Shipping rates from China to UK
FCL shipping rates from China to the UK
FCL, or full container load, means your goods fill an entire container, either 20’ or 40’ long. If you are shipping at a high volume, you’ll save time and money by shipping FCL. Pricing for FCL is done as a flat rate, regardless of whether or not your container is completely full.
LCL shipping rates from China to the UK
LCL, or less than a container load, means your goods do not fill an entire container, and will be shipped along with other boxes or pallets. Note that when you ship LCL, your goods will need to be consolidated at the origin port and deconsolidated at the destination port.
LCL shipping 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.
Need more help choosing between sea freight and air freight? We’ve got you covered here.
Shipping rates from China to the UK: Air Freight
Air Freight Costs per KG
When you’re shipping air, the price per kg decreases the larger your shipment’s weight:
Express shipping rates from China to the UK
Avg price for door-to-door shipping for a load of 50 kg/0.2 cbm: $884
Shipping freight under 100 kg from China to UK is cheaper– and faster– by express. Around the 100 kg mark, air freight becomes the cheaper option:
China to UK shipping time
How long will it take to ship from China to the UK? Your shipment’s transit time will be impacted by location, shipment size, and season.
Let’s start with the necessary import documents you’ll need for your foreign goods to be allowed into the country by the UK Customs authorities (HM Revenue & Customs).
The commercial invoice is a necessary import document in most countries, including the UK.
It has the role of informing Customs about the products being imported (description, quantity, weight, monetary value, and Commodity Code), the identities of the importer and exporter, as well as payment terms and total invoice value.
Customs Value or Valuation (which determines the taxes and duties you need to pay) is determined by the purchase values listed in your commercial invoice.
2. Packing List
The packing list is also a necessary document in most international freight shipments, because it provides all involved parties with information regarding the packaging of the goods:
• Description of the goods
• Quantity, weight, and measurements of the packages
• The type of packaging used (boxes, cartons, vials, etc.)
• Shipping marks and/or seal numbers
• Commercial invoice number and importer/exporter details
3. Certificate of Origin
Some countries also require importers to have a certificate of origin, and this includes the UK.
The purpose of this document is to show Customs the manufacturing and shipping origin of the importer’s goods.
4. Bill of Lading
The bill of lading is mostly used for ocean freight shipments, and it is mandatory.
It is the document that the freight forwarder or freight carrier issues to acknowledge your shipment and cargo.
It has 3 main roles:
• It states the details shipping terms that the carrier and importer agreed upon
• It serves as a document of the title of the goods
• It acts as a receipt for the loading of the goods onto the ship
5. Import Declaration
HM Revenue & Customs requires importers to make an entry summary (safety and security) declaration before goods from China arrive in the UK, as well as a full import declaration when the goods finally arrive at the UK border.
You can find the steps to filling and submitting these declarations yourself in the links above, or you can hire a freight forwarder to handle them for you.
6. HS Code / Commodity Code
HS code is short for Harmonised Commodity Description and Coding System. In the UK, it’s more commonly called Commodity Code, but you can also find it as Tariff Code, or Harmonised Code.
The Harmonised System is a list of numbers used by Customs to classify a product and define the duties and taxes to be paid by the importer for their shipment.
It’s crucial to find the specific commodity code of your product, because you need to include it in most of the necessary import paperwork.
7. EORI Number
EORI Number stands for “Economic Operators Registration and Identification Number”.
Businesses wishing to engage in trading activities in the UK or Europe are required to have and use an EORI number as an identification number in all Customs procedures.
If you do not have an EORI number your goods will not be cleared by Customs and you might also incur fees until you acquire one.
Additional licenses, restricted goods and UK quality compliance standards
Most goods don’t require a license when importing them from China to the UK, but there are several categories of goods for which an import license is required.
Additional certification is required for any of the following types of goods:
Quality Compliance Standards On Imports From China To UK
The UK government has certain quality standards imported products need to meet in order to be cleared for commercialization inside the country.
