How to Shipping from China to UK: 5 Route?

Jan 30, 2024 Chapter 5. Shipping

What is the best method for Shipping from China to the UK? There are 5 ways to Shipping from China to UK: Express, air freight, sea freight, rail freight, and truck freight shipping. In this post, we will cover everything from common methods, timing and costs.



How Long Does Shipping Take from China to UK?

There are currently three best shipping modes from China to the UK: air, sea, and rail. Air express is the fastest and the most expensive, and it will arrive in about 3-5 days. Ocean shipping(container ship from China to UK) is the cheapest, and it takes about 25-45 days to arrive at the port from the start of the ship. The railway to the UK shipping price and timeliness is between air and sea freight.


Port to Port Door to Door

Sea Freight(FCL)

30 – 35 days 46 -50 days

Sea Freight(LCL)

29 – 41 days 42 -58 days

Air Freight

3 -8 days 6 – 16 days


5 – 6 days




Shipping Cost from China to UK

Air shipping costs from China to UK can reach US4 to 5 per kg, based on weight, size, and volumetric weight. And for container shipping cost from China to UK: In FCL shipping, the average cost of a 40 foot container from China to the UK is $5,480. In LCL shipping, it is a cost-effective method to transport goods from China to the UK. The average cost of shipping 200 kg/1cbm through LCL shipping is around $600-800





5 Shipping from China to UK Methods


Air Shipping from China to UK

International express services that can shipping from China to UK include DHL, FedEx, UPS, TNT, etc. You can choose DHL and FedEx to deliver goods with a weight of less than 10kg and choose UPS, TNT, to deliver more than 23kg. 


Advantages: The advantages of international express delivery are apparent. Express delivery is quick and detailed, and the logistics timeliness is very fast. They can achieve delivery within 5 days to sign. And air freight takes more than ten days. Ocean Shipping takes more than one month.


Disadvantages: The disadvantages of international express delivery are also particularly obvious. Because the logistics services provided are better, the shipping price is also higher. It is the highest standard of freight and the most expensive under the same weight in any transportation method. 


Suggestion: If it is not high logistics timeliness and safety requirements, it is recommended not to choose international express delivery to shipping from China to UK because you will bear a more expensive shipping fee.




International air freight to the UK. 

International air freight shipping from China to UK includes international special lines, international parcels, Amazon FBA freight, overseas warehouses freight and other air freight logistics.

The international special line is the most cost-effective, and international parcels are the lowest air freight price. Amazon FBA freight and overseas warehouse are services for cross-border e-commerce sellers. 


The advantage of air freight: the timeliness is relatively fast, and it is the fastest time-efficient logistics channel besides express delivery. The price is also relatively low, and it can meet the logistics needs of different shippers.


The disadvantages of air freight: timeliness, price is in the middle, timeliness is in the range of 5-20 days, which can not meet the requirements of friends with higher requirements. Logistics requirements.


Suggestion: the timeliness of logistics is not very high. If you want to save logistics costs, you can choose international air freight to ship to the UK.




International sea freight to the UK

There are 2 ocean freight shipping from China to UK:  expedited ships and slow ships. The expedited ships have faster time but are expensive shipping rates, and slow ships have slower timeliness but lower rates. You can choose the corresponding shipping way to ship from China to the UK according to your needs. 


Advantages of international Shipping: International sea shipping is a type of transportation with the lowest price in the entire transportation mode. It has low transportation costs, low maintenance costs, and a large carrying capacity. Therefore, the freight rate is very low. Shipping from China to the UK can reach about $1 to $1.5 unit kilogram. 


Disadvantages of international sea freight: The disadvantages of sea transport are also very obvious. The logistics timeliness is extremely slow. The timeliness for arrival in the UK is between 30 and 50 days, greatly affected by the natural environment. 


Suggestion: The shipping price is low, and the timeliness is slow. It is suitable for using goods with low logistics timeliness requirements and large volumes, which can significantly save logistics costs.




Rail Transport to the United Kingdom

Using the logistics channels created by the China-Europe Interrail, international rail transport can be used to reach to many European countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain. 


For example: 

The “Yixinou railway” starts from Yiwu and passes through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, France, and Madrid.

The Yixinou Rail shipping can save about 50% of the shipping time, and the cost is only half or less than that of air freight.

Need Yiwu train shipping agent ? With rising freight rates, rail transportation is also a good option.


Yiwu market rail shipping


Advantages of international rail transportation: stable timeliness and low freight rates. It can send liquids and electrical power products. 


Disadvantages of international rail transportation: slow logistics timeliness, unable to deliver goods to the destination quickly. 


Suggestion: The advantage of rail transportation is its good stability, sufficient capacity, and good performance in the peak season of logistics. It is very suitable for delivery and stocking in the peak season.




