Shipping from China to the UK

Shipping from China to the UK

Understanding Shipping Options

When importing from China to the UK, you have several modes of transport to consider. Each has its benefits and suitability depending on the urgency, size, and cost-effectiveness of your shipment.

Different Shipping Methods

  • Air Freight: Air freight from China is best for urgent deliveries. Your cargo travels by plane, offering the shortest transit times.
  • Sea Freight: Ideal for larger shipments. Sea freight from China is more cost-effective and has two main options: Full Container Load (FCL) and Less than Container Load (LCL).
  • Rail Freight: A balance between speed and cost, rail can be a viable option, though with limited availability.
  • Road Freight: Often used for the final leg of the journey, trucks transport your goods to their final destination.
  • Express shipping: Typically door-to-door shipping conducted by Luckystar Logistic, combining air and road transport for speedy delivery.

Choosing Between FCL and LCL

  • FCL shipping (Full Container Load): Your goods take up an entire container. It’s faster and less prone to damage since the container is not opened en route.
  • LCL shipping (Less than Container Load): Share container space with others if you don’t have enough cargo to fill one. More flexible, but potentially subject to delays due to consolidation and deconsolidation processes.

Key Logistics Locations in China and the UK

Navigating the shipping routes from China to the UK, you’ll encounter a range of key ports that play pivotal roles in the logistics network. These ports act as hubs for the consolidation and distribution of goods, making them essential waypoints in the complex journey of international trade.

Key Logistics Locations in China and the UK

Major Shipping Ports in China and the UK

Port NameLocationStrategic Advantage
Port of ShanghaiShanghai, ChinaWorld’s busiest container port, critical gateway for international trade flows
Port of ShenzhenShenzhen, ChinaModern logistics marvel near Hong Kong, ideal for electronic and high-value exports
Port of Ningbo-ZhoushanNingbo-Zhoushan, ChinaCrucial for connecting international and domestic trade with deep-water access and extensive facilities
Port of GuangzhouGuangzhou, ChinaSouth China’s main import and export hub, vital for trade in the Pearl River Delta region
Port of TianjinTianjin, ChinaLargest port in Northern China, important link for Beijing and the broader economic hinterland
Port of QingdaoQingdao, ChinaKey port for multinational trade in the Shandong Peninsula, with connections to over 700 ports in over 180 countries
Port of DalianDalian, ChinaNorthernmost ice-free port, strategic for access to the Pacific and beyond
Port of XiamenXiamen, ChinaSignificant port on the southeast coast of China, focusing on the export of various goods to Europe, including the UK
Port of FelixstoweFelixstowe, UKUK’s busiest container port, often first port of call for many deep-sea shipping services
Port of SouthamptonSouthampton, UKRenowned for automotive trade, major player in container shipping with advanced facilities
Port of ImminghamImmingham, UKUK’s largest port by tonnage, unique advantage due to proximity to the country’s industrial heartland
London Gateway PortLondon, UKAdvanced deep-sea port with a logistics park, allows large vessels to dock, easing cargo flow
Port of LondonLondon, UKHandles a balanced mix of cargo including containers, bulk commodities, and more
Port of LiverpoolLiverpool, UKServes the Western UK markets, important destination port for container, bulk, and general cargo

