Shipping from China to UK

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sea freight

Shipping Cost from China to the UK

Freight rates determine the cost of moving goods from one point to another and are affected by the type of goods, mode of transportation, dimensional weight, and delivery distance.

When shipping from China to the UK, factors such as origin and destination locations, cargo size, and shipment mode—whether sea FCL (full container load), sea LCL (less than container load), air, or express—all play an important influence in deciding costs.

This resource gives pricing estimates for each shipping mode, including typical routes between major ports in China and the United Kingdom.

Ocean Freight from China to the UK

Shipping Mode

Cost Estimate

LCL (Less than Container Load)

$200-300 per cubic meter

FCL (Full Container Load) 20-foot container

$1,500-$2,000

FCL (Full Container Load) 40-foot container

$2,500-$3,000

Express Shipping

$5-$8 per kilogram

Air Freight

$4-$6 per kilogram

Freight rates govern the cost of moving cargo from one location to another. These prices are determined by a variety of factors, including the type of products being shipped, the mode of transportation, the cargo’s dimensional weight, and the distance to the delivery location.

When shipping from China to the UK, other factors such as port location, shipment size, and shipping mode—full container load (FCL) or less than container load (LCL)—have a considerable impact on cost.

Ocean Freight LCL from China to the UK

LCL (Less Than Container Load) is a transportation technique in which your goods share container space with cargo from other shippers. This option is ideal for modest shipments that do not require a whole container. LCL allows you to pay solely for the volume of your cargo, making it an affordable option for shipping smaller quantities.

Costs for shipping LCL from China to the UK are decided by the volume and weight of your consignment, as well as the precise origin and destination ports and any additional services necessary. This guide includes pricing estimates and other important information for organising LCL shipments between key ports in China and the UK.

Ocean Freight LCL from China to the UK

LCL (less than container load) is a transportation technique in which your goods share container space with cargo from other shippers. This is suitable for modest shipments that do not require an entire container. LCL lets you pay only for the volume of your cargo, making it an economical solution for smaller shipments.

Shipping LCL from China to the UK costs vary depending on the volume and weight of your cargo, the precise origin and destination ports, and any additional services required. This guide provides pricing estimates and critical information to help you plan and budget for LCL shipments between major ports in China and the United Kingdom.

Air Freight

Air Freight from China to the UK

Air freight stands out as the fastest mode for transferring products from China to the UK, making it ideal for time-sensitive or high-value shipments. The costs associated with air freight are determined by various factors, including cargo weight and volume, the nature of the goods being transported, and the specific routes and airports involved.

When selecting air freight, it is critical to consider both the dimension weight and the actual weight, as airlines charge based on the greater of the two. This guide includes pricing estimates and other important information to help you plan and budget for air freight shipments from key airports in China to major airports in the United Kingdom.

Air cargo shipping cost from China to UK per kg

Air cargo shipping cost from

To

0-45 kg

45-100kg

100-300 kg

300-500kg

other

China 

United Kingdom

$96

$42

$17

$14

$98

Air cargo shipping is a fast and efficient method for transporting goods from China to the UK, especially for time-sensitive or high-value items.

The cost of air cargo shipping is usually calculated per kilogram (kg) and is influenced by several factors, including:

Actual Weight vs. Dimensional Weight:

Air carriers charge the larger of the actual weight or the dimensional weight (calculated based on cargo volume).

Type of products:

Certain products may necessitate special handling, packing, or expedited services, which increases the cost.

Route and Distance:

The precise starting and destination airports, as well as the route chosen, might influence the cost.

Service Level:

Standard, expedited, and premium service levels are all priced differently.

Air freight shipment from China to the UK normally costs between $4 and $8 per kilogramme. However, prices might fluctuate greatly depending on the aforementioned criteria, as well as current market conditions and fuel surcharges.

To get accurate and up-to-date pricing, contact air freight service providers with information about your shipment, such as weight, dimensions, kind of goods, and preferred service level.

