Shipping from China to the UK: A Complete Guide

In 2020, requests to ship goods from China to the UK were within the top 5 searches on the SeaRates marketplace; proof that, despite recent market fluctuations, these routes remain some of the most popular in the world. 

However, China is a mass market with monumental freight infrastructure. There are a vast number of routes, ports, and terminals to choose from, and the choices you make will impact travel times and bottom lines. So before you plan your shipment from China to the UK, here are a few things you need to know. 


FIND THE BEST FREIGHT QUOTES


Shipping time from China to the UK

So how long does it take to ship from China to the UK? 

Of course, the length of time all depends on how you choose to transport it; in other words, whether you decide on ocean freight or air freight. 

Whichever you choose, you will also need to consider the different origin and destination port combinations for China. Here’s a handy guide to help you figure out cargo transport times along the major routes to the UK. 


Top air freight routes from China to the UK:



Airport of Origin
Destination Airport 
Number of Days
Shanghai
Manchester
5
Shanghai
Birmingham 
4
Beijing 
Manchester
4
Shenzhen
London Heathrow
4


Top ocean freight routes from China to the UK: 


Port of Origin
Destination Port 
Number of Days
Shekou
Felixstowe
37
Qingdao
Felixstowe 
40
Tianjin
Southampton
38


The best times to ship from China to the UK with SeaRates.com


Shipping costs from China to the UK fluctuate depending on the time of year. Rates are especially high during major shopping events and holidays like Chinese New Year, Golden Week, and Christmas. If you’re looking for low-cost quotes, you’ll need to factor in both countries’ peak seasons. The SeaRates Online Freight Shipping Marketplace is an essential tool if you want to calculate prices and get the best available shipping rates from China to the UK.


Rates for shipping from China to the UK 

Once you know what you’re shipping and when you want to ship it, you’ll need to search for air freight and sea freight quotes. The best and easiest way to do that is with the SeaRates Request A Quote tool, which can provide you with the most cost-effective freight rates to get your cargo from China to the UK. 


20ST and 40ST rates from China to the UK

Here’s your guide to shipping rates for the major routes between China and the UK. You can contact one of our account managers or visit SeaRates.com for the latest rates. 


*Actual rates up to 31 December 2020. 


CURRENCY
20ST* 
DESTINATION/DIRECTION 
USD
1208
Dalian-Felixstowe
USD
1050
Dalian-Southampton
USD
1208
Ningbo-Felixstowe
USD
1050
Ningbo-Southampton
USD
1208
Qingdao-Felixstowe
USD
1050
Qingdao-Southampton
USD
1208
Shanghai-Felixstowe
USD
1050
Shanghai-Southampton
USD
1208
Xiamen-Felixstowe
USD
1050
Xiamen-Southampton
USD
1208
Xingang-Felixstowe
USD
1050
Xingang-Southampton
USD
1208
Yantian-Felixstowe
USD
1050
Yantian-Southampton
USD
2310Dalian-Felixstowe
USD
2310
Dalian-Southampton
USD
2310
Ningbo-Felixstowe
USD
2310
Ningbo-Southampton
USD
2310
Qingdao-Felixstowe
USD
2310
Qingdao-Southampton
USD
2310
Shanghai-Felixstowe
USD
2310
Shanghai-Southampton
USD
2310
Xiamen-Felixstowe
USD
2310
Xiamen-Southampton
USD
2310
Xingang-Felixstowe
USD
2310
Xingang-Southampton
USD
2310
Yantian-Felixstowe


*Actual rates up to 31 December 2020. 


CURRENCY
40ST* 
DESTINATION/DIRECTION 
USD
2153
Dalian-Felixstowe
USD
1838
Dalian-Southampton
USD
2153
Ningbo-Felixstowe
USD
1838
Ningbo-Southampton
USD
2153
Qingdao-Felixstowe
USD
1838
Qingdao-Southampton
USD
2153
Shanghai-Felixstowe
USD
1838
Shanghai-Southampton
USD
2153
Xiamen-Felixstowe
USD
1838
Xiamen-Southampton
USD
2153
Xingang-Felixstowe
USD
1838
Xingang-Southampton
USD
2153
Yantian-Felixstowe
USD
1838
Yantian-Southampton
USD
5145Dalian-Felixstowe
USD
5145
Dalian-Southampton
USD
5145
Ningbo-Felixstowe
USD
5145
Ningbo-Southampton
USD
5145
Qingdao-Felixstowe
USD
5145
Qingdao-Southampton
USD
5145
Shanghai-Felixstowe
USD
5145
Shanghai-Southampton
USD
5145
Xiamen-Felixstowe
USD
5145
Xiamen-Southampton
USD
5145
Xingang-Felixstowe
USD
5145
Xingang-Southampton
USD
5145
Yantian-Felixstowe


