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Sea Freight & Container Shipping From China To The UK

In our interconnected world, the movement of goods across borders is a cornerstone of international trade. For businesses looking to import from China to the UK, or individuals sending packages overseas, understanding the logistics of shipping is essential. This dedicated UK country guide will give you all the main details related to your Shipping from China to UK: time, rates, processes, duties and taxes…

Are you looking for transportation and logistics services for China to the UK?

We offer a wide variety of services tailored to your needs.

Whether it’s shipping by air freight or via ocean shipping containers, our team will endeavor to bring you the best and most affordable transport solutions from China to the UK.

Shipping from China to UK

Main methods of Shipping from China to UK

Shipping goods from China to the UK is a common practice for businesses and individuals engaged in international trade. There are several options available for shipping, each with its own advantages and considerations. Here are some of the key methods for shipping from China to UK:

Sea Freight from China to UK:

Full Container Load (FCL): You can rent an entire container for your goods. This is cost-effective if you have a large volume of goods.

Less than Container Load (LCL): If you don’t have enough goods to fill a whole container, you can share container space with other shippers. This is cost-effective for smaller shipments.

Air Freight from China to UK:

Airfreight is the fastest way to ship goods but tends to be more expensive than sea freight. It’s suitable for time-sensitive or high-value cargo.

Rail Freight from China to UK:

Rail freight is a land-based option that connects China and the UK through the Trans-Siberian Railway. It offers a compromise between the speed of airfreight and the cost-effectiveness of sea freight.

Courier Services from China to UK:

Companies like DHL, FedEx, and UPS offer courier services for smaller shipments. These services are relatively fast and provide door-to-door delivery.

Customs and Import Regulations:

Ensure you are familiar with the customs and import regulations of both China and the UK. This includes understanding customs duties, taxes, and any import restrictions.


Proper documentation is crucial for international shipping. This includes a commercial invoice, packing list, bill of lading (for sea freight), airway bill (for airfreight), and any necessary certificates or permits.

Shipping Incoterms:

Choose appropriate Incoterms (International Commercial Terms) that define the responsibilities of the buyer and seller in the shipping process. Common ones include FOB (Free On Board) and CIF (Cost, Insurance, and Freight).


Consider purchasing cargo insurance to protect your goods in case of damage, loss, or theft during transit.

Lead Time:

Plan your shipment well in advance, as shipping from China to the UK can take several weeks, depending on the method chosen.

Cost Considerations:

Compare quotes from different shipping providers and factor in all costs, including transportation, customs fees, and insurance, to determine the most cost-effective option.

Packaging and Labeling:

Properly package and label your goods to ensure they are protected during transit and comply with customs requirements.

In conclusion, shipping from China to UK requires careful planning and attention to detail. By understanding the shipping methods, customs requirements, documentation, and other considerations outlined in this guide, you can ensure a smooth and successful shipping experience, whether you’re importing products for your business or sending a special package to a loved one across the globe.

Additionally, staying informed about any changes in regulations or shipping practices is crucial for a smooth shipping experience from China to the UK.

Shipping from China to UK

What are the Shipping Routes from China to the UK?

When it comes to DDP shipping, there are 2 main options for you: DDP air freight and DDP sea shipping.

With your authorization, we can pick up the goods from your factory to transport them to the sea port or airport.

Otherwise, the goods you wish to ship need to be sent to our warehouses in Shenzhen, Guangzhou…

Door-to-door quotes include the above, as well as:

– Customs clearance fees. If customs require a further inspection of your cargo, additional fees may be charged.

– Trucking fees

– Cargo insurance (this is a must have. Don’t ship your products without getting them covered!)

DDP air freight

– Shipping Type: LCL Shipping

– Shipping Time: 08-13 days

– Export Declaration: Your factory is not the exporter to declare.

– Destination: We can send to your business or private address, as well as Amazon FBA warehouses.

DDP sea shipping

– Shipping Type: LCL Shipping, check for FCL availability.

– Shipping Time: 30-35 days

– Export Declaration: Your factory is not be the exporter to declare

– Destination: We can send to your business or private address, as well as Amazon FBA warehouses.

2.1 Sea Freight & Container Shipping From China To the UK

Transport by sea is one of the most popular options for shipping and this is a key means for goods coming to the United Kingdom from China.