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

air freight take from

To

Day

Shenzhen 

Heathrow

4 days

Shenzhen

Manchester

7 days

Shenzhen

Birmingham

7 days

Shanghai 

Heathrow

5 days

Shanghai n

Birmingham

7 days

Shenzhen

Glasgow or Birmingham

4 days

Shanghai

Manchester

5 days

Guangzhou 

Glasgow

7 days

Beijing 

Manchester

4 days

Air freight from China to the UK can take anywhere between 4-15 days. Here are some examples of approximate time taken for shipments between different airports in China and the UK:

Container Shipping Rates From China To UK

Ship a Container From

To

Type of container

20 foot container FCL

Type of container

40 foot container FCL

Shanghai China 

United Kingdom

average price from: $3150 20FT

average price from: $4150 40FT

 Shenzhen China

United Kingdom

average price from: $3150 20FT

average price from: $4850 40FT

 Ningbo-Zhoushan China

United Kingdom

average price from: $3150 20FT

average price from: $4850 40FT

Hong Kong China

United Kingdom

average price from: $3150 20FT

average price from: $4850 40FT

Guangzhou China 

United Kingdom

average price from: $3150 20FT

average price from: $4850 40FT

 Qingdao China 

United Kingdom

average price from: $3150 20FT

average price from: $4850 40FT

 Tianjin China 

United Kingdom

average price from: $3150 20FT

average price from: $4150 40FT

 Dalian China

United Kingdom

average price from: $3150 20FT

average price from: $4150 40FT

 Xiamen China 

United Kingdom

average price from: $3150 20FT

average price from: $4150 40FT

Yingkou China

United Kingdom

average price from: $3150 20FT

average price from: $4150 40FT

The following are the average shipping prices for containers from China to the United Kingdom, which provide the most cost-effective rates for loading and shipping containers from key Chinese ports to the UK. These costs apply to international shipments from China to the United Kingdom, whether it’s a 20ft or 40ft container (FCL) carrying a variety of cargo types such as commercial goods, automobiles, or personal effects.

Shipping from China to UK transit time

Type

Port To Port

Door To Door

Sea Freight (FCL)

40-56 days

45-61    days

Sea Freight (LCL)

40-56 days

48-68     days

Air Fright

1-5 days

4-11    days

Express

2-5    days

Express Shipping

Ocean, Air and Express freight transit time from China to the UK

The transit time for shipping from China to the UK can vary based on a number of factors, including mode of transportation (air, sea, or land), origin and destination ports, and any potential delays such as customs clearance or weather.

Here’s an overview of transit times for various shipping modes:

Air Freight:

Air freight is the quickest alternative, with transit durations ranging from 1 to 5 days, depending on the service level selected and the speed of customs clearance procedures.

Ocean Freight:

Full Container Load (FCL):

Transit durations for FCL shipments by sea can range between 20 and 40 days, depending on the precise ports of departure and arrival, the shipping route, and any potential delays.

Less than Container Load (LCL):

LCL shipments typically take longer than FCL shipments due to consolidation and deconsolidation operations at transshipment hubs. The average transit time for LCL shipments is 30 to 45 days.

It is important to note that these travel timeframes are estimations and can be altered by variables without our control, such as unforeseen delays in customs clearance, port congestion, or inclement weather. Additionally, it is recommended that you speak with your shipping provider for more exact travel time estimates based on your unique cargo specifications and requirements.

How much does shipping cost from China to the UK?

The cost of shipping from China to the UK varies depending on several factors, including the following:

Mode of Transportation:

Choosing air freight, ocean freight (FCL or LCL), rail freight, or land transport will have a substantial impact on shipping costs.

Volume and Weight of the Shipment:

The size and weight of your shipment are critical in calculating shipping costs. Larger and heavier packages have higher shipping expenses.

Type of items:

Some items may have specialised handling or packing, which can affect shipping costs.

