International Freight Forwarder and Customs Broker Based in China

Shipping from China to the UK | Sea & Air Freight Rates

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.

This dedicated UK country guide will give you all the main details related to your shipment from China to the UK: time, rates, processes, duties and taxes…

Table of Contents

What are the Shipping Routes from China to the UK?

Door to Door shipping 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.


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 ShanghaiQingdao, ShenzhenGuangzhouDalianTianjin, 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.


Special sea freight services

Reefer container from China to UK

Some goods are constantly in need of a controlled environment. To allow their great transport, Reefer containers are constantly maintaining a chosen temperature. Many categories of products like chemicals, food and others are sent exclusively with this method. SINO Shipping is fully proficient to book you a Reefer container from all the cities in China in destination to the UK.


Roro/Bulk/OOG from China to UK

These ships are very well shaped for the transfer through an ocean of vehicles like trucks, buses, boats or simply cars. This kind of vessel is composed of a retractable ramp on its back that enables vehicles to be driven directly inside the ship. 

If you have big quantities of raw materials to transfer, bulk cargo is a good solution. This type of vessel has great cisterns that permit it to stock great quantities of liquid or solid raw products like corn, oil, cement… without using containers.

OOG, which stands for Out of Gauge, are shipments that are more voluminous than a container, and that can’t be split to be placed in several containers. These items require a particular heed to be shifted. We can provide this type of solution too.

*All these kinds of freight solutions can be asked to us. As all goods can’t fit the constraints of a container, we developed a very complete spectrum of freight solutions. From China to the UK, we’re fully proficient in the handling of bulk, roro and oog cargo.


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 SINO Shipping 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!

What are the Shipping Costs from China to the UK

How long is shipping from China to the UK right now?

What is the cheapest way of shipping from China to the UK?

The most affordable option to ship from China to the UK, regardless of the shipping method you choose, is through a reputed China Freight Forwarder like SINO Shipping.

We at SINO Shipping are able to pass along our high-volume shipping rates in addition to providing a best rate guarantee on all modes of transportation. Start now and get a shipping estimate from China.

How to ship container and import from China to the UK

Step 1: Check trade laws in China and the UK

Each country has its own specific laws and regulations when it comes to importing and exporting.

When you’re importing from China to the UK, this means being aware, or at the very least working with a logistic partner that is aware of the regulations in both countries.

Staying informed is crucial to your business as breaking the law could be a huge legal headache, not to mention potentially causing financial difficulties for your business. 

When it comes to importing, having the right documents ready every time is of the utmost importance.


Step 2: Decide what you are importing

 For each business, being aware of the market is crucial for success.

While you may find a commodity that you like, be sure to check that there is enough demand for it and that in cases where there are other suppliers you are serving a need they aren’t providing.


Step 3: Choose a viable shipping method

Depending on your volume and regularity of shipping, choosing the right method of transportation could be crucial for your business.

While obviously air freight is going to be more expensive, it also offers advantages in speed which could mean that it is an economically viable option.


Step 4: Find a supplier

Locating and ordering from a supplier is of course a vital step.

When you start to regularly ship you may start building a relationship with your supplier, one that can have mutually-beneficial outcomes for both sides.

The perfect scenario is getting quality goods while your supplier gets regular business.

Chinese suppliers can be found via a variety of means.

For example there are very famous websites that act as a portal for Chinese businesses and you can find websites that offer business-to-business and business-to-client services. Another option may be to visit Chinese trade fairs.

While this takes a lot more planning, seeing products in person and getting to speak to their representatives can be well worth the time and money it takes to travel.

Your freight forwarding agents may also be a great source of information. Their jobs involve logistical planning of goods and cargo so its very likely they’ll have a lot of contacts already in the Chinese industry.

Feel free to get in contact with us and let us know your business and we can do our best to find you a suitable partner.

Finally, specialist Chinese sourcing companies may be an option as they provide a service based on sourcing what you need from China and save the hassle of going through long lists of suppliers. 

As a company with a long history of freight logistics, we have experience in this field, so if you are looking for help with price negotiation or transportation logistics, then let us know and we’ll help you get the best price and arrangement for your business.


Step 5: Check and estimate your tax liability.

Each country has its own tax and customs regime and if you’re importing from China to the US, you’ll need to be aware of the UK’s.

UK’s  customs  rates vary from 0 to 37.5 percent, with a typical duty rate about 5.63 percent.