Ocean freight will be the best deal for you if :

– Your suppliers are located near a major Chinese port

– Your goods are bigger than 2 CBM

– You’re not in a hurry to receive them

In China we can make sure your goods are exported from all major ports such as Shanghai, Qingdao, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Dalian, Tianjin, Xiamen, Macao, and Hong Kong.

We offer a variety of services from full door-to door, to door-to-port, and port-to-port.

With a door-to-door service, your goods will be in our hands from the factory/retailer in China all the way to your address in the UK.

Goods coming into China arrive at the UK’s premier ports such as  Grimsby & Immingham, London, Southampton, Liverpool and Milford Haven.

FCL and LCL shipping

You can transport your goods by both FCL and LCL shipping.

There are many factors you need to consider when shipping from China to the UK.

A standard 40 foot container can accommodate 22 standard pallets, with a 20 foot container holding 10 pallets.

If you’re shipping large volumes and can fill a container, it makes sense to choose FCL (Full Container Load).

The other advantage of Full container Load is that your items are kept separate from other importers.

On the other hand, LCL (Less than a Container Load) refers to shipping where your goods share space within a container with other goods.

If you’re OK with that, then LCL shipping (also known as groupage) offers a more economical way to ship smaller quantities that make up less than half of the volume of a full container.

Considerations for LCL Freight Shipping

LCL shipping means your goods will share space with goods from other companies.

This also means that your delivery might take a little bit longer, because of both the packing and unpacking process.

Before departure, your goods will be stored in a consolidation warehouse in China until departure, and then on arrival be held in a de-consolidation warehouse in the UK before they are delivered to your address.

Considerations for FCL Freight Shipping

FCL shipping means renting an entire container for your shipment.

If you have a large enough cargo to occupy a container, or even most of a container, FCL shipping may make the most economical sense.

It’s also quicker than LCL shipping as there is no need to consolidate or deconsolidate your items from others.

Your container will also remain sealed throughout the journey and unless customs officials select it for inspection will be sealed until it arrives at your address or chosen destination.

2.2 Air Freight From China To the UK

We have developed a vast network of carriers that specialize in air cargo transportation, offering daily and weekly departures from China’s main airports to any air destination in the globe.

Air freight will be the most efficient solution if :

– Your goods are smaller than 2 CBM and 200 kg

– You’re in a hurry to receive/send the goods

Our Basenton air freight service from China to the UK provides safe and reliable solutions for all your air transportation needs including time sensitive and high value commodities.

Our shipping options include airport-to-airport, door-to-door, airport-to-door and door-to-airport services, among others.

With our service, we’ll take care of each step of the journey, making sure that your goods arrive at your destination when you need them.

The normal transit time for air freight from China to the UK is around 3 to 7 days.

This can vary owing to seasonal demands and traffic in the freight market at certain times of year. Our years of experience can bring expert knowledge to your logistical needs in this respect.

The charter service offers you peace of mind and bespoke services as well as a long list of goods that are possible to ship. We can arrange this service for you and ship goods such as:

– Consumer goods

– High-value goods

– Sensitive cargo such as hazardous, fresh, or perishable goods

– Time-critical freight

– Medical supply & humanitarian relief aid

– Heavy load & oversized equipment

– Car, Aircraft and ships spare parts

When it comes to weight, we offer options from 10,000lb (5000kgs) to 45,000lb (22,000 kgs) which can be transported in crates or boxes, on pallets, or as bulk.

Our part charter and full charter options range from 10.000 lbs (5.000 kgs) to 45.000 lbs (22.000 kgs), loadable in pallets, skids, crates or simply bulk.

Hit that contact button right now to receive an air freight quotation in less than 24hours!

Shipping from China to UK

How long does it take to Shipping from China to UK

How long does it take to Shipping from China to UK? The time it takes to Shipping from China to UK can vary significantly depending on several factors, including the shipping method, the specific ports or airports involved, weather conditions, and customs clearance. Here are some general estimates for the different shipping methods:

Sea Freight Shipping from China to UK:

Full Container Load (FCL): Shipping a full container from China to the UK typically takes around 30 to 40 days. However, this can vary based on the specific route and destination port.

Less than Container Load (LCL): LCL shipments, which share container space with other cargo, can take a bit longer, often between 35 to 45 days.

Air Freight Shipping from China to UK:

Air freight is the fastest option, and shipments can usually be delivered within 1 to 7 days, depending on factors such as the chosen airline, route, and customs processing time.