Container packing for shipping from China to the UK from SeaRates.com


When it comes to loading your cargo, we’ve made it easy with the Load Calculator tool. Whether you’re shipping in FCL or LCL containers, Load Calculator simulates your cargo packing to optimise space within the container. All you need to do is provide details of your shipment, including package type, dimensions, and parameters, and the Load Calculator will do the rest.  


Essential documents to ship from China to the UK

Don’t get lost in paperwork! To ensure an uninterrupted journey for your shipment, make sure all of your essential documents are in order. SeaRates’ account managers are always available to help you through the documentation process, but these are the most important documents to be aware of: 

  • Commercial Invoice: A legal document between the buyer and the seller. It serves as proof of sale and should be submitted for customs clearance. 
  • Packing List: Contains details about the cargo dimensions, total volume, and contact information of the buyer and seller. 
  • Country of Origin Certificate: Confirms where a particular product was manufactured. The Certificate also includes other details relevant to the item(s), including the name of the destination port. It can be submitted as a paper document or digitally.
  • Bill of Lading (BOL): Serves as a receipt for the shipment. It also outlines the terms of agreement under which the cargo is transported. The BOL must be signed by the shipper, carrier, and recipient.  


Container insurance to ship from China to the UK with SeaRates.com 

Insurance offers critical protection to any and all ocean freight shipments, and it’s a relatively small price to pay for peace of mind. Most policies will protect you against loss, damage, fraud, and a number of other factors beyond your control.

You can rely on SeaRates to help you find the best quotes for insurance policies. Our team is available to get you the best deal for you and your cargo. 


Top 5 Ports to Ship from China

Over 2,000 ports operate across China, but these five are the biggest and best in the country:

1. Port of Shanghai: Not only one of the busiest ports in China but also in the world. It is situated in the city of Shanghai and experiences a high volume of container traffic. 

2. Port of Shenzhen: 39 shipping companies operate out of the Port of Shenzhen, which connects to 131 international freight routes. The port is also seen as a gateway to the Pearl River Delta and to Hong Kong. 

3. Port of Guangzhou: Considered to be one of the largest seaports in the world, with direct access to nearly 300 ports in more than 80 countries. 

4. Port of Ningbo-Zhoushan: Seen as China’s third-busiest port, it is the first port in the world to register one billion tonnes of cargo in a single year. 

5. Port of Qingdao: One of the top-ten busiest ports in the world. In addition to container vessels, the port also handles iron ore vessels and oil tankers. 


Top 5 Ports for Importing in the UK

As an island nation, the UK prides itself on its port infrastructure. Here are the five ports you need to know about:  

1. Port of Felixstowe: Handles nearly half of the nation’s containerised trade. In addition, the port offers roll-on/roll-off services, access to railway lines, and transport planning. 

2. Port of Immingham: Processes around 46 million tonnes of cargo annually, making it the country’s largest seaport by tonnage. 

3. Port of London: The second largest port in the country. It handles a variety of cargo, including machinery, hazardous cargo, and bulk containers. 

4. Port of Liverpool: One of the most diverse ports in the UK. The port has doubled its capacity in recent years thanks to a new deep water container terminal. 

5. DP World London Gateway: State-of-the-art deep-sea port and rail terminal offering opportunities for port-centric solutions. 


Ship from China to Amazon FBA in the UK with SeaRates.com 

As a final note, there are a few things to keep in mind when you’re shipping from China to one of Amazon FBA’s warehouses in the UK. Once you’ve selected your freight forwarder,  you still must ensure that your shipment is in compliance with Amazon FBA’s regulations. Read our guide to Amazon FBA at SeaRates.com.

That’s it! Now that you know the basics of shipping from China to the UK, visit SeaRates.com to find the best rates and quickest routes for your next shipment. 

Good luck!

Lilia Khovrak is a professional content manager from Odessa, Ukraine. Loves life by the sea. Dreams to see Paris and eat a croissant on the thresholds of Notre Dame de Paris. Hates to read meaningless articles.