Distance and Route:

Shipping costs are influenced by the precise origin and destination points, as well as the shipping route chosen. Longer distances and more complicated routes may lead to higher shipping costs.

Additional Services:

Any additional services necessary, such as insurance, customs clearance, or expedited shipment, may incur an additional fee.

To get an accurate shipping cost from China to the UK, request estimates from many shipping companies or goods forwarders.

They will analyse your individual shipment specifics and provide you with pricing that is personalised to your needs and preferences.

Also, keep in mind that shipping costs might change over time owing to factors such as fuel pricing, market demand, and geopolitical events.

 

China to UK shipping delays

Event

Effects on Shipping

When

Chinese New Year

Factories and facilities frequently close for several weeks over the holidays, resulting in price increases and production and transport delays. This temporary closure may disrupt supply chains and provide issues in satisfying demand, affecting firms that rely on timely deliveries.

From late January to early February, numerous East Asian countries celebrate according to the lunar calendar. During this time, the exact dates change annually and correspond with traditional celebrations like the Lunar New Year. These celebrations frequently result in temporary closures of industries and facilities, disrupting production schedules and logistics operations.

Golden Week

“This week-long festival exacerbates holiday season price spikes and delays, adding to the challenges for businesses already dealing with increased demand and supply chain disruptions.” The combination of increased consumer activity and reduced manufacturing capacity during this season may put additional strain on transportation networks, resulting in longer lead times and higher import costs.”

October 1st and the week following hold significance as they coincide with various national holidays and observances in different countries. During this time, exact dates may vary, but it often includes events such as National Day in China. These holidays can impact logistics operations, with potential disruptions in production, shipping schedules, and customs clearance processes as businesses observe these national celebrations

Dragon Boat Festival

During this time, businesses often close for three days, causing potential disruptions in a variety of industries. Temporary shutdowns can disrupt production plans, shipping arrangements, and communication channels, thereby causing disruptions in supply chains and logistics operations.

June is a significant month in many East Asian countries, with celebrations and events organised around the lunar calendar. The exact dates may vary each year, however this time period frequently contains traditional festivals and observances. These cultural festivals can have an impact on company operations, potentially disrupting production, shipping schedules, and staff availability as enterprises mark these important occasions.

Holiday Shopping Season

Prices progressively rise over a few months as businesses prepare for the holiday shopping season. This constant growth reflects increased demand for goods and services, as well as the expectation of increased consumer spending throughout the holiday season. Businesses may modify pricing methods and stock levels in reaction to market trends in order to maximise profits during peak shopping seasons.

October to December is a peak period for air freight, coinciding with heightened demand for fast shipping services ahead of the year-end holiday season. In contrast, July to October marks a busy period for sea freight, as businesses ramp up shipments in preparation for the holiday shopping rush and inventory stocking. These seasonal trends in shipping activity reflect the ebb and flow of consumer demand and supply chain dynamics throughout the year.

are shipments from China delayed?

Shipments from China have been delayed, especially during the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak.

While Chinese production has largely returned to normal levels, a number of issues continue to contribute to delivery delays:پ

COVID-19 Restriction and Protocols:

The pandemic has resulted in temporary closures of companies, ports, and transportation hubs, impeding the flow of products and delaying manufacturing and shipping procedures.

High Demand and Congestion:

Increased global demand for commodities, along with disruptions in transportation networks, has resulted in port and warehouse congestion, causing processing and shipment delays.

Reduced Air Freight Capacity:

Restrictions on air travel have severely reduced air freight capacity, resulting in restricted space availability and higher air cargo shipping charges. This has led to delays in order fulfilment and delivery.

Customs Clearance and Documentation:

Delays in clearing shipments at ports of entry have been caused by stringent customs clearance procedures and documentation requirements, along with staff shortages and operational issues.

Supply Chain Disruptions:

Global supply chain disruptions, such as shortages of raw materials, components, and shipping containers, have also led to shipping delays from China.