Truck Freight Shipping from China to UK  

Truck freight to Europe and then transfer to the UK is a type of shipping from China to UK method with similar timeliness and services to European rail transport. 


Advantages of international airlines: the timeliness is slightly faster than that of rail transportation, and it has a good capacity, which can be used as a backup channel for delivery. 


Disadvantages of international airlines: the overall shipping time is slower than air transport and express delivery and less than sea transport and rail transport. It is not suitable for shippers with higher timeliness requirements. 


Suggestion: Truck freight has a low transportation cost and is suitable for reaching some Middle East countries. It can also be used as a backup channel for shipping from China to UK during the peak season.





Choose the Best Shipping from China to UK Route

5 types of logistics way have obvious advantages.

-If the timeliness requirements are high, you can choose air freight logistics for large quantities, choose express for small quantities, and choose international EMS for Foam products. 

-The timeliness requirements are not high, and the cargo volume is too large. It is more cost-effective to choose the sea transportation. 

-The cargo volume is larger but not very large, so rail transport is the best choice, with low tariffs and more stable timeliness.


Shipping from China to UK Channel Restrictions

There are some restrictions in specific logistics ways, including item restrictions, weight restrictions, and volume restrictions. Exporters must focus on these aspects when choosing specific logistics channels.


About Sensitive Goods

Sensitive goods refer to items that are difficult to mail through ordinary logistics channels, such as liquids, pastes, cosmetics, powders, charged items, pure battery items, electronic cigarettes, and so on.

Because of the relatively large air traffic control, such items need to be mailed through rail or air special shipping way. For example, the British special shipping line can ship liquids, pastes, cosmetics, and pure batteries. The rail freight can also ship liquids, pastes, cosmetics and other items.





How to Ship from China to UK?

Generally, You can follow the next 4 steps to ship products from China to UK.


Optimize Packaging

Do you notice that there is extra space on your package and you need to pay for it? If you don’t pay attention, your supply chain will bleed.

You should know that the shipping costs charges based on the weight or volume of the goods. You can save money by optimizing the packaging to reduce the package volume.


Find the Right Freight Forwarders

With over 100,000 freight forwarders worldwide, you need to define your key selection criteria. 

Your shipment can grow your business, so you need a trusted responsible person to coordinate with air freight, ocean shipping and (especially) customs agents who will not accept incorrect, incomplete or late paperwork. If your freight forwarder is not on top of your shipment, you may have to pay more than you bargained for.

A good early indicator of a good freight forwarder’s level of customer service is how long it takes them to respond to your request for a quote. If it takes a week or more, then regular and transparent communication during the shipment process doesn’t bode well.


Get a Quote Price

After find the shipping companies, always be sure to tell your supplier or freight forwarder what incoterm you want when getting a shipping quote like FOB Shanghai  Otherwise you may end up paying way more than you expected.

Freight forwarders require the following information before they can provide a quotation.

  • Shipping method: Air or ocean
  • Total Cargo Volume (cbm)/Total Weight (kgs)
  • Each Carton of weight and Dim
  • Freight Term: EXW Factory or FOB
  • Pick address: factory address or port name
  • Delivery address
  • Insurance (Yes / No)

*Freight Quote normally does not include: Duty & Tax



Compare Shipping Costs

The usual way to save shipping from China to UK costs is to compare different freight forwarders. Here is a suggestion, Don’t choose a freight forwarder with a particularly low price. Their shipping may have some illegal operations, which will bring you many hidden dangers.

After the comparison, you should choose a suitable price shipping company. Otherwise, you will face this kind of issue from a bad shipping agent from China to US:

  • They overestimate volume or weight
  • Follow-up service that drives you crazy
  • Can’t give you better compensation in the event of a shipping problem
  • Hard to refund





Common Sense about British Customs Policy


1. Import tax from China to UK

UK tax rate threshold: 15 pounds (22 euros)

Tariff threshold: 135 pounds

The composition of comprehensive tariff: VAT (value added tax) + DUTY (customs duty) + ADV (customs clearance fees)

VAT = (value of goods (declared to customs) + freight + DUTY)

DUTY (duty) = value X product tax rate

British Trade Tariff: look up


2. Items prohibited from shipping from China to UK

The British Customs has many prohibited items. Before exporting goods, exporters need to check whether their goods are on the list so as to avoid the goods being deducted and returned during customs clearance and facing greater losses.

The items prohibited to be imported in the UK include carcinogens, prison inmate labor products, horror cartoons, milk and dairy products, perishable food, tobacco, bank cards/credit cards and other valuable documents, unprocessed logs, etc. 


3. Understanding of relevant certifications

 For exporting goods to the UK, the certifications involved include CE certification, ROHS certification, BSI certification, MSDS certification, etc.

