Sponsored: Guide to airfreight shipping from China to the UK

By Barrington Freight

Image: Shutterstock

China is the ninth-largest trade partner with the UK, and it’s likely that any business involved in importing electronics, toys, games, or sporting goods usually will get stock from China.

When shipping, there are two primary options available – ocean and air. Ocean freight is slow but cost-effective, but many businesses require faster goods delivery.

Shipping your consignment by air from China to the UK may be costly, depending on the size of the shipment, but there are many reasons why this is still the best option for you.

These may include time-sensitive freight that needs to be delivered in days rather than weeks, or perhaps you wish to send a quantity of stock ahead of the ocean delivery.

Perhaps the delivery destination is closer to an airport than the port, or the item is high value or perishable.

Whatever your goals, it’s essential to use a reputable freight forwarder to ensure the delivery goes smoothly.

Transit Times?

Transit times for air cargo from China to the UK range from four to seven days. The freight spends just a fraction of time in the air as it takes 24-48 hours to organise the shipment to send and then time for customs clearance on arrival to the UK.

Below is a list of example transit times for airfreight:

  • Shenzhen – London Heathrow: 4 days
  • Shanghai – London Heathrow: 5 days
  • Xiamen – London Heathrow: 6 days
  • Zhengzhou – London Heathrow: 7 days
  • Guangzhou – Glasgow: 7 days
  • Shanghai – Glasgow or Birmingham: 4 days
  • Shenzhen – Birmingham: 7 days
  • Beijing – Manchester: 4 days
  • Shanghai – Manchester: 5 days
  • Shenzhen – Manchester: 7 days

Cost of Shipping from China to the UK?

Freight shipping rates vary, so it’s best to get a quote from a reputable freight forwarder who can accurately calculate and compare costs for freight quantities.

While airfreight often costs more than ocean, shipments of under 100kgs may be comparative when importing from China to the UK. Have an expert find the best option for you.

Customs Clearance

Customs clearance can be a complex aspect of freight forwarding. Therefore, it’s a good idea for your business to put customs clearance and compliance in the hands of a freight forwarder with in-house clearance agents, saving a lot of stress as they guide you on the formal requirements.

In addition, there is extensive documentation required from China and the UK, so it’s essential to check with your freight forwarder to ensure you cover all necessary requirements and not come up against delays. 

Freight forwarding from China to the UK may require a little more paperwork and assistance to get organised and cleared through customs but the shipping timeframes that can be achieved by air are unbeatable.

With assistance to get your legal obligations in order airfreight can be a simple and straightforward process that ensures your cargo arrives on time all the time.

If you would like more advice or guidance on getting started with your freight shipment, reach out to Barrington Freight


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