Containers on hold and importing goods

Containers on hold

As part of our market surveillance activities we examine goods imported through Southampton Docks.

If your container is on hold at Southampton Docks by Trading Standards (K4 hold) and you wish to discuss this matter, please email leaving your contact details and container number.

We hold goods for as little time as possible, but there will be delays while we process your container. We may ask you for certificates of conformity or test certificates relating to the goods in the consignment. We will check that the goods are as described on the certificates.

We will also check that your certificates of conformity and test certificates have been issued by a properly accredited organization. If the goods in the container match with properly accredited certificates, we may be able to release the container at this stage.

If we decide to take samples of the goods for expert examination, there will be a further delay while we wait for the results. If the goods are satisfactory we will release the container, otherwise we will tell you what we intend to do.

Once we release our K4 hold there will be a short delay while the National Clearance Hub clears their hold. 

Importing goods

If you are importing goods into the EU you will be responsible for ensuring that they comply with relevant legislation. You will be classed as an importer if you buy goods from a non-EU country and have them transported into the UK. If you are importing food you need to contact Port Health.

Do not assume that because the product is legal in one country it will be OK to sell in the EU; food, cosmetics and goods covered by safety regulations will often need new labels or may not be capable of complying. This occurs as some countries allow goods to contain chemicals, additives or food ingredients which are not permitted in the UK or EU.

Most safety standards are common across the EU but please check. Equally, goods that are required to be labelled will need an English language label.

It is entirely your responsibility to ensure that goods you sell are legitimate and can legally be marked with trademarks. Some products by their very design are protected. The UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) has information on trademarks and copyright.