Major  Airports in China and the UK

AirportLocationBasic Information
Beijing Capital International AirportBeijing, ChinaIt is the main international airport serving Beijing and one of the busiest airports in the world.
Chengdu Shuangliu International AirportChengduIt is the major international airport serving Chengdu, the capital of China’s Sichuan Province.
Guangzhou Baiyun International AirportGuangzhouIt is the main airport of Guangzhou, the capital of the province of Guangdong, China.
Hangzhou Xiaoshan International AirportHangzhouIt is the principal airport serving Hangzhou, a major city in the Yangtze River Delta region and the capital of Zhejiang Province, China.
Hong Kong International AirportHong KongIt is the main airport in Hong Kong, located on the island of Chek Lap Kok.
Qingdao Liuting International AirportQingdao,It is the main airport serving the city of Qingdao in Shandong Province, China.
Shanghai Pudong International AirportShanghaiIt is one of two international airports in Shanghai and a major aviation hub of China.
Shenzhen Bao’an International AirportShenzhenIt is located near Huangtian and Fuyong villages in Bao’an District, Shenzhen, Guangdong, China.
Tianjin Binhai International AirportTianjinIt is an airport located in Dongli District, Tianjin.
Xiamen Gaoqi International AirportXiamenIt is the main airport serving the city of Xiamen in Fujian Province, China.
Xian Xianyang International AirportXi,anIt is the main airport serving Xian, the capital of China’s Shaanxi Province.
Wuhan Tianhe International AirportWuhanIt is the busiest airport of central China as it is geographically located in the centre of China’s airline route network.
Belfast AirportBelfastIt is an airport located in Northern Ireland.
Birmingham AirportBirminghamIt is an international airport located in the Metropolitan Borough of Solihull in England.
Bournemouth AirportBournemouthIt is an airport located 3.5 NM (6.5 km; 4.0 mi) north-northeast of Bournemouth, in southern England.
Bristol AirportBristolIt is an international airport located at Lulsgate Bottom in North Somerset.
Durham AirportDurhamIt is an airport located in County Durham, England.
Exeter AirportExeterIt is an airport located at Clyst Honiton in East Devon, close to the city of Exeter.
Glasgow AirportGlasgowIt is an international airport in Scotland, located in Paisley, Renfrewshire.
Guernsey AirportGuernseyIt is an airport located in the parish of Forest, Guernsey.
Inverness AirportInvernessIt is an international airport situated at Dalcross, 7 NM (13 km; 8.1 mi) northeast of the city of Inverness in Scotland.
Liverpool AirportLiverpoolIt is an international airport serving North West England.
Southampton AirportSouthamptonIt is an international airport located in Eastleigh, Hampshire, England.

The route taken can determine factors like transit times, number of handling points, and applicable rates charged by ocean carriers or terminal operators at different ports. An inefficient route may add unnecessary costs that eat into margins.

Our experts have deep route optimization expertise to help you determine the best port combinations based on your unique cargo characteristics and destinations. We can analyze historical rate data and forecasted trends to recommend the most cost-effective itinerary.

Please feel free to consult with one of our logistics advisors. They can provide shipping route guidance tailored to your volume, service requirements, and overall transport needs. Proper route selection is a valuable way to help control international freight costs and streamline logistical planning.

The Rail Freight Route from China to the UK

Main CR express Rail Routes to the UK:

  1. Changsha Railway Station to Alashankou Railway Station, then to London Railway Station. Total transportation time is approximately 25 days.
  2. Jinhua Railway Station to Alashankou Railway Station, then to London Railway Station.
  3. Wuhan Railway Station to Alashankou Railway Station, then to London Railway Station.
  4. Yiwu to London Train Route:

The main train from Yiwu, China, is called “Yixinou.” Goods are transported from Yiwu via one of four rail lines:

  • Yiwu to Germany
  • Yiwu to Spain
  • Yiwu to Poland
  • Yiwu to the Czech Republic

From these destinations, cargo is cleared through customs and transferred to the UK by rail.

Compared to traditional ocean freight from China to the UK, rail transportation saves 15 days or more between central/eastern China and northern Europe. While the Yiwu to London route requires transfers in Europe, it offers transit time advantages over seaborne transport.

Shipping Costs from China to UK

Shipping Costs from China to UK

When shipping from China to the UK, it’s crucial for you to understand the composition of overall costs and the common fees that may apply. Your total costs of shipping from china will include not just the basic freight rates but also various taxes and additional charges.

Understanding Shipping Costs

Freight Rates: The core cost of your shipment is based on freight rates, which are typically charged on a per-kilogram basis if you’re opting for air cargo, or based on the volume (cubic meter) for ocean freight LCL. Keep in mind that rates can fluctuate based on demand, seasonality, and fuel costs.

Air freight is recognized for its speed and reliability, which typically comes at a higher cost compared to sea freight. Conversely, sea freight offers a more economical solution, albeit with slower transit times.