Make sure you know ahead of time what the fees will be as this will affect your business plan.


Step 6: Define your incoterms

International Trade- know your incoterms

Incoterms refers to the internationally recognised rules governing global trade. 

These rules refer to the various responsibilities along supply chains.

 Such rules could be who is responsible for monitoring shipments or making payments at certain stages in the process. 

Make sure you’re familiar with them.


Step 7: Customs clearance from China to the UK

Customs clearance can be frustrating, but it’s a necessary part of doing business internationally.

Make sure you are aware of all the stages, including declaration, obtaining permits, warehousing (if needed), and exiting the goods.


Step 8: Hiring a freight forwarder

Transporting goods is a complex procedure which is why businesses of all sizes choose to use freight forwarders to help them get their goods from A to B.

 Experienced freight forwarders such as ourselves know exactly what it takes to ship goods from one country to another and we can handle your goods from door-to-door, port-to-port, or anything in-between.

 Hiring a freight forwarder to handle the bureaucracy and logistics of international trade can be a very economical decision. Get in contact with us today, and we’ll arrange a quote for you.

Do I have to pay customs duties for a package sent from China to the UK?

Depending on the type of product you are importing, you may be required to pay import tax on your purchases. There is no explicit trade agreement between the UK and China. Trade therefore takes place under non-preferential WTO (World Trade Organization) conditions.


Let’s go over the actions you must do to get ready to import from China:

  • Verify that importing your products from China to the UK is not prohibited or requires an import permit.
  • Check to see if the company shipping the items from China is authorized to export them.
  • The EORI (Economic Operator Registration Identification) number must be provided. Visit this page to apply for one: All enterprises in the UK are required to have one of these numbers in order to import products from China. It is used for record-keeping.
  • Identify the appropriate commodity code for your products to see whether import tax is required.


Navigating the waters of customs documentation as well as arranging for your goods to be transported in the most cost and time-efficient way can be a daunting task for importers.

That’s why it makes financial sense to utilize the services of a freight forwarder, who will not only take care of the details but also bring their wealth of knowledge and contacts to negotiate the best deals for your transportation needs.

If you’re transporting goods from China to the UK, then choosing the right freight forwarder can make a huge difference to the success of your business.

You’ll save not only money but time as well, which can be just as important to businesses.

We make it our business to be familiar with the ins and outs and the fine print of importing laws and regulations.

Of course, each country has different regulations and expected standards when it comes to importing.

By using a freight forwarding service, you save yourself the hassle of having to learn all the different contexts and required documentation.

 That’s our job, and we’ll be able to make sure your goods’ journey is as smooth as possible while you can devote your time to better serving your bottom line elsewhere.

Customs clearance in the UK

Remark SINO : Even if we are living in a digital era, paperwork and shipping documents are still mandatory in the world of international shipping. Let’s have a closer look at the shipping documents you need to be in possession of when entering the UK territory.


Necessary documents

Bill of Lading

This is the most important shipping document, as it is used to specify the shipping company, the seller, the buyer, the type of cargo, the volume, the incoterm which applies to the shipment, etc.

1 = Shipper

2 = Consignee

3 = Notify party

4 = Vessel No.

5 = Port of loading / discharge

6 = Place of receipt / delivery

7 = Containers No.

8 = Goods description

9 = Net weight

10 = Dimensions / volume


According to the terms of payment agreed between the supplier and the buyer, the bill of lading can serve as a document:

  1. Confirm the release of a letter of credit (L / C)
  2. Or, serves as proof of shipping, which requires the buyer to transfer payment of the balance.

*The second option is common when paying by telegraphic transfer (T / T).


Commercial Invoice

This invoice is used to proceed to customs clearance and calculations of customs duties and other fees like GST.


Packing list

Certificate of Origin / Form A

A document mentioning the origin of the goods. This document can also help to determine customs duties (as some countries benefit from exemptions or preferential duties), but also for statistics and enforcement of embargoes.

Import Licenses

In most cases, there is no need to provide any Import license when importing into the United States.

However, here are some exceptions:

  • Medicines
  • Specific types of chemicals
  • Animals and plants
  • Foodstuff products

SINO Advice : You have a borderline product ? You are not sure if you need an import license or not ? Feel free to contact our SINO Expert to have further information about your shipment and any related requirements.


What duties and taxes will I pay for my goods ?

