Shipping from China to UK

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Are you having trouble shipping goods from China to the UK?

International logistics and keeping up with deadlines may be confusing. However, do not get disturbed! This blog guide will help to simplify your shipments from China to the UK. 

Whether you are an experienced business owner or just starting. This guide will outline all the main options. Starting with cost-efficient sea freight and ending up with lightning-fast express delivery. 

Amazon sellers can have their products delivered quickly and effectively by looking at FBA compliance intricacies. Read out till the end to select the best shipping method.

How to Ship from China to the UK

Do you have fewer guidelines about the shipment procedure from China to the UK? Well, don’t worry. The procedure is explained briefly: 

  • Pick your mode of transportation: You can use either sea, air, or express. Sea is slowest but cheapest for bulky items. Air is fastest but costly. While express shipping is most expensive but speediest. 
  • Prepare commodities for shipping: Ensure they meet the customs requirements. This includes packaging correctly and labeling properly. It’s because products may entail acquiring certain product certificates.
  • Organize customs clearance: To facilitate your shipment’s clearance at customs locations, you can choose China Freight Forwarding company. We can handle all your custom clearence services for our customers. We always ensure that your shipment meets importation standards.
  • Pay for shipping: Incur all transportation expenses with your preferred China freight forwarder. This includes extra charges such as taxes and clearing fees where applicable.
  • Monitor the movement of goods: Keep track of them online. Until they reach their last location through forwarding agencies.

Sea freight from China to the UK

Despite the speed advantage of airfreight, sea freight remains the cheapest option. Especially when transporting goods’ from China to UK. Learn more about selecting a suitable shipping method for your goods.

LCL and FCL Shipping, Shipping from China to UK

LCL from China to the UK

LCL shipping is recommended when one does not have enough spacious goods that fill a whole container. Goods are grouped with other shipments going to the same destination port in the UK. Thus it becomes an affordable option.

When to use LCL

  • Shipping small orders or samples.
  • Not having enough cargo to load a full container.
  • Giving priority to cost over speed.

FCL from China to the UK

FCL shipping is for bulk cargoes occupying a whole container. This allows you exclusive use of the container. FCL subsequently offers greater security and control over your shipment. FCL deliveries are generally faster than LCL deliveries.

When to use FCL

  • Shipping large volumes of goods.
  • Requiring faster transit times.
  • Transporting fragile or valuable cargo.

Container Size Chart

The right container size selection is very important in reducing shipping costs.

Smaller shipments can start with standard 20-foot containers. High-cube ones provide additional height for huge items.

When the volume is large, 40-foot containers offer the highest possible capacity to minimize the cost per unit shipped. The right selection of size will save extra space. It enables you to save some extra money on the shipment.

The following are standard container dimensions:

long Width high Volume actual loading gross weight Weight limit
20FT 5.9m 2.35m 2.393m 33.2 cube 28CBM 2230Kgs 21770Kgs
40FT 12.036m 2.35m 2.392m 67.7 cube 58CBM 3700Kgs 26780Kgs
40HQ 12.010m 2.33m 2.690m 76.28 cube 68CBM 3968Kgs 26512Kgs

Shipping from China to the UK LCL sea freight prices

Shipping from China to the UK LCL sea freight prices, sea shipping, Container Port

There are many factors that affect the LCL shipping price. The port of departure, the port of destination, the delivery address, the ship used, etc. will affect the shipping price.

Below we will provide a table of LCL shipping rates from China to the UK.This table is GORTO’s ocean freight rate table. Please note that it may vary due to changes in time.