CE certification is a compulsory certification. If the product is within CE’s scope, it cannot be sold in the EU without CE certification. ROHS certification, a certification for electrical items. BSI certification is a quality standard certification, depending on the requirements of importers. MSDS certification, chemical safety instructions are some certifications required for liquids, pastes, cosmetics, batteries, and other items.


4. After the Brexit, customs declaration for import from China to UK:

Starting from January 1, 2021, UK customs clearance and VAT have undergone a series of changes due to Brexit. Hereby sorted out part of the content to share with you when you shipping from China to UK.


1. The CE mark of imported British goods must be changed to the UKCA mark

2. The importer must have a British VAT (beginning with GB)

3. The importer must have a British EORI (beginning with GB)

4. In the past, importers only had EORI and no VAT customs clearance is no longer possible Use

5. The importer authorization letter must be filled in. 

6. The address of the importer must be the address of the local entity in the United Kingdom, Customs and Inland Revenue ( HMRC) Registered address will not be available, that is, the following address cannot be used for customs declaration

  • AB10 1ZP


7. The packing list and invoice must indicate the seller’s information in English, or the name and address of the UK sales platform




how to shipping from China to uk




How to Import from China to UK?


Compared with other countries, the UK has a series of strict requirements and regulations on products. So, if you plan to export goods from China to the UK, it is a good idea to have a clear understanding of the legal and labeling requirements.

Generally speaking, there are three primary stages in the export of all countries, including China. From one-time registration to obtaining export licenses, handling export documents, and managing export customs clearance procedures. But before you move further, here are six professional recommendations for import from China to the UK.


1. Conduct in-depth research:

research is essential before entering any new market. There is no doubt that the UK market has huge business opportunities and cannot be ignored, but the risks associated with this market are also high, which is why UK quality market surveys are mandatory. You can follow the following two methods to conduct research:

· Do the research by yourself

· Hire professionals to conduct research.


Companies that seldom do preliminary research when launching products to the EU market tend to go bankrupt quickly. Don’t be like them! If the pre-market research is done well, exporting Chinese products to the UK can give your company a real competitive advantage.


2. Have the economic operator registration identification number:

When you export products to any country, you become an exporter. Before you provide goods or services from China to the UK, you need to determine whether you have the right to export. Your company’s export business should be registered as soon as possible. British Customs uses the customs record number as a means of recording imported and exported items.

Now is the time to ask yourself whether the company name, brand slogan and trademark are suitable for the UK? Are they good enough to influence the British people to buy your products or make changes to adapt to new markets? 


3. Determine the products you want to import from China to UK:

The key to import and export business is to find one or several products that can be successful. Choosing products that are already in strong demand in overseas markets can bring success to your business. Product decisions are made after studying foreign markets. To draw correct conclusions, you need to grasp the actual situation and information of the market you want to enter. 

When import from China to UK, start with some low-risk products. If you can’t find a product to import from UK, you can contact with us.


4. Find reliable Chinese supplier:

All your efforts depend on the sales generated by buyers. Therefore, finding a real supplier is the main task of any exporter. There are many options for finding a suitable supplier when you import from China to UK. The following are some of the channels:


(1) B2B e-commerce website

B2B trading platform is a reliable place to get in touch with active importers and buyers worldwide. Many online trade websites operate on a global scale to promote the development of international commercial trade. You can benefit from these sites and easily find an actual supplier in China.

(2) Trade fairs

Trade fairs are an ideal traditional way to find China suppliers. Only interested people can participate in such exhibition activities, and it is the best place to establish international contacts. The World Expo is also an important channel to learn about the latest business developments.

(3) Customized Services

Customized services include hiring  product sourcing company to assist in finding suitable suppliers. These agents’ task is to find a reliable list of China suppliers for you to support the export business.


5. Search for Taxes:

Another thing to consider is export tariffs. When exporting goods from China to the UK, be sure to search for and determine the tax on all exported products’ value as a percentage. Taxes and customs duties for different products are different, and how much you need to pay depends on the shipped products.

In addition, resilience is also required when working with the UK market. If you want to handle the British market well, you must be patient. With the help of expert advice, you can prepare by setting your expectations and budget.


6. Establish a Strong Relationship with the Supplier:

When doing business with a Chinese supplier, it is essential to maintain lasting business relationships with them. So, once you find a good supplier in China, they can provide the products in time, guarantee the quality, and satisfy your customers. No matter what you do, you must fulfill your promises on time because a bad reputation will not do you any good.





Shipping from China to UK Conclusion

Each of the five modes of shipping from China to UK transportation has its features. Express, Airfreight, and sea freight are used more frequently, while Truck freight and rail freight use less.

If you have any questions about how to shipping from China to UK, please contact us below. 

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