What is The Current Cost of Shipping From China To UK in 2023?
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What is The Current Cost of Shipping From China To UK in 2023?

Planning to buy something from China? Want to know the current cost of shipping from China to the UK? Even though the question is simple enough, the answer varies.

To understand the variables included in the cost of shipping from China to the UK, you need to understand that the rates keep changing every week. This means that the price also changes every week. Also, it depends on the carrier you choose. For example – the LCL cost of shipping from China to the UK varies from £5 to £20 per CBM, depending on the weight and size of your package.

Ocean freights are more expensive as they ship in larger quantities. You pay from £4000 to £8000 per container. Again, air freight is faster and cheaper costing around £3-£5 per kilogram.

So, before you look into the cost of shipping from China to the UK, you need to look at the options available for shipping.

Methods of Shipping From China To The UK:

There are several ways to ship packages from China to the UK and all of the methods come at different price ranges. Let’s look at some of the options:

1. Sea Freight

Sea freight is one of the most popular shipping methods from China to the UK. it is also one of the cheapest options. But, if you are opting for this version, keep enough time on your hands. Sea freights from China to the UK take a long time.

2. Air Shipping

One of the fastest solutions and most expensive options for shipping from China to the UK. You can expect your package to be delivered within 7-10 days but it will be pricey.

3. Rail Freight

Generally, this option is only available for inter-city packages. But rail freight is now available between China and UK. Although this does take some time (not as much as sea freight) but cost wise it is cheaper than air shipping.

4. Truck Shipping

Shipping via trucks is a natural option especially when it can be sent over land. But most people are under the misconception that it is a costly venture – it is not as expensive as sea freight.

Timeline For Shipping From China To The UK

Now that we know all about the different shipping options available to us, let us take a look at the periods required by each option.

1. Sea Freight

We know that sea freights are the slowest but largest option to transport packages. While it may be slow, it is the easiest option, especially when transporting large packages. Generally, it may take 30-45 days for packages to arrive via sea.

2. Air Freight

Air freights are the fastest shipping method available especially for China to UK packages. It usually takes 3-5 days from airport to airport, but door-to-door takes about 1-2 weeks.

3. Rail Freight

The second largest rail route connects China to the United Kingdom and is around 12,000 km long. Sending packages via this route generally takes 18-20 days for door-to-door delivery.

4. Truck Shipping

Truck shipping from China to the United Kingdom is considered to be one of the fastest options. For door-to-door it takes 15-18 days for your package to arrive.

Now that we know the timeline for shipping, another important factor in considering the cost of shipping from China to the UK is import duties.

Factors That Affect Shipping Costs From China To The UK

Multiple factors affect the shipping costs from China to the UK. These include:

  • Distance Between Ports – This signifies the distance between the ports where the containers are loaded and delivered
  • Types of Goods Transported – the shipping cost from China to the UK depends on the weight of the goods – heavy or light, and the quality of goods – expensive, average cost, sports, etc.
  • Cargo Dimensions – the weight and the volume of the package also affect the shipping cost.

Import Duties From China To The UK

One of the major questions in your mind will be ‘Do I need to pay any duties?’

The answer is Yes!

Let’s say your goods are worth £1000. Now if the UK Duty rate is 3.5% and the shipping quote provided is £50, then:

UK Duty = 3.5% of £1000 = £35

VAT = 20% (UK Duty + Shipping + Cost of Goods)

= 20% (£35 + £50 + £1000)

= 20% of £1085

= £217

So the total import duties to be paid are £252 with an additional £50 for the cost of shipping from China to the UK.

Do Goods Shipped From China Need To Carry a UKCA Mark?

Goods packed in the below-mentioned categories must have the UKCA mark after delivery from 1st January 2021.

  • Toys.
  • Recreational craft and watercraft items.
  • Simple pressure vessels.
  • Non-automatic weighing instruments.
  • ATEX.
  • Lifts.
  • Measuring instruments.
  • Radio equipment.
  • Gas appliances.
  • Personal protection equipment.
  • Aerosols.
  • Restriction of hazardous substances.
  • Machinery.
  • Ecodesign.

As a supplier in China, they may not be aware of the labelling requirements applicable for UK product imports. So, you must provide them with the graphic files to print out the label for each product ordered.


When planning to purchase any products from China, it is best to find out all the costs involved and the time required to get the products. There are certain days or events due to which the product delivery may be a little delayed, especially due to COVID-19. So, check the timeline thoroughly and give yourself enough time to get the product.

Also, keep in mind that the cost of shipping from China to the UK keeps changing weekly based on international rates. So, keep a watch on them to know just how much it will cost you.

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