Shipping Costs from China to UK: Rates & Factors

For any people considering imports from China to the UK, one of the pivotal considerations is the shipping cost. Comprehending these shipping costs from China to UK is a prime step in optimizing your supply chain and potentially reducing your overall expenditure.

This blog post will break down the average shipping prices from China to the UK. As a result, you can anticipate and manage your expenses more effectively, benefiting your international shipping operations.

What are the sea freight costs from China to the UK?

Typically, there is LCL and FCL delivery for your sea shipping from China to the UK.

LCL shipping rates from China to the UK

Departure PortDestination PortUSD/CBMEstimated Transit time
ShenzhenSouthampton1030 days
ShenzhenBirmingham1229 days
ShenzhenLondon1031 days
ShenzhenFelixstowe1530 days
ShenzhenEdinburgh1024 days

20ft/40ft container shipping cost from China to UK

Departure PortDestination PortContainer 20’ (USD)Container 40’ (USD)Estimated Transit time
NingboSouthampton750135038 days
NingboFelixstowe900150038 days
ShanghaiSouthampton720125034 days
ShanghaiFelixstowe711127535 days
ShenzhenSouthampton730130030 days
ShenzhenFelixstowe840130030 days

Please note that these rates are for reference only and may change due to market trends. For the latest pricing, contact our shipping experts.

Calculation example for sea shipping cost:

You should know that the traditional sea freight cost from China to the UK is calculated according to the actual weight and cargo volume in cubic meters(CBM).

First, weigh your cargo with any packaging materials or pallets on a reliable industrial scale. After getting an accurate actual weight, also called gross weight, convert it from KG to CBM.

Then, compare it to the shipment volume and select the larger of the two to compute your shipping cost.

For instance, let’s say you have a batch of cargo that has an actual weight of 100kg, a volume of 2.1 CBM, and a shipping rate of $10 per CBM.

As 1 CBM = 1,000 kg in ocean freight, the actual weight would be 100kg/1000 = 0.1 CBM ( less than 2.1 CBM). In this scenario, your shipping cost from China to the UK would be 2.1 CBM x $10 = $21.

If your cargo total weighs 2000kg and has a volume of 1.1 CBM:

The actual weight would be 2000kg/1000 = 2 CBM (greater than 1.1 CBM). Therefore, your sea freight rate from China to the UK would be 2 CBM x $10 = $20.

However, these shipping costs do not include other associated charges based on your goods requirements and Incoterms.

To alleviate this complexity, Airsupply can provide instant free quotes for customized logistics solutions based on your needs. Furthermore, we offer the most competitive prices because we book the container directly with the ship owner.

How much does air freight from China to UK cost?

Air freight rates are typically more expensive than sea shipping, but they offer faster delivery. Below are the current shipping costs from China to UK per kg by air:

POLPOD100-299KG300-1000KG1000KG+Estimated Transit time
ShanghaiLondon (LHR)$3.1/kg$3.1/kg$3.5/kg4-5 days
ShanghaiManchester (MAN)$3.5/kg$3.5/kg$3.5/kg4-5 days
ShenzhenLondon (LHR)$4.2/kg$4.2/kg$3.6/kg4-5 days
ShenzhenManchester (MAN)$4.3/kg$4.3/kg$3.8/kg4-5 days

These rates are for reference only. For the latest pricing, contact our freight experts.

Calculation example for air freight cost:

Generally, you should choose the chargeable weight between gross and volumetric weight, using the higher of the two for air freight cost calculations.

The volumetric weight formula of air shipping is (Length x Width x Height)/6000.

Let’s assume you have a shipment of electronic products from China to the UK with the following details:

Actual weight of cargo: 110 kg

Total volume: 729,000 cm³

Rate per Kilogram: $7.00

Now, you can determine the volumetric weight using the formula:

Dimensional weight = 729,000/6,000= 121.5 kg (larger than the actual weight of 90 kg)

So, your air shipping cost= 121.5 kg x $7.00 = $850.50

You can provide us with your cargo details, including sizes, timeliness, and destination. Our agents will calculate the cost for you with accuracy and promptness.

What is the cost of express shipping from China to the UK?

International Express also uses the larger one between actual and volumetric weight to charge the fee. However, the calculation formula is slightly different.

The volumetric weight = Total shipping volume (cm3) / 5000 or total shipping volume (CBM) * 200.

volumetric weight caculation

Furthermore, express shipping typically employs the smallest charge unit, which is 0.5kg. That is to say, if your goods weigh 0.1 kilograms, you still will be charged for 0.5 kilograms. Express companies also differentiate between the First and Additional weights, each with its respective pricing.

For instance, let’s suppose the following package specifications:

Actual weight: 11kg

Volumetric weight: 13.5kg

Price of the first weight: $19 per 0.5kg

Additional weight price: $4 per 0.5kg

In this case, as the volumetric weight of 13.5kg exceeds the actual weight of 11kg, the total shipping cost from China to the UK is $19+ (13/0.5)*$4= $104.

