The European customs law uses the term transit for a situation where goods are transported via the territory of a particular country without being permanently imported into it. Transit means the transport of goods from one customs office to another. Transit thus functions as a temporary import and export.
When the transit concerns goods of temporary admission, an ATA Carnet is used (see ATA Carnet).
In the case of transit transport, it is necessary to make sure that the carnet contains blue tear-off sheets. You will then fill in these sheets at the customs offices of the transit countries. Both the entry and the exit must be confirmed, and the validity period set by the customs office must be observed. The validity period means the period for re-export (the exit from the transit country and the journey to another customs office). It usually lasts only a few days and must be observed without exception.
If goods are transported without an ATA Carnet, a customs deposit must be made at the border with the transit country, its amount depending on the value of the goods.
If you are transporting goods from one EU country to another and travelling, for example, through Switzerland, you will not avoid customs formalities. These can nevertheless be handled at any customs office at the EU border.
If the destination country comes in second and is therefore preceded by a transit country (e.g. a journey from the Czech Republic via Switzerland to Israel), it is advisable to conclude an agreement with the transport company setting down the driver’s liability for obtaining a stamp in the ATA Carnet in the transit country both upon the exit and upon the return. The driver who will load the cargo in the Czech Republic will thus be liable for obtaining the Swiss stamp on the journey there and back. The customs office in the Czech Republic that will close the carnet after the return will want to see the stamp from the transit country.
Besides the “traditional” carrier on the market, there are also firms specialising in transportation of works of art and fragile items.
The type of transport should be chosen also with regard to the size of the consignment. You can choose from transport by road, by air, by train or – for large consignments – by ship.
Transportation of works of art and fragile items is always risky, and in some cases, some wear and tear cannot be avoided. The transport of valuable items requiring special treatment should, of course, be kept as short as possible.
- Transport companies specialising in the transportation of works of art
Such companies are able to provide a full-service including packaging, customs clearance, insurance, and other related services. These companies are able to produce packaging and containers for individual works or art, including air-conditioning. Such specialised transport service can, of course, be expected to be connected with higher financial costs.
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- A traditional transport company will offer cheaper services, but the standards of treatment of the goods will be different, too. In such case, we recommend that you secure high-quality packaging material (which can be bought from companies specialising in transportation of fragile items).
The type of transport you choose is also important. For these reasons, you should plan the trip well in advance, because if you choose, for example, transport by sea, the ship will wait until the containers (at collection points) as well as the entire ship are filled up before the ship sets off, which can take several weeks or even months. Transport to distant countries is actually a matter of months.