Departure Port Destination Port 250kg/m3 load port to port Time
Ningbo Southhampton £108 30-34 days
Ningbo Felixstowe £108 26-35 days
Ningbo London £108 40-44 days
Shanghai Southhampton £90 24-31 days
Shanghai Felixstowe £90 21-28 days
Shanghai London £90 30-37 days
Shenzhen Southhampton £82 27-37 days
Shenzhen Felixstowe £82 28-31 days
Shenzhen London £82 42-45 days

Shipping from China to the UK FCL sea freight prices

There are also many factors that affect the FCL price, because the price of containers changes with the market, and the rates fluctuate greatly. For example, during the peak season, the price of containers will be relatively more expensive because the market is in short supply.

In June 2024, the container rate increased by $1,000, which is not good news for importers. Because the current situation is that containers are in short supply.

In addition, GORTO will provide an FCL rate table.If you require a more detailed shipping quote, please contact our professional team.

This price is the container rate table from China to the UK and may fluctuate due to changes in time.

Departure Port Destination Port 40HQ container port to port
Ningbo Southhampton £7,010.50 30-34 days
Ningbo Felixstowe £7,010.50 26-35 days
Ningbo London £7,010.50 40-44 days
Shanghai Southhampton £7,010.50 24-31 days
Shanghai Felixstowe £7,010.50 21-28 days
Shanghai London £7,010.50 30-37 days
Shenzhen Southhampton £7,010.50 27-37 days
Shenzhen Felixstowe £7,010.50 28-31 days
Shenzhen London £7,010.50 42-45 days

How long is sea freight shipping from China to the UK?

The shipping time from China to the UK is affected by many factors, including:

  1. Unable to ship during specific holidays in China
  2. Delays caused by customs inspections
  3. Customs policies of the destination country
  4. Unpredictable risks and bad weather at sea
  5.  Port congestion
  6. Document errors

For a detailed overview of time required for sea freight shipping from China to the Uk, here’s a table.

But don’t forget to contact Gorto before making a booking. As, depending on multiple factors, sea freight shipping duration can change.

 Shipping from Shanghai (CNSHA Port) Shipping from Ningbo Shipping from Shenzhen (CNSZX Port)
Shipping to Southampton (GBSOU Port) 24-31 days 30-34 days 27-37 days
Shipping to Felixstowe (GBFXT Port) 21-28 days 26-35 days 28-31 days
Shipping to London (GBLON Port) 30-37 days 40-44 days 42-45 days

Air freight from China to the UK

Compared to sea freight, air freight ships goods from China to the UK faster but is more expensive.

This section explains suitable conditions for air freight and its advantages and disadvantages. It enables you to decide which one is appropriate for you.

Air freight from China to the UK, How much is the cost of air shipping from China to the UK?

When to use air freight

  • Sample Order: The quickness of airfreight ensures no delays in sample order delivery. This helps selecting sample quickly and getting desired product.
  •  Time-sensitive Shipments: For perishable goods like fresh fruits and medication near their expiration dates, airfreight provides fast transport options.
  • Small Batches: Smaller consignments are well suited for being sent through air freight. Nevertheless, when compared with sea shipping, where one has to wait until an entire container is full, this method could be costly per unit.
  • Cargo Restrictions: Some temperature-sensitive products, such as drugs, are not allowed on ships either way. In that case, air-freight is among the safest and most regulatory ways of sending such products.

Advantages of Air Freight

  • Faster speed
  • Less packaging requirements
  • Simplified customs clearance procedures
  • Reduce the risk of damage

Disadvantages of Air Freight

  • High cost
  • Limited capacity, unable to transport large quantities of goods
  • Delays caused by weather
  • Dangerous goods or special items cannot be transported by air, such as liquids, magnetic materials, certain chemicals, etc.

How long does air freight take from China to the UK?

The following table is the air freight timetable from China to the UK, but there is still a certain probability of delay in air freight, such as weather reasons, such as customs commodity inspection and other factors. However, the content of the table is still a reliable reference.

\ ShangHai NingBo ShenZhen
Shipping to Southampton 5-15 days 5-15 days 5-15 days
Shipping to Felixstowe 5-15 days 5-15 days 5-15 days
Shipping to London 5-15 days 5-15 days 5-15 days

How much is the cost of air shipping from China to the UK?