Is China still shipping to UK?

Yes, China still ships items to the United Kingdom. As a worldwide manufacturing powerhouse, China exports a large number of commodities to countries around the world, including the United Kingdom. Despite problems such as the COVID-19 outbreak and disruptions to global supply systems, trade between China and the United Kingdom remains strong.

With the UK as the world’s fifth-largest economy, British customers continue to want a diverse selection of goods, many of which are produced in China. This demand fuels continued trade between the two countries, with Chinese exporters fulfilling orders and sending products to the UK to suit consumer and market demands.

China and the United Kingdom have a dynamic and evolving trade and commercial relationship, with both countries playing major roles in the global economy.

Top shipping routes from China to the UK

Some of the top shipping routes from China to the UK include:

Shanghai to Felixstowe:

Shanghai is one of China’s busiest ports, and Felixstowe is a major port in the United Kingdom, so this route is an important artery for moving commodities between the two nations.

Ningbo to Southampton:

Ningbo is another significant port in China, whereas Southampton is one of the largest in the United Kingdom. This corridor improves the flow of products between eastern China and southern England.

Shenzhen to London Gateway:

Shenzhen, located in southern China, is famous for its thriving manufacturing economy, whereas London Gateway is a contemporary port near London. This line is an important link for shipping commodities from southern China to the UK.

Qingdao to Liverpool:

Qingdao is an important port in northeastern China, whereas Liverpool is a major port in northwest England. This route connects these places and facilitates trade between China and the United Kingdom.

Xiamen to Tilbury:

Xiamen is a seaside city in southern China, whereas Tilbury is a port on the River Thames in Essex, England. This route is significant for exporting commodities from China’s Fujian province to the United Kingdom.

These are only a few of the most popular shipping routes from China to the UK. Route selection may be influenced by factors such as proximity to production hubs, the availability of shipping services, and logistical considerations.

Freight from China to the UK:

How to choose the fastest and cheapest way to ship

LCL (Less than Container Load)

Cost Estimate

Transit Time

Suitability

LCL (Less than Container Load)

$200-300 per cubic meter

30-40 days

Ideal for smaller shipments

FCL (Full Container Load) – 20-foot

$1,500-$2,000

25-35 days

Best for larger shipments that can fill a container

FCL (Full Container Load) – 40-foot

$2,500-$3,000

25-35 days

Best for larger shipments that can fill a container

When shipping from China to the UK, you have four main modes to choose from: FCL sea freight, LCL sea freight, or air freight. Each mode has its own key factors to consider:

FCL Sea Freight from China to the UK:

FCL, or Full Container Load, means your goods occupy an entire container, either 20 feet or 40 feet in length. Opting for FCL can save you time and money, especially if you’re shipping at a high volume. Pricing for FCL is typically a flat rate, regardless of whether the container is fully loaded or not.

LCL Sea Freight from China to the UK:

LCL, or Less than Container Load, means your goods do not fill an entire container and will be shipped alongside other cargo. When shipping LCL, your goods need to be consolidated at the origin port and deconsolidated at the destination port. Due to this consolidation process, LCL shipping usually takes a few days longer than FCL.

Air Freight from China to the UK:

Shipping by air is generally faster but more expensive than shipping by sea. Air freight is ideal for time-sensitive shipments or high-value goods where speed is crucial. However, it comes with a higher price tag compared to sea freight.

To determine the best mode for your shipment, consider factors such as the urgency of delivery, the volume and weight of your cargo, and your budget constraints. You can use comparison tools to evaluate the costs and transit times for each mode and make an informed decision based on your specific needs.

Shipping from China to UK pricing

How much does it cost to ship a package from China to the UK?

Air Freight Cost from China to UK per KG:

Air freight shipping from China to the UK normally costs between $8 and $20 per kilogramme. Costs may vary depending on the volume of the package and the specific service provider. Shipping prices are more cheap for larger volumes, with a 200 kg/1 cbm shipment costing between $1100 and $1400 with door-to-door delivery.