Remark : That’s a priority to think of when you’re working in International Trade.

United Kingdom is aligned with the Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) for imported and exported goods coming from China. Here are some useful tools to calculate the tariff barriers of your products between the two countries.

Here is the composition of an HS Code, you can now see what an HS code is and what does it mean :



SINO Info : You already know the HS Code of your products? You can find the tariff barrier that applies on the official web site. If you want to know what duties and taxes will be charged to your shipment, check the following link: Harmonized Tariff Schedule.

*Importer might have to pay customs duties when importing into the UK, based on the value of the goods.

In the blank box (just below “HTS search”), just type the HS code of your product to get further information about customs regulation. If we continue based on the example of the pineapple, you should see this kind of board:

HTS in UK – Harmonized Tariff Schedule



SINO Info : You still have a doubt on how to use this tool ? Feel free to contact our SINO Experts or check the official guide on this link: Harmonized Tariff Schedule System – External User Guide.

When entering the US territory, the goods are not officially considered as entered as long as they haven’t been permitted by CBP (Customs & Border Protection), and duties haven’t been paid. The products have to be declared within 15 days prior to arrival within the country of before leaving the bonded warehouse. As an importer, you’ll have to declare the transaction value of your products, as well as the country of origin (and other documents: please see below). CBP will then be able to calculate duties.

Some products are subject to tax exemptions. Even though your product is not subject to customs duties, you still have to declare it as mentioned above. Let’s have a closer look at the specific rules that apply for some types of products.



There is three VAT tariff applicable in the UK, the standard rate VAT, the reduced rate VAT and the zero rate VAT. The standard VAT rate was increased at 20% in 2011, and it’s still the actual rate. The reduced VAT rate is at a value of 5%. Some gods imported are exempted of VAT.

Info SINO : The VAT that is applying on the goods you want to import is detailed on the final commodity code page, still in


Different taxes existing for your goods

As UK is currently negotiating the Brexit with the EU, the actual UK government is trying to find agreements with its biggest economic partners. China and UK’s respective trade minister met several times in order to consider eventual trade agreements, this said, specialists are saying that it won’t be a boost for UK’s trades as they cannot be more advantageous than the relation with other European countries when UK was still in the EU. As UK and China still don’t have any economic agreements and didn’t opened up official advances to implement a Trade Agreement, the actual situation may continue a few years. This means that you will hardly have the opportunity to be tax exempted. It will only happen on particular goods and for particular purposes.  China is not in the country list of preference agreements of UK also.

If you want to go deeper in the Chinese-British trade relations, consult the following articles:



Why choose us ?

SINO Shipping is all about trust, efficiency and transparency. Our main mission is to provide tailored-made logistic solutions for every single shipment, ensuring full satisfaction of our customers.

SINO Plus : Reach out to us right now for any request. You will receive the most accurate and promptest answer within 24 hours!


Customs contact in China

Official name: General Administration of Customs of China

Official Website: Chinese Customs Website

china customs import


Customs contact in UK

Official name: HM Customs and Exercise

Official Website: UK Customs Website

british customs


Trade relationship

As Xi Jinping says we’re in the “Golden Era” of the Sino-British relations. Historically the two countries have been opposed numerous times, like for Hong Kong and British previous colonial ambitions, and in World War 2.

UK is the 9th export partner of China with a value of 56 billion of USD of goods traded. It is the 7th import partner of China, with 16 billion USD of UK products sent to China. In the other way, China is the second import partner of UK after Germany, and its 7th export partner. These are the latest statistics of the World Bank for the year 2017.

SINO Shipping’s Freight Storage and Warehousing services

We offer a warehousing service for all your logistic needs.

When transporting goods, you might want to temporarily store them in a warehouse, especially if you are sourcing your cargo from many different outlets.

Warehousing means you can collect and consolidate your goods, which can save you money in the long run, especially if it means you can collect enough to make a full container economically viable.

Our facilities provide all the standard services when it comes to warehouse logistics, such as loading, unloading, crating, palletizing, and temporary storage.

Does Alibaba Ship to the UK?

Alibaba offers shipping to the UK. Yes. In actuality, a large number of Alibaba suppliers have prior experience shipping to the UK. You have the option of shipping freight by air or by sea.

But using a specialist China freight forwarder such as SINO Shipping will allow you not to be ripped off with hidden costs and also pay less for your freight with better rates. Logistics is not the job of your suppliers. Never forget that.

