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Shipment method for assessment materials

We are changing the way we ship assessment documents to our centres to mark them as 'commercial' goods (rather than 'non-commercial') to make sure we comply with customs requirements.

We will implement this change, for all current non-commercial consignments, from 15 January 2024. This will make sure that shipments we send you, including question papers and other confidential exam materials, are not prevented from entering your country/territory or delayed in customs.  

We know you may have questions about how the change to shipping classification might impact your centre and we have answered some frequently asked questions below.

Does this change impact the classification of materials we return to Cambridge? 

We strongly advise that you check with your local tax or customs advisors about how to classify the documents, including question papers, you return to us. 

What does ‘WPX’ mean – I can see this term on my shipping labels?

Worldwide Parcel Express (WPX) describes a commercial shipment of goods that must pass through customs. This term is used by DHL; other couriers may use a different term.

Can we choose whether materials are shipped as commercial or non-commercial consignments? 

No, all items shipped by Cambridge University Press & Assessment are deemed to be commercial goods for customs purposes. 

What do we label goods we send back to Cambridge? 

We are not able to provide guidance to individual centres about how to label return shipments for customs or shipping purposes. We strongly advise you to check with your local customs and/or tax authorities. 

Will there be changes to the commodity codes listed on the invoice?

There will be no changes to the commodity codes.

If my centre is registered as the Importer of Record by Cambridge, why do I also need to register as an Importer locally?

Your centre is already listed as the Importer of Record by Cambridge. However, you may also need to register as an Importer locally so that you can work with DHL / your importer/broker to make sure the despatches we send you can arrive at your centre and not be delayed in customs. We strongly advise that you contact your local DHL agent / your importer/broker as soon as possible to check if you need to register locally.  

What additional administrative arrangements will we need to have in place to receive shipments from Cambridge?

We strongly advise that you follow the steps below to make sure you can receive shipments from us and that these do not get delayed in customs. We use DHL to ship most of our consignments so these steps refer to DHL, but you must check all of the following information with whichever local courier/importer/broker that your centre uses. 

  1. Contact your local DHL agent (or preferred local importer/broker) as soon as possible.

    • Go to the DHL website and select your country from the drop-down list.
    • To find your local DHL agent, scroll to the end of the webpage and click ‘Contact us’. You may also find information here about customs clearance and taxes.
    • If you are not using DHL, contact your chosen local importer/broker.

  2. Set up an account with DHL/your local importer/broker (if you do not already have an existing account):

    • As part of setting up your account, or updating an existing account, engage with them to confirm what additional paperwork, if any, your centre will need to provide to assist with clearing shipments through customs.
    • Your centre may need to provide a Letter of Authority authorising your courier/importer/broker to act as receiver’s broker and clear shipments on your behalf. They should be able to confirm if you need to provide this.
    • Confirm if you need to register your centre as an Importer with local or national authorities.
    • Confirm how your centre will pay your courier/importer/broker any local charges.

  3. Contact your local tax and customs advisor to understand what charges may be payable on shipments you receive from us.
  4. When returning items to us, you must check how to classify the documents, including candidate answer scripts and/or completed question papers, with whichever courier you are using.  

If you are unsure about how to commence this conversation with DHL, we would suggest you start with the following question:

"We will start receiving our examination materials on the DHL WPX service. Is there anything we need to have in place with DHL to support customs clearance and the payment of any local charges (duties & taxes)?"

Can you upload my question papers to Digital File Despatch if my question papers are delayed in customs?

We will not upload question papers via Digital File Despatch if your question papers are delayed in customs because you have not put the correct process in place with DHL agent/your importer/broker. We will ask for evidence of your engagement with, and completion of, all necessary processes in your country before we upload any question papers to Digital File Despatch. You must contact your local DHL agent/your importer/broker as soon as possible, as outlined above, to make sure that you have the correct processes in place so that our shipments, including question papers, can clear customs and reach your centre in time for exams.

Can Cambridge give a valuation for certain items such as question papers and certificates?  

The valuation declared on the customs invoice is the value of the items we send you, and the cost of freight.

Shipments are valued as follows:

  • Question papers are valued at £1.78/kilo*
  • Certificates are valued at £22.50/kilo*
  • CDs are valued at £0.83/per CD.

* In addition to the value of goods in the consignment, the freight costs for each shipment will also be included on the invoice and will vary depending on destination and weight of the shipment.

What factors can affect the value of a shipment?

There are several factors which affect local import taxes and duties. Some examples of these include: 

  • Local thresholds – some goods carry no charge or have thresholds below which goods are exempt.
  • The customs tariff to be applied to the commodity code
  • Origin of the goods
  • Other rules and regulations in your country or territory.

Because of the complexity of shipping materials worldwide, and the differing customs requirements in each country, we cannot advise individual centres about possible costs. We also are unable to add customs duties, which are charged by in-country authorities, to the costs we invoice you for.

The customs value for each shipment is a combination of the declared value of the items being despatched, calculated either by weight or unit price, and the carriers freight charge, which varies between the receiving destinations and the weight of the shipment. Because of the way the customs value is calculated, the declared value of each shipment can vary.

We cannot group shipments into smaller packages. All our materials, including question papers, are printed and packed in Cambridge. This is an automated process. The machines in our print warehouse are set up to print, collate, and pack a large volume of question papers – we have to despatch shipments in this way because of the large volumes of materials we send to over 160 countries worldwide. Sending shipments in smaller packages would take us much longer and would mean your materials would not be sent in time for exams.

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