Sea Freight Cost from China to UK per KG:

Sea freight shipping from China to the UK typically costs between $6 and $10 per kilogramme. In full container load (FCL) shipping, a 40-foot container costs between $1800 and $2500. Less than Container Load (LCL) shipping costs between $600 and $800 for a 200 kg/1 cbm shipment with door-to-door delivery. On Alibaba, LCL shipping prices from China to the UK typically range between $80 and $150 per cubic metre.

These are estimated charges that may vary depending on the shipping provider, the precise origin and destination points, the type of items being delivered, and any additional services needed. Request estimates from multiple shipping services and compare their pricing to determine the best option for your shipment.\

How long does sea freight take to reach the UK from China?

The travel time for marine freight from China to the UK varies greatly depending on the origin and destination points, cargo type, and transportation mode. Sea freight typically takes between 25 and 60 days. Port-to-port shipping often has shorter delivery times, whereas door-to-door shipping takes longer due to the added logistics needed.

Several factors can affect the total shipment time. These include the time required for customs clearance in the UK, transportation to and from ports, and the loading and unloading of cargo. Unexpected disruptions, such as port restrictions caused by the epidemic, might also have an influence on delivery timelines.

Shipping to

Shipping from Shanghai (CNSHA Port)

Shipping from Ningbo

(CNNGB Port)

Shipping from Shenzhen (CNSZX Port)

 Southampton (GBSOU Port)
 

26-32 days

32-35 days

29-38 days

Felixstowe (GBFXT Port)

23-29 days

28-36 days

29-32 days

London (GBLON Port)

32-38 days

42-45 days

44-46 days

How long does it take to ship from China to the UK?

Lead time estimates for shipping from China to the UK under regular conditions are generally as follows:

  • Regular Post: 1-2 weeks
  • Air Express Freight: 3 days
  • Air Freight: 8-10 days
  • Ocean Freight: 30-40 days

However, it’s essential to note that these estimates can vary due to various circumstances, especially in the current market situation. It’s advisable to check with your logistics provider for the most accurate information, as delays are possible.

Regular Post: Shipping via surface mail from China can be quite slow. However, China Post offers faster options such as airmail and express mail service (EMS), typically taking between one and two weeks for delivery. Ensuring that the paperwork is correct before sending can help expedite the process, as customs agencies may delay parcels with incorrect documentation.

Express Shipping Options: When using international couriers for shipping from China, allow at least three days for pickup at the supplier’s location. Premium services are available for urgent shipments, with some offering overnight delivery options.

Air Freight: Standard air freight shipments between China and the UK usually take around 8-10 days. The complexity of air freight processes contributes to this timeframe, despite airplanes being faster than other modes of transportation.

Sea Freight: Sea freight has the longest lead time, typically ranging from 30 to 40 days for a door-to-door shipment from China to the UK. This is because ships are slower than airplanes, and additional factors such as fuel-saving measures, port congestion, customs delays, and adverse weather conditions can further impact transit times.

rail freight

Rail freight from China to the UK

If you’re seeking an alternative to traditional shipping methods, rail freight emerges as a compelling option. Positioned as a cost-effective alternative to airfreight and a faster alternative to sea transit, rail freight presents an attractive balance between affordability and speed. Additionally, akin to sea freight, rail freight accommodates containerized cargo shipments, providing versatility in cargo handling.

At the forefront of rail freight connectivity between China and the UK lies the Yiwu—London railway line, a pivotal component of the New Silk Road initiative. Stretching approximately 12,000 kilometers, this route ranks as the second-longest railway freight route globally. Opting for this line promises expedited delivery, with shipments typically arriving within an estimated 18 days.

Moreover, rail freight offers accessibility to Felixstowe Port from various key Chinese cities, enhancing flexibility in logistics planning and distribution strategies. This accessibility amplifies the reach and efficiency of rail freight services, catering to diverse shipping needs and facilitating seamless connectivity between China and the UK.