You should know that the specific formula may differ from each express carrier. To get the latest and precise quote, you can consult Airsupply‘s official logistics team. We will provide up-to-date information tailored to your shipping needs.

What are the customs charges from China to UK?

Customs charges when shipping goods from China to UK may involve various duties and taxes. Here are the main details:

Import duties:

Generally speaking, the import duties are calculated as a percentage of the customs value of the goods (including the cost of the goods, shipping, and insurance. The specific duty rate depends on the Harmonized System (HS) code classification of the goods.

As an illustration, let’s consider different duty rates for various products. Electronics might be subject to a 3.5% duty rate, whereas clothing could face a 12% duty rate.

If your clothing shipment has a customs value of $1,000, the duty cost is $1,000 x 12% = $120.

Value-added tax (VAT):

You will need to pay VAT if the goods are:

  • With a total value exceeding £135
  • Shipped from outside the UK to Great Britain
  • Gifts sent to you by someone else valued over £39

Most imported goods are subject to VAT in the UK, which currently is at 20%. VAT is calculated based on the total customs value, including duties.

For example, if your goods have a customs value of $1000, the import duty is $120.

Hence, the VAT cost would be ($2,000+$120) x 20%= $424.

To get completed customs charges for your goods, consult a customs broker or ASL freight forwarder. We can ensure accurate customs documentation and proper HS code to ensure compliance and minimize customs charges.

How do surcharges impact shipping from China to UK prices?

Surcharges can significantly affect shipping from China to the UK prices. You should know which one may apply to your cargo shipment, as they can increase the overall shipping costs from China to the UK.

Here are some common surcharges you can check:

Fuel surcharges: Fuel prices can fluctuate, prompting many carriers to adjust their rates to account for changes in fuel costs.

Container surcharges: In cases of container shortages, carriers may impose surcharges to offset the increased demand and limited supply of containers.

Remote area surcharges: If the destination in the UK is a remote or less accessible area, carriers may apply surcharges to cover the additional transportation fees.

Security surcharges: Carriers may introduce security surcharges in response to security concerns or heightened security measures.

Correction surcharges: Errors or incomplete documentation can require corrections, resulting in documentation surcharges.

To minimize the impact of surcharges on shipping prices from China to the UK, you can work with a reputable freight forwarder. Airsupply, with over ten years of experience, stays informed about carrier policies and industry trends. Additionally, they can provide better cost forecasting and optimize your shipping costs.

What is the cheapest shipping from China to UK?

The cost of air freight from China to the UK is more economical for smaller shipments, typically weighing under 100kg.

In contrast, for larger quantities of goods like bulk cargo, sea freight always offers lower shipping costs from China to the UK.

Alternatively, one of the cheapest shipping from China to the UK, regardless of the chosen shipping method, is through a reliable China freight forwarder.

We at Airsupply have the capability to offer high-volume shipping rates and provide a best-rate guarantee for most transportation modes.

What are the tips to reduce shipping costs from China to UK?

Select the right transporting method

Choose the most suitable shipping method based on your cargo size, weight, and urgency. Meanwhile, plan and consolidate your shipments if needed, such as combining multiple shipments to benefit from economies of scale.

Optimize packaging

Efficient packaging can reduce the dimensional weight of your shipment, potentially lowering costs. Use appropriately sized boxes and minimize excess packaging material. Be aware of additional fees for specialized packaging or handling requirements and look for cost-effective alternatives.

Negotiate shipping rates

Negotiate shipping rates with carriers, especially if you have a consistent shipping volume. Consider long-term contracts for better rates.

Familiarize required documentation

Various destinations have distinct documentation requirements, each with its associated charges. Hence, for newbies to international shipping, it’s vital to grasp these costs before expanding operations into unfamiliar regions.

Hire a freight forwarder

A dependable freight forwarder can handle paperwork, offer smooth customs clearance, and advise for cost-saving shipping. In addition, they can provide you with transparent cost details, ensuring there are no hidden charges.

What is the cost of hiring freight forwarders to UK?

Freight forwarders typically charge fees for their services, which may include:

Basic handling fee: This fee covers the standard services provided by the freight forwarder, such as booking cargo space and arranging transportation. It can range from $50 to $200 or more.

Customs clearance: If your shipments require customs clearance, they may charge a fee for handling customs documents and clearance procedures. It typically starts at around $100 and can increase significantly for complex shipments.

Storage and warehousing: If your goods request storage at a warehouse or facility, the freight forwarder may charge storage fees based on the duration and volume of storage required. These fees may range from a few dollars per day to hundreds of dollars per month.

Additional services: You may need to pay additional fees if you need cargo insurance, repackage, relabeling, or special handling services.

Airsupply supports a transparent pricing structure, ensuring you receive a comprehensive quote without hidden costs. Moreover, our visibility logistics management and real-time tracking services allow you to keep informed about the cargo status.

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