There are many factors that affect air freight costs, including:

  1. Type of goods
  2. Weight
  3. Volume
  4. Delivery address
  5. Value of goods

We also attach the air freight rate table. Please note that the price will change over time. This table is for reference only. If you need to get an accurate price, please contact the Gorto professional team.

≤40KG 40-100KG 100-200KG 200-300KG
£ 4.10/KG £ 4.58/KG £ 3.45/KG £ 3.35/KG

Express Shipping from China to the UK

When it comes to shipping goods from China to the UK, nothing can beat express shipping in terms of speed. This method is more costly than other alternatives. The main consideration of this method, it can be used in moving urgent cargo.

At present, leading worldwide courier corporations such as DHL, UPS, and FedEx dominate the China-UK trade route. This is because they provide door-to-door deliveries. They involve simplified customs clearance. They are highly effective and fast-paced.

How long does Express Shipping take from China to the UK?

For speedy delivery from China to the UK, express shipping is the fastest option, with a period of about 1–3 business days.

This shipment covers main towns like Shanghai, Ningbo, and Shenzhen and goes to Southampton, Felixstowe, and London.

But still, factors such as the courier that will be used, the customs clearance process, and weather conditions can cause delays.

 ShangHai NingBo ShenZhen
Shipping to Southampton 1-3day 1-3day 1-3day
Shipping to Felixstowe 1-3day 1-3day 1-3day
Shipping to London 1-3day 1-3day 1-3day

How much is the cost of express shipping from China to the UK?

Express shipping offers the quickest delivery of products from China to the UK. Gorto has partnered with leading courier firms to offer competitive prices.

It costs £5.90 per kilo for a shipment under 10 kg. The price then drops to £5.40 per kilogram for between 10 and 100 kilograms.

Shipments that weigh between 100 and 200 kilograms are charged at a slightly lower rate of £5.35 per gram. Please get in touch today for a free quote!

≤ 10KG ≤ 100KG ≤ 200KG ≤ 300KG
£ 5.90/KG £ 5.40/KG £ 5.35/KG £ 5.28/KG

How to ship a container from China to the UK

Contact a freight forwarder: These guys do all the paperwork and logistics.

Give Shipment Information: This includes:

  1. Port of Departure and Destination: Different ports have different costs.
  2. Customs Clearance Invoice: It has to describe in detail the goods to be imported (quantity, value, pictures, customs codes, size, and weight). It determines import duties.
  3. Delivery Address: The cost of inland transport depends on how far one is from the port.
  4. Supplier Contact Information: For coordination purposes at the point of origin.
  5. Container Loading Time: Determines when it will be shipped out. And whether you will need storage space for your cargo or not.
  6. Timeliness Requirements: Faster alternatives to transportation are more expensive.
  7. Booking and Confirmation: The moment they get that information from you, this forwarder can give its quote and book for your container space as well.
  8. Delivery and Customs Clearance: The goods are loaded into the container at the point of origin (China). If you are looking for a Chinese freight forwarder to help you transport the goods, they can also help you with customs clearance services for the goods. You do not need to worry about all the customs clearance procedures.

How to get an accurate quotation

The expense of container shipping depends on different factors. These factors are such as the origin port and destination port, the size of the container, the weight of the cargo, and current market rates.

Provide all relevant details required above if you want accurate quotes from your freight forwarder.

Remember: Container shipment offers a fair cost-versus-efficiency trade-off for large goods. Container shipping from China to the UK can be made easy by working with reliable freight forwarders.

Choosing the right freight forwarder will get your shipment delivered effectively.

How to clear customs and file taxes when importing from China to the UK

While navigating the tax filing and customs clearance procedures may seem challenging. With the right planning, it may go rather smoothly. Understand the following guidelines for customs clearance.