The Cost of Shipping by Air

Air Freight Cost

Departure CityRangeDestination AirportPrice Per KG ($USD)Estimated Transit time (days)
ShanghaiRate for 100KGS-299KGSLondon (LHR)3.04-5
ShanghaiRate for 100KGS-299KGSManchester (MAN)3.54-5
ShanghaiRate for 100KGS-299KGSBirmingham (BHX)3.54-5
ShenzhenRate for 100KGS-299KGSLondon (LHR)4.04-5
ShenzhenRate for 100KGS-299KGSManchester (MAN)4.04-5
ShenzhenRate for 100KGS-299KGSBirmingham (BHX)4.54-5
Departure CityRangeDestination AirportPrice Per KG ($USD)Estimated Transit time (days)
ShanghaiRate for 300KGS-1000KGSLondon (LHR)3.04-5
ShanghaiRate for 300KGS-1000KGSManchester (MAN)3.54-5
ShanghaiRate for 300KGS-1000KGSBirmingham (BHX)3.54-5
ShenzhenRate for 300KGS-1000KGSLondon (LHR)4.04-5
ShenzhenRate for 300KGS-1000KGSManchester (MAN)4.04-5
ShenzhenRate for 300KGS-1000KGSBirmingham (BHX)4.54-5
Departure CityRangeDestination AirportPrice Per KG ($USD)Estimated Transit time (days)
ShanghaiRate for 1000KGS+London (LHR)3.04-5
ShanghaiRate for 1000KGS+Manchester (MAN)3.54-5
ShanghaiRate for 1000KGS+Birmingham (BHX)3.54-5
ShenzhenRate for 1000KGS+London (LHR)3.54-5
ShenzhenRate for 1000KGS+Manchester (MAN)3.54-5
ShenzhenRate for 1000KGS+Birmingham (BHX)4.04-5

The Cost of Shipping by Sea

When you want to ship containers from China by sea freight, the shipping prices are more affordable.

Sea Freight Cost FCL

RouteContainer 20’ (USD)Container 40’ (USD)Estimated Transit time (days)
Ningbo -> Southampton750130035
Ningbo -> Felixstowe900150035
Shanghai -> Southampton600100034
Shanghai -> Felixstowe665105035
Shenzhen -> Southampton730130034
Shenzhen -> Felixstowe840130030

Sea Freight Cost LCL

RouteUSD/CBM (1-3 CBM)USD/CBM (3-9 CBM)Estimated Transit time (days)
Ningbo -> Southampton102035
Ningbo -> Felixstowe102036
Shanghai -> Southampton102035
Shanghai -> Felixstowe102035
Shenzhen -> Southampton101621
Shenzhen -> Felixstowe101621

Please note that the rates shown are only estimates to provide an indication of pricing. Actual quotes will vary depending on the specific details of the shipment, such as the goods, weight, dimensions, delivery timeline, and other requirements. We work with each customer individually to develop customized shipping solutions tailored to your needs and budget. You can expect competitive pricing that aims to deliver great value. 

Please contact us to discuss your shipping needs – Luckystar looks forward to putting together an unexpected price for you. We will offer you the cheapest way to ship your goods, we are your most trustworthy shipping company.

Tax and Fees: How to Calculate the Tariffs

When shipping goods from China to the UK, you’re responsible for various taxes and fees that will contribute to the overall cost of your imports. This section is a breakdown to help you understand what you may need to pay.

The calculation formula for UK import tariffs is:

Import Tariff = Import Value × Duty Rate

How to Determine the Duty rate:

Commodity codes are based on the international Harmonized System (HS) for classifying goods. The commodity code is like a product ID number used for customs declarations.

There are two scenarios for determining the customs code tax rate:

Known product and customs code If the customs code is known, search on the UK Tariff Lookup site to find the tax rate. 

If the commodity code is unknown, you can search the UK Tariff database using details about the product such as its type, intended use, materials, and production process. This will help identify the code that is the closest match and provide the associated tax rates.

It is crucial to select the most accurate commodity code. Some codes carry additional anti-dumping or countervailing duties. Declaring an incorrect code could result in penalties imposed by customs. 