Rail freight from 

TO

City

Port

China 

UK

Chengdu 

Felixstowe 

19 days

China 

UK

Chongqing 

Felixstowe 

19 days

China 

UK

Wuhan 

Felixstowe 

18 days

China 

UK

Xian 

Felixstowe 

19 days

China 

UK

Yiwu 

Felixstowe 

18 days

Freight Forwarders from China to UK

When it comes to shipping from China, mastering your freight requires attention to several key factors, starting with selecting the right mode of transportation.

Whether you opt for air freight or ocean freight, it’s essential to choose a reputable forwarder who can provide competitive pricing and reliable service. Requesting freight quotes from multiple forwarders allows you to compare options and make an informed decision.

Utilizing a freight forwarder can help navigate the complexities of international shipping, as they manage the organization and troubleshoot any issues that arise. However, before finalizing any deals with your supplier, ensure you understand the implications of selecting appropriate incoterms.

Understanding freight documents is crucial, even with the assistance of a forwarder. Take the time to familiarize yourself with the paperwork involved and ensure all documentation is complete and accurate. Having a reference guide for freight charges can also help you avoid unexpected surcharges and fees.

Discussing packaging options with your supplier can lead to significant cost savings, especially for ongoing shipments. Explore different packaging solutions to optimize freight costs and ensure the safe transportation of your goods.

By paying attention to these factors and leveraging the expertise of a freight forwarder, you can streamline your shipping process and minimize potential challenges along the way.

Tips for Keeping Down Costs and Shipping Time from China-UK

Here are some tips for keeping down costs and reducing shipping time when importing goods from China to the UK:

  1. Plan Ahead: Start planning your shipments well in advance to avoid rush fees and ensure smoother logistics.
  2. Consolidate Shipments: Consolidate multiple smaller shipments into fewer larger ones to benefit from economies of scale and reduce per-unit shipping costs.
  3. Choose the Right Shipping Mode: Select the most appropriate shipping mode based on your requirements. Air freight is faster but more expensive, while ocean freight is slower but more cost-effective for large shipments.
  4. Negotiate Rates: Negotiate with freight forwarders and carriers to secure competitive rates for your shipments.
  5. Optimize Packaging: Use efficient packaging that maximizes space utilization while ensuring the safety of your goods. This can help reduce dimensional weight charges and minimize shipping costs.
  6. Consider Express Options: For urgent shipments, consider using express courier services that offer faster transit times, albeit at a higher cost.
  7. Utilize Free Trade Zones: Explore the option of shipping goods through free trade zones or bonded warehouses to take advantage of tax benefits and streamline customs procedures.
  8. Stay Informed: Stay updated on changes in shipping regulations, tariffs, and trade agreements that may affect your shipments. This allows you to adapt your logistics strategy accordingly and avoid potential delays or additional costs.
  9. Streamline Customs Clearance: Ensure that all necessary documentation is prepared accurately and in advance to expedite customs clearance processes at both ends.
  10. Work with Reliable Partners: Partner with reputable suppliers, freight forwarders, and logistics providers who have a track record of reliability and efficiency in handling shipments between China and the UK.

By implementing these tips and strategies, you can optimize your supply chain, minimize costs, and reduce shipping times when importing goods from China to the UK.

Shipping from China to Uk

In conclusion, shipping from China to the UK involves a complex process that requires careful planning and coordination.

From choosing the most suitable shipping method to navigating customs regulations and tariffs, there are several factors to consider when importing goods.

Despite the challenges, many businesses find it worthwhile to engage in international trade with China due to the competitive pricing and wide range of products available.

By working with experienced logistics providers and staying informed about any changes in regulations, businesses can streamline their shipping process and ensure timely delivery of goods.

As global trade continues to grow, it is essential for companies to stay proactive in managing their supply chain and exploring new opportunities for expansion into international markets.

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