Rail Freight Shipping from China to UK:

Rail freight between China and the UK using the Trans-Siberian Railway typically takes between 12 to 20 days, depending on the specific route and conditions.

How long does it take to Shipping from China to UK? It’s important to note that these are rough estimates, and actual transit times can vary. It’s also worth considering additional time for customs clearance and potential delays due to unforeseen circumstances. Weather conditions, peak shipping seasons, and the efficiency of customs processing can all impact the delivery timeline.

Shipping from China to UK

Shipping from China to UK Customs Clearance

Shipping goods from China to the UK involves customs clearance, a critical process that ensures compliance with import regulations and allows your cargo to enter the UK legally. Here’s an overview of the customs clearance process when shipping from China to the UK:

1. Documentation Preparation:

Before your shipment departs from China, you must ensure that all necessary documentation is complete and accurate. Key documents typically include:

Commercial Invoice: This document details the goods, their value, and other essential information.

Packing List: A comprehensive list specifying the contents of each package or container.

Bill of Lading (for sea freight) or Airway Bill (for airfreight): These documents confirm the receipt of goods by the carrier and serve as titles for the cargo.

Certificates and Permits: Depending on the type of goods, you may need specific certificates or permits for customs clearance.

2. Arrival in the UK:

Your shipment will arrive at a UK port or airport. The chosen port of entry will depend on the shipping method and logistics involved.

3. Customs Entry Declaration:

Your customs broker or freight forwarder will file a customs entry declaration on your behalf. This declaration includes details about the shipment, its value, origin, and other relevant information.

4. Duty and Tax Assessment:

UK customs authorities will assess any applicable duties, taxes, and fees based on the declared value and classification of your goods. It’s essential to be aware of these costs and have the necessary funds available to cover them.

5. Customs Inspection:

In some cases, customs authorities may choose to inspect your shipment to ensure compliance with regulations. This inspection can be random or based on specific criteria.

6. Release and Delivery:

Once customs clearance is granted, your shipment will be released for delivery. It can be transported to your desired location or made available for pickup, depending on your arrangement with the shipping provider.

7. Import VAT and Customs Duty:

In most cases, you will be required to pay import Value Added Tax (VAT) and customs duty before your goods are released. The rates and calculations for these charges vary depending on the type of goods, their value, and other factors. It’s crucial to calculate these costs accurately to avoid any surprises.

8. Documentation Retention:

Keep copies of all customs-related documents, including the customs entry declaration and receipts for paid duties and taxes. These documents are important for record-keeping and may be required for future reference or audits.

9. Compliance with Import Regulations:

Ensure that your goods comply with all UK import regulations, including safety and quality standards, labeling requirements, and any specific restrictions or licenses that may apply to your product category.

To streamline the customs clearance process and avoid potential delays, work with Basenton, we can assist you with documentation, compliance and communication with customs authorities.

Shipping from China to UK

Tips for Keeping Down Costs and Shipping from China to UK

Shipping goods from China to the UK can be cost-effective with careful planning and efficient logistics management. Here are some tips to help you keep shipping costs down while maintaining a smooth shipping process:

1. Book in advance. Shipping by sea is the cheapest, but also takes the longest. Booking in advance when you can saves you money– and cuts out the stress if delays arise.

2. Ship off-peak. When carriers get busy, both shipping prices and transit times go up. Ship during off-peak seasons whenever you can.

3. Get your documentation in order. Having your documentation in order can make all the difference when it comes to clearing customs quickly.

4. Know your HS Codes. A lot of shippers are surprised by how much customs fees can affect business costs. Do your research so you can budget effectively.

5. Compare quotes from different providers. Quotes can vary, so check out offers from different providers before making a decision.

6. Understand what’s included in your quote. Is your quote port to port or door to door? What service does it include? Know what you’re paying for to avoid getting hit with surprise fees.

Basenton provides a variety of transportation methods such as sea transportation, air transportation, and rail transportation. Shipping from China to UK, The freight method you choose depends on factors such as the size of your cargo, urgency, and budget. Once the goods arrive in the UK, customs authorities will assess duties and taxes to ensure compliance with import regulations. Efficient customs clearance and appropriate documentation are crucial to ensuring the smooth and legal entry of goods into the UK market. Basenton can deliver goods from China to the UK smoothly, quickly, safely, effectively and with optimized prices.

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