The Turing Trust are a UK charity who aim to ‘promote education through the use of IT to bring essential learning resources to rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa’ The organisation was set up by the family of Alan Turing in 2009 and they have sent over 4000 computers from the UK to Africa to be used in schools and colleges.
T.Ward have been working with the Turing Trust since 2014. The first shipment we did was an LCL (Less than Container Load) shipment of 10 pallets to Tema in Ghana. We then started to export FCL (full containers) from 2015 onwards and have since done shipments to Ghana, Malawi and Liberia.
Questionnaire on exporting
We asked Brian Ferguson, a Turing Trust project manager, about his experience exporting from the UK to Africa.
1. How did you find a shipping company when your first started exporting?
We were introduced to T.Ward by a mutual contact. We started exporting in 2014 and have continued to use T.Ward as our shipping agents.
2. When you first started to export how did you find the process? Did you hit any problems at the start?
Yes, the exporting process can be complicated and there is a lot to navigate from choosing the best method of transport and documentation to HMRC classification and packing. It was all a bit of a minefield! Working with T.Ward enabled us to concentrate on getting our donations to the right place, leaving the exporting process our to T Ward.
3. When you started working with T.Ward Shipping what did they contribute and what did they do differently to other shipping companies?
They assisted us with classifying their goods with HMRC in order to get commodity codes. In 2015 we changed our loading site and they coordinated the arrangement of suitable hiab transportation for our container, so it could be stuffed while on the ground. They also assisted us with the purchase of our 20’ containers for shipment instead of using the shipping lines containers. This has saved us money in the long term.
We always liked T.Ward’s friendly approach and helpful attitude. It’s good to have a shipping agent who is always willing to answer questions and reassure you. They were always helpful, even for a demanding customer as we have sometimes been!
“a small friendly team always willing to help”
4. Is there anything you would do differently compared to when you first started exporting cargo?
We wish we'd had a better understanding of what the processes were once the containers left our location. T.Ward explained how our container would depart Grangemouth on a smaller feeder ship and connect with a bigger ship at port of Rotterdam and then go to west Africa.
5. What advice would you give for any first time exporters?
I know it’s easy to say, but trust in your shipping company. It makes an enormous difference to have someone you can trust and work with on the other end of the phone. T.Ward have always steered us in the right direction, and I’m confident they will continue to do so.
Find out more about the Turing Trust or make a donation