Container from China to UK

If you are interested on importing from China and considering shipping by container from China to UK, it’s essential to be aware of the increased container rates in 2022. Before discussing the current pricing situation, this article will detail the processes involved in shipping via container.

Container from China to UK: about China

Despite current transportation challenges, the routes for container from China to the UK remain some of the most popular in the world for shipping goods.

Because China has a massive freight infrastructure, there are plenty of ports, terminals, and routes; careful choices will affect travel times and company profits. Careful planning is essential, as is consideration of all the factors involved.

If you’ve not found a supplier for products in China yet, see how to find Chinese manufacturer.

Shipping Via Container from China to UK: the Process

To evaluate shipping via container from China to UK, we’ll first detail the standard container shipping process.

Order Placing

The client places an order with the manufacturer of the goods. The client then works with a freight forwarder, who sets up transportation from the manufacturing location to their location via shipping container.

Truck Loading

Most manufacturers’ facilities are reached by road. and transported via truck. The goods go to the appropriate destination or the nearest convenient port.

Ship Loading

It is usually the freight forwarder’s responsibility to find the optimal route to ship goods from A to B. The freight forwarder considers speed and economy when deciding the best method of transportation. Typically, the next part of the voyage of the container ship is loading the container onto a shipping vessel that will transport it to the destination country.


This step is straightforward. The vessel departs with the goods from the port and travels to the destination port. As the vessel journeys from point A to point B, the captain or a designated assistant conveys the necessary information to the destination country regarding the cargo and the ship.


When the vessel arrives at the destination port, it immediately docks next to the cranes that will unload the container shipment.

Offloading Containers

There are up to 100 dockworkers per ship who facilitate the unloading process. Among the workers are clerks, crane operators, and equipment operators.

Clearance at Customs

Customs officials closely examine the container documentation to ensure that all details are correct. They may decide to select random containers for inspection.

Even when you use a freight forwarder, your company will be responsible for some of the following documentation:

  • A certificate of origin
  • A letter of credit
  • A list of packed goods
  • A commercial invoice

If the documents are not organized and presented correctly, it will result in shipment delays.

Post-Clearance Pickup

After customs clearance, the container travels on a chassis or truck trailer to the designated distribution center. Train transportation is necessary if the container destination is a long distance from the port.


The final step is loading the container onto a truck and traveling to the distribution center. After opening the container, the units within the container are prepared for shipping. The client can expect to receive the goods they have ordered in a few days.

Shipping Time

Container ship to UK time is usually between 24 to 40 days. Ensure that the correct documentation is in place and your shipment should proceed smoothly. However, container shipping time from China to UK can take up to 6 weeks.

Container Shipping from China to UK: FCL and LCL

There are two options for container shipping from China to UK: Full Container Load (FCL) or Less than a Container Load (LCL). Before you decide on the shipping method that is best for your consignment, there are various factors that you should consider.

  • A 20-foot container accommodates 10 standard pallets.
  • A 40-foot container holds 22 pallets.
  • 40-foot containers are industry standard.

Are you shipping a large number of goods that will fill a 20-foot or 40-foot container? Then opt for a full container load. Alternatively, your consignment can share space with other goods when you choose LCL.

LCL, or groupage, is the economical choice for shipping goods that account for less than half the space of a fully loaded container.

Container Shipping from China to UK: LCL considerations

With LCL, because your consignment will share space with other goods, container shipping from China to UK may take longer due to packing and unpacking. Your consignment will store in China in a consolidation warehouse. When your goods arrive in the UK, they will go to a deconsolidation warehouse. Your order will then go to your address.

Shipping Container from China to UK: FCL Considerations

FCL will be suitable when you’re planning o renting an entire shipping container from China to UK. This decision will be financially advantageous if your cargo is big enough to fill a container. There’s no need for consignment consolidation, and delivery will be faster.

The container usually stays sealed during the journey until it arrives at point B unless inspection occurs at customs.

Container Ship from China to UK in 2022

At the end of 2020, freight costs from China started climbing. The increasing rates impacted container ship from China to UK prices. Freight rates are probably the most concerning aspect of goods importation from China to the UK.

Container Ship from China to UK: Cost Factors

Freight prices on popular routes have increased by over 500% since 2021, making it prohibitive for some companies to container ship from China to UK.

There is also a container shortage in China because the expectant reduction in demand due to covid measures has not transpired. Container shortages are severe because of these reductions.

container china uk

Do you have doubts regarding container shipping from China to the UK?

Shipping Container from China to UK: Cost Factors

Prices on a shipping container from China to UK depend on several factors:

  • The number of goods to be shipped
  • The nominated shipping port
  • The time of year
  • Whether goods travel port-to-port or door-to-door.

container from china to uk

Cost of container from China to UK

As you’ve seen, the cost of container from China to UK will vary greatly depending on the choices you make on container loads, times of shipping, and other factors.

Container Prices from China to UK 2022

Container prices from China to UK 2022 will also vary depending on the company you choose to transport your goods. Here are some sample prices, which should be taken only as a rule of thumb:

  • 20 ft. container: approximately £8,000 + UK duty and VAT
  • 40 ft. container: approximately £13,000 + UK duty and VAT

Here at Easy Imex, we can help you negotiate the best shipping price for your company. If you’re looking for China sourcing agent we’ll make the sourcing process easier for you.

container from china to uk

Why the High Container Prices from China to UK 2022?

Since 2021 the cost of shipping from China to the UK has risen by over 350%. The primary reason is global governmental responses to covid; the lockdowns in China have been particularly extreme.

A bizarre and unprecedented incident in the Suez Canal in March 2021 contributed to further increases in shipping rates. The Ever Given shipping vessel blocked the waterway for a week.

Productivity was reduced by nearly $400 million per day, with a backlog of ships unable to navigate a passage through the waterway, illustrating the ripple effect that supply chain disruption has on global businesses and consumers.

Lockdown-related delays have also increased port waiting times. Shenzhen’s Yantian port has seen vessel waiting times rise from half a day to sixteen days. Find out more here about shipment delays due to a lack of containers.

What can UK Businesses do to Save on Shipping?

Air freight is traditionally a lot faster and far more expensive than ocean shipping. But currently, because ocean freight is at a record-high price; air freight may be an alternative option for your company. With air freight, the advantage of faster shipping time will mean earlier delivery to your customers.

There is a notable fluctuation in shipping costs from China to the UK; holidays and shopping events are expensive times to arrange transport. So again, plenty of advance planning will save you money. The main holidays in China to be aware of are Golden Week, Christmas, and Chinese New Year. You should factor in UK peak seasons too.

If sea freight is your only option, forward planning will again save you money on shipping. There are still lower-cost shipping options available.

How to Minimize the Cost of Container from China to UK

If you seek to minimize the cost of container from China to UK, you should be aware that those cost reductions are just a small part of product procurement. Sourcing from China is a complex process. Western companies who choose to go it alone will find numerous unanticipated problems. But there is an alternative.

One way to lower the cost of container from China to UK is to use the services of an expert with

low China sourcing agent feesEasy Imex.

We will assist you with all aspects of sourcing and take the headache out of shipping from China.

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