The main quality compliance standard in the UK is the UKCA mark, which stands for ‘UK Conformity Assessed’.
The UKCA mark is the UK version of the European CE mark, and it was implemented in 2021 to replace the CE mark as part of the Brexit initiative.
(Note that CE marking will still be accepted by the UK until January 1, 2022)
The UKCA mark indicates that a product meets the health, safety, and environmental protection standards of the United Kingdom.
Not all products require a UKCA mark. UKCA is applicable to the following categories of products.
In addition to the UKCA mark, UK legislation requires that the manufacturer of a UKCA marked product issues a UK Declaration of Conformity for the product.
UK Import taxes and duties
There are no fixed charges for importing goods from China to the UK. The main two costs you will incur will be import taxes and duties.
1. Calculate the value of your goods
Calculating the value of your shipment is a necessary first step for calculating your import taxes and duties.
It is also necessary information to include in your import declaration.
2. China To UK Import Duty
Import duty is a type of tax collected on imports and some exports by a nation’s customs authorities.
Sometimes, import duty is also referred to as customs duty, import tax, import tariff, or tariff.
It is calculated as a percentage of the value of the goods you are importing.
Simply go here and insert your Commodity code into the search functionality.
You may also be able to delay or reduce the amount of duty you pay based on what the goods are and what you plan to do with them.
3. China To UK Import Tax (Value-Added-Tax)
VAT is a consumption tax placed on a product whenever value is added at each stage of the supply chain, from production to the point of sale.
Import VAT is charged on all goods (except for gifts worth £39 or less) sent from:
• outside the UK to Great Britain
• outside the UK and the EU to Northern Ireland
The standard VAT rate in the UK is 20% for most products. There are a couple of exceptions where a reduced rate applies:
VAT is calculated as a percentage of the entire import cost:
• The cost of the goods
• The cost of packaging
• The cost of shipping
• Insurance cost
• Any duty owed
You are importing goods from China.
If you pay your supplier £2000 for your goods and packaging, the UK Duty tariff for these goods is 5%, the shipping quote is £400, and insurance is £40 then:
UK Duty = 5% of £2000 = £100
VAT = 20% of (UK Duty [£100] + Shipping [£400] + Insurance [£40] + Cost of goods including packaging [£2000]) = 20% * £2540 = £508
Total Import Duty & Tax Cost = £100 + £508 = £608
Claim A VAT Refund
If you're VAT registered, you can claim back any VAT you paid on the goods you've imported. You’ll need your Import VAT Certificate (C79).
Besides tax & duty, you might also need to pay a small amount in delivery charges (‘handling fees’), depending on the shipping service you are using.
Post brexit changes
Under the EU-UK agreement, no tariffs will be introduced, which is welcome news for UK businesses that buy or sell from EU countries.
Goods entering the EU from Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) face large amounts of new paperwork and checks, including customs declarations, rules of origin checks, product safety certification and food inspection.
How will VAT rules change for UK online sellers?
If goods sold online are shipped from the UK, whether to customers in the EU or non-EU countries, they will be treated as exports from the UK and will be zero-rated for VAT purposes (you will need to retain evidence). That means UK VAT is not charged at the point of sale.
Import VAT and duty is payable on consignments with a value of more than €22. To avoid any hold-ups and ensure the sale, a UK seller can make the required declaration and payment rather than the customer.
How to decrease cost and shipping time
Book in advance. Shipping by sea is the cheapest, but also takes the longest. Booking in advance when you can saves you money– and cuts out the stress if delays arise.
Ship off-peak. When carriers get busy, both shipping prices and transit times go up. Ship during off-peak seasons whenever you can.
Get your documentation in order. Having your documentation in order can make all the difference when it comes to clearing customs quickly.
Know your HS Codes. A lot of shippers are surprised by how much customs fees can affect business costs. Do your research so you can budget effectively
Local Digital Marketing manager and content creator at Bookairfreight. I am someone who loves literature, but here to simplify interesting topics within the logistics industry that's easy to digest.