What goods are imported into the UK?

Some of the top goods are:

  • Electrical machinery,
  • Machinery
  • Vehicles
  • Computers
  • Mineral fuels
  • Plastics, plastic articles
  • Optical, technical, medical apparatus
  • Iron, steel
  • Articles of iron or steel
  • Organic chemicals
  • Aluminium

What items cannot be sent to the UK?

Every country has its own list of items that are prohibited. The UK is no exception and we list below some of the key items that are prohibited.

It’s important to know this as being aware of the law when it comes to importing is vital to making your business a success. If in any doubt at all, then make sure you contact your freight forwarder who will be able to properly assess whether the goods you want to import are feasible and legal.

Failure to do so could result in a nasty surprise when it comes to customs and as the importer you’ll be responsible. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to importing, so get in contact with us.

Restricted and prohibited goods for importing into the UK.

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SINO Shipping – Freight Forwarder China to the UK

Who we are

SINO Shipping by FS International has become one of the most trusted names in global logistics and transportation in its region and the world.


When we start

SINO Shipping by FS International was established in Hong Kong in September 1989.


What we do

SINO Shipping provides a full range of logistics and transportation services with particular emphasis on efficiency and reliability at a competitive rate and, of course, the assurance of personal service. Our tactical services include import/export freight-forwarding, ocean and air transportation, overland transportation, custom brokerage and regulatory compliance, project cargo services, warehousing and distribution, supply chain management and information management.


Where we are

Headquartered in Hong Kong , the company has branch offices in major cities in the Far East. Together with our agents in over 50 countries worldwide, we are able to extend our logistics, know-how and experience in serving our clients.


How we do it

Through recognition of consolidated strengths to benefit our global client SINO Shipping by FS International founded together with its long years business partners an international network namely EUROPE ASIA ALLIANCE (EAA) back in 2007. Over the years EAA has grown to a medium sized freight forwarding network with remarkable success due to its binding rule “exclusivity” which is the key to make ourselves distinctive from the other networks.


Why we do it

SINO Shipping’s business philosophy focuses on the principles of honesty, integrity and complete dedication to our clients. Our operations and management staff adhere to these principles with much enthusiasm and professionalism. In addition to providing superb customer services to our clients, we commit ourselves to know what matters most to our clients, by listening, by learning, by comprehending and by delivering tailored solutions. Cross-functional teams of professionals from every unit in our organization work with every one of our clients closely, continuously seeking opportunities for process improvement and savings. Ready to deliver attention to every detail, on every shipment, every time is our promise.

Our intense customer focus is well complimented by a strong, mature global network of agents that enable us to meet our clients’ most complicated shipping challenges, delivering even greater bottom-line value to their supply chain.

At SINO Shipping, we’ve been helping customers grow for years by never losing sight of two basic values: We care. And we keep our promises.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does shipping take from China to the UK?

Depending on the origin and destination, the load, and whether or not the products are being carried port-to-port or door-to-door, sea freight from China to the UK can take anywhere between 25 and 60 days. For freight times between some of the busiest routes, refer to the table below.

What is the cheapest way to ship from China to the UK?

The least expensive method for goods weighing between 150 kg and 500 kg is standard air freight. Shipments that are disproportionately light for their size may be billed based on dimensional weight rather than actual weight. The fastest option for the money is definitely air freight. The cost of express air freight is slightly higher.

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

A 20-foot container can often cost between US$550 and US$900 to ship from China to the UK. You are responsible for covering the entire cost of FCL shipping on your own. Shipping a 40-foot container from China to the UK may cost between $1,000 and $1,500.

Is there an import tax from China to the UK?

Most items brought into the UK from China will be charged the full rate of customs duty. The customs duty, also known as import duty, customs tariff, import tax, and import tariff, is a charge that China’s customs authorities collect on some shipments.

What shipping method from China is the cheapest?

Standard air freight, which costs about $3 per kilogram, is the least expensive choice for goods weighing between 150 and 500 kilograms. Shipments that are disproportionately light for their size may be billed based on dimensional weight rather than actual weight. By far the fastest is air freight. The cost of express air freight is slightly higher.

How much does it cost to ship a 20ft container to the UK?

The price of transporting a container abroad can vary greatly and is influenced by a variety of factors. A 20-foot container should cost, roughly speaking, between £1,000 (GBP) and £5,000 (GBP) to ship from one nation to another.