Guidelines for Customs Clearance:

  • Correct Documentation: Make sure that all of your documentation is correct and comprehensive. Include invoices and listings of commercial packing.
  • Commodity Codes: To help with quick processing, identify your goods with the proper commodity codes.
  • Valuation: To prevent delays or fines, state the actual value of your items.

Tax Filing:

  • VAT (Value Added Tax): In general, every UK buyer should use their VAT number while making customs declarations. This ensures that it takes place faster, avoiding any possible hold-ups.
  • Amazon Sellers: You could get postponed import VAT accounting (PVA). This means that you will not have to pay import VAT until your stock is sold in the United Kingdom. This can improve your cash flow significantly.

Remember: It is important to stay informed of any changes made regarding the UK import regulations. Talking to a customs brokerage firm will help you comply with all regulations without facing unnecessary problems.

Freight shipping from China to the UK

To move shipments from China into the UK effectively, It is recommended that you should choose a reliable China freight forwarder.

They can help importers solve many complex problems, such as container inspection, delays, insurance, customs clearance, and cargo transportation arrangements after arriving in the UK.

At the same time, freight forwarders can help importers communicate with Chinese sellers. Good communication can improve the efficiency of cargo transportation and avoid unnecessary disputes.

A freight forwarder’s main task is to allow your concentration on core business while guaranteeing successful shipping from China to the UK.

Shipping from China to Amazon FBA UK

For Amazon sellers based in the United Kingdom, smooth shipping between Chinese suppliers and Amazon’s fulfillment network is necessary for an efficient customer order fulfillment process.

In this part, we will delve into the warehousing requirements of Amazon FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) in the UK. Learn how Gorto can simplify your China-to-UK FBA shipping process.

Amazon FBA Warehousing Requirements

Amazon has specific guidelines on product size, weight, and labeling when entering their fulfillment centers.

These requirements ensure efficient storage and retrieval of your inventory. This results in a better customer experience. Here are some main requirements at a glance:

• Product dimensions and weight: There are limitations on the largest size and heaviest weight. Both for individual items as well as packaged goods.

  • FNSKU (Fulfillment Network Stock Keeping Unit) labeling: Each product must have its own FNSKU label. Amazon will identify and track your stock within their warehouses.
  • Preparation and packaging: Products need to be prepared and packed properly according to Amazon’s guidelines. So, safe storage and handling can be maintained.

Gorto’s FBA Shipping Solution

Gorto recognizes the importance of meeting Amazon’s demanding FBA standards. We provide a complete solution, from picking up your goods from China and delivering them directly to your designated Amazon FBA warehouse in the UK. Our services include:

  • Compliance with FBA guidelines: Your products will be labeled, packaged correctly, and meet all size and weight restrictions set forth by FBA.
  • FNSKU labeling: All your products will have their respective labels of FNSKU attached to them through us.
  • Customs clearance expertise: We effectively go through customs procedures for quick processing without delays.
  • Inventory management: Your shipment is tracked in real-time. Regular updates are given.

Benefits of Using Gorto for FBA Shipping:

By partnering with Gorto, you can streamline your China-to-UK FBA supply chain. Focusing on growing your business can get:

  • Save time and resources: Minimize the administrative costs of FBA compliance. Also for the logistical problems.
  • Increase efficiency: Have quicker delivery times. Make customers happier.
  • Gain peace of mind: Make sure that your products meet Amazon standards. Must get to where they are going safely.


The right suitable way to ship from China to the UK depends on the user’s needs. The cheaper shipment is through sea freight as compared to air freight. Express shipping may be the quickest.

But, it costs more than others. Think about the size of your shipment, and how quickly you need it sent. And how much cost you can afford. Be familiar with container sizes, FBA requirements, and inconveniences.

This will make international shipping easier and faster. By selecting the right freight forwarder, you can get your items delivered at an affordable cost.

Looking for a freight forwarder?

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