo which is to the northeast of Larvik.
If your freight to Norway will be heading to the west of the country, then booking a ferry from Hirtshals to Kristiansand would make even more sense and take about the same length of time. This is because Kristiansand is about a two-hour drive to the southwest of Larvik. Crossings from Hirtshals to the more westerly port, therefore, cut down on journey times and fuel consumption.
Freight to Norway Via Germany, Sweden or Denmark
In addition to the direct routes from the UK to Norway – as well as the longer ones, via France – there are some affordable options that make use of ferry services that make land in Germany, Sweden and Denmark. Although they are not direct, these routes sometimes make more sense than sending goods via France. All of them depart from Immingham so they tend to suit companies in northern England and Scotland which don’t want to send their consignments all the way to Kent only for them to travel back northwards when they get to continental Europe.
They also often suit heavier cargo loads because a greater proportion of the journey will be conducted at sea rather than on the road. Even better, there are only two crossings per week from Immingham to Brevik whereas there are daily crossings from the Humber to Esbjerg in Denmark, for example. The onward journey from Esbjerg, in western Denmark, to Oslo in Norway would typically take between eight and nine hours.
On the other hand, if you book a roll-on/roll-off ferry from Immingham to Cuxhaven in Germany, then the onward travel from there to Oslo would constitute about 13 hours of driving. Although it involves a longer sailing, ferry services from Immingham to Gothenburg in Sweden are also viable. With six 33-hour crossings per week, onward travel from this part of Sweden to Oslo would only take a little over three hours via the E6 trunk road.