Sea Freight Shipping to China

China is an undisputed global powerhouse. With vast swathes of industry using it as a base to design, create and then export, the need to ship goods to all corners of the globe has never been bigger.

That is why expert freight forwarders like PBS International are on hand to help match the demand and keep both exporters and importers happy.

Since our creation over 20 years ago, our team have helped facilitate the shipping of all types of freight via sea from China to the UK and from the UK to China as well as anywhere else in the world.

As a trusted name in the freight shipping industry, we have built up incredible relationships with ports all across the vast landscape that China fills. This means that your items, no matter what they are can depart from China and enter the UK safely, quickly and fully compliant with the entry requirements of the UK.

With the potential to help with relocation thanks to our personal effects shipping, we can help anyone transport goods from China to the UK or vice versa with ease, and start the settlement of their new life in a new country with one less worry.

We don’t stop there though. We know that arriving in a new country can be daunting and confusing, so thanks to our road freight services, your cargo can move from port to port and then door to door, allowing you the chance to continue settling into your new home.

Of course, we don’t just handle the sea freight shipping from or to China for personal goods. Our bespoke services enable the import of goods from China for your business too. Whether it be electronics, sporting goods, vehicles, or furniture, we can make sure the items arrive just as you want them, when you want them.

And when the items may require a little extra care or fall outside the remit of the more traditional carriers, our specialist freight services enable the movement of them with the highest level of care. Hazardous chemicals, medical equipment or even ammunition can all safely be shipped via sea from China to the UK. So, whether its Shanghai to Felixstowe, Shenzhen to Southampton, or Teesport to Tianjin, the experts at PBS International can make your import and export procedures to and from China easy to follow, simple to complete and most importantly, timely so that you can keep promises to customers no matter where they are.

Sea freight from China to UK

The ports in China ship billions of dollars’ worth of goods into the UK each year, whether that be through globally established businesses sourcing stock or pioneering drop shippers spotting an opportunity to capitalize on a trend or bargain.

With the rising demand, it’s important you source the best way to have your items come into the UK from China via boat. With PBS International, that is one thing you are guaranteed. Our finessed skills in the organisation of the import and export of goods mean that a hassle-free and fully transparent process make it plain sailing from the moment you get in touch with us.

We operate differently from other freight forwarders. Where some may refuse certain items or only accept full container loads, we make sure that no matter what you want to import from China to the UK, it can be done efficiently, fully compliantly and in a manner that means there is no additional pressure on you, allowing you to continue running your business or focus on the rest of your relocation plans.

With a vast network of contacts across carriers and ports both in China and the UK, you can rest assured that the premium service you need for your cargo is found with PBS International.

Sea freight shipping UK to China

Whilst China may be an area of interest to importers from the UK, there is a growing need for items to be sent from the UK to China itself. Again, this is somewhere that PBS excel. Just like the enhanced relationships we have built up in China, we have done the same in the UK meaning that whether it be for business or personal goods shipping, you can remain fully confident that your items arrive as and when you need them to.

Our transparent way of working means that shipping anything to China, subject to the entry requirements of the country is easily made possible, simply speak to our team and see how easy it is to have things reach Beijing, Xiamen, Shanghai, Wuhan or anywhere else in the vast Far-Eastern country.

With a bespoke sea shipping quote built around your exact needs, shipping items to China has never been more cost-effective or as beneficial as the sea freight shipping to China offered by PBS International.

Why use sea freight from China?

Sea freight shipping from China provides importers with a cost-effective and more environmentally friendly way to have items sent from China to the UK.

Furthermore, whilst items shipped by air move much faster to get to their chosen destination, the variety of items accepted by airlines is much more restricted. Whilst specialist freight services make it possible for slightly more unusual items to be safely sent via air, some simply do not fit or cannot be carried via an aircraft. With sea freight shipping you have no such issue. This means that any items can be packed safely onto a ship and transported from China to the UK subject to the customs clearance rules of the UK and whether the products are banned from entering the country.

The cost-benefit of shipping freight by sea is not just seen in the naturally lower cost it accrues when compared to flight but also the fact that when choosing PBS International, your smaller consignments can still be dispatched. Many carriers will only take full container loads but we understand that this is not always possible, instead, we ensure that smaller loads can be put together to complete a crate ensuring your cargo can be shipped when you need it to be.

How long will sea freight shipping from China to UK take?

China has a vast array of ports and where the items depart from can make a significant difference to the timescale you can expect. Items can take anything from just under 40 days to get from Zhuhai to Felixstowe but could take closer to 60 days when being shipped from Tianjin. This may seem like a significant amount of time but when you factor in the cost differences, you stand to benefit more from sea shipping from China.  Of course, if you have time-sensitive shipments,  China air freight shipping may be your best option.

To find the best solution for you, simply contact our team, we can give you up-to-date information around shipping times.

Shipping ports in China

There are a variety of ports you can ship goods from and to in China finding out where your items are going to or coming from can go some way to getting a better idea of how long your cargo will take to ship by sea. The common ports used for the import and export of goods are:

  • Shanghai
  • Xiamen
  • Ningbo
  • Shenzen
  • Qingdao
  • Beijing
  • Fuzhou
  • Guangzhou
  • Foshan

The time it takes for the items will depend on the journey and whether your consignments are LCL or FCL, more of which we cover in the section below.

Costs of sea freight shipping from China to UK

As with anything, the cost becomes a factor and when it comes to import and export it is very significant.  At PBS International we believe in total honesty and openness so will make sure that every bit of information we give you regarding shipping costs is as accurate as possible. This doesn’t just apply to goods coming from China to the UK but to items moving from the UK to China and anywhere else in the world. Shipping freight by sea is perhaps the most cost-effective method available and should always be considered where there is no time sensitivity on the delivery of items.

To give you an idea of how the costs can be formulated, we have listed below some of the factors that can determine the cost of your sea freight shipping:

  • The type of goods you wish to ship
  • The amount of freight you are shipping
  • Where you are shipping from and to
  • The availability of freight capacity

Of course, other factors may