Luckystar Logistic is happy to assist in determining the suitable code if needed – just contact me and provide information about your product. Selecting the right code is important for compliance and budgeting tariff costs.

Value Added Tax (VAT)

VAT is applied to most goods imported into the UK. As of the latest guidelines:

  • For goods worth more than £39, VAT is charged.
  • Gifts valued under £39 are exempt.
  • VAT is calculated on the total cost, including the value of goods plus shipping and insurance.

Here’s a simplified example of what these charges might look like:

Charge TypeBasis of ChargeExample
VATValue of Goods + Shipping20% of cost
Import DutyCommodity Code2-12% of CIF
Handling FeePer ParcelFlat Rate
Clearance FeeService ProviderVaries

Keep this information in mind while budgeting for your shipment from China to ensure no surprises with your costs.

Transit Times and Schedules When Shipping from China to UK

When planning to ship products from China to the UK, understanding the nuances of transit times and schedules is crucial for a smooth process. These elements can greatly impact your shipping strategy and budget.

Factors Influencing Transit Time and Rates from China to the UK:

  • Chinese Holidays: Delays often occur during holidays such as the Chinese New Year, Golden Week, and the Dragon Boat Festival.
  • Destination Port: The chosen port in the UK can affect transit time due to different handling capacities and distances.
  • Peak Seasons: Be mindful that during peak shipping times, like before the Chinese New Year, rates can increase and schedules might be tighter.
  • Regular Updates: Stay updated with your freight forwarder’s schedule changes, which might affect your planned shipping date.
Port to Port (days)Door to Door (days)
Sea Freight FCL21-3535-40
Sea Freight LCL21-3535-40
Air freight1-56-12

Prohibited and Restricted Items Import into UK from China

Prohibited and Restricted Items Import into UK from China

When shipping from China to the UK, it’s important to be aware of the items that you’re not allowed to import. These regulations are in place to protect the country’s safety, public health, and environment.

The Prohibited and Restricted Items

ProhibitedIllicit drugsIllegal narcotics that pose health and legal risks
ProhibitedOffensive weapons (flick knives, brass knuckles)Can be used to harm others and threaten public safety
ProhibitedSelf-defense sprays (pepper sprays, CS gas)Considered offensive weapons that can harm others
ProhibitedIndecent materialsDeemed morally inappropriate
ProhibitedRough diamondsRequire Kimberley Process Certification
ProhibitedPersonal meat and dairy importsRisk of spreading animal diseases
RestrictedFirearms and ammunitionRequire import license
RestrictedExplosivesRequire import license, pose safety risks
RestrictedPrecious metals and gemsRequire import license
RestrictedCurrenciesImport limits to prevent fraud
RestrictedPlants and plant productsRequire phytosanitary certificate to prevent spread of pests and diseases
RestrictedAnimal productsRequire veterinary certificate and must meet animal health standards

If your item doesn’t fit within these guidelines, you should consult with the UK Border Agency or a shipping professional before you send your goods. Ensuring compliance with these rules will make your shipping process smoother and hassle-free.

Shipping Documentation and Incoterms

Navigating through shipping from China to the UK requires a clear understanding of the necessary documents and regulations. Your goods need to meet UK customs requirements and you should be aware of what can and cannot be shipped.

Essential Shipping Documents

When you’re shipping from China to the UK, several key documents are required to ensure that your goods are transported without any hitches.

Here’s what you need:

Bill of Lading (B/L) or Air Waybill (AWB)The contract between the owner of the goods and the carrier stating the terms of shipment. It includes details about the shipment and provides tracking information. It also acts as a consignment note and shipment receipt.
Commercial InvoiceIt details the transaction between the exporter and importer, including the type, quantity, and destination of the goods being carried.
Packing ListThis document covers how your items are packed, their dimensions, and the weight.
Certificate of OriginA document which certifies where the goods have originated from.
Import/Export DeclarationA statement made to the customs office declaring details of goods to be imported or exported. It is one of the most critical documents presented at the customs clearance desk.

Engaging with professional freight forwarders can greatly help simplify the import paperwork process. We, Luckystar Logistic, have extensive experience navigating import regulations and documentation requirements.

By handling the logistics in-house, we can submit all the required customs paperwork on your behalf. This centralized process streamlines communication with customs officials. We also stay up-to-date on changing rules and trade agreements to maintain compliance.

Customs and Import Regulations

Your shipments are subject to UK customs regulations. To avoid delays:

  1. Ensure your commercial invoice is thoroughly filled out, including the accurate address of shipment origin and destination.
  2. Always check current freight quotes as they fluctuate based on the market and season.
  3. Customs agents can facilitate the clearance process for you, ensuring all customs and import regulations are met.

Related Incoterms When Shipping from China to the UK

FOB (Free On Board)The seller delivers the goods on board the vessel nominated by the buyer at the named port of shipment or procures the goods already so delivered.
EXW (Ex Works)The seller delivers when it places the goods at the disposal of the buyer at the seller’s premises or at another named place (i.e., works, factory, warehouse, etc.).
CFR (Cost and Freight)The seller delivers the goods on board the vessel or procures the goods already so delivered. The risk of loss of or damage to the goods passes when the goods are on board the vessel. The seller must contract for and pay the costs and freight necessary to bring the goods to the named port of destination.
DDP (Delivered Duty Paid)The seller delivers the goods when the goods are placed at the disposal of the buyer, cleared for import on the arriving means of transport ready for unloading at the named place of destination. The seller bears all the costs and risks involved in bringing the goods to the place of destination and has an obligation to clear the goods not only for export but also for import, to pay any duty for both export and import and to carry out all customs formalities.
CIF (Cost, Insurance, and Freight)The seller delivers the goods on board the vessel or procures the goods already so delivered. The risk of loss of or damage to the goods passes when the goods are on board the vessel. The seller must contract for and pay the costs and freight necessary to bring the goods to the named port of destination. The seller also contracts for insurance cover against the buyer’s risk of loss of or damage to the goods during the carriage.
DDU You are responsible for paying import duties and VAT upon arrival in the UK.

Why Choose Us? Luckystar Logistic

Established in 2022, Luckystar is an esteemed member of the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) and operates as a Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC). The company’s mission is to deliver superior service quality at reduced costs, primarily serving China, the USA, Canada, and Europe. With core team members boasting over 20 years of experience in logistics, Luckystar brings considerable expertise to the table. Since its inception, the company has been dedicated to offering global door-to-door transport and logistics solutions, emphasizing dependability, adaptability, and responsiveness.

We’re not just a company; we are experts in transportation! Offering industry-leading solutions, we take pride in providing premium shipping services at a fraction of the cost of other freight forwarders, both in China and across the globe. Here’s why partnering with us is the smart move:

Accuracy You Can Count On:
Say goodbye to delivery delays and hello to timely delivery, which is vital for businesses needing to deliver goods swiftly to their customers.

Your Passport to Global Reach:
Our wide network of delivery destinations virtually covers the entire globe, offering extraordinary opportunities for businesses aiming to expand their reach. You can be assured that your package will find its way to almost any corner of the world, taking your business global!

Track with Ease:
Say goodbye to guesswork. Our stringent procedures afford you a live tracking mechanism, making it easy for you to follow your shipment’s progress at every stage of its journey. Stay informed and enjoy peace of mind, knowing exactly where your shipment is anytime you need to know.

Personalized Service, Every Step of the Way:
One of our dedicated team members will personally oversee your shipment from start to finish. This, coupled with our commitment to transparency and constant communication, ensures you are kept updated on the progress of your cargo every step of the way.

When shipping hazardous materials, it’s crucial to work with experienced service providers to ensure that your shipment is handled safely and efficiently. By partnering with us, you can have peace of mind knowing that your shipment is in good hands.

Are you looking for an experienced freight forwarder to assist you in shipping? Contact us. We’re always ready to help. Offering the unbeatable cheapest shipping rates for international shipping, our services are more affordable than you’d believe. Don’t hesitate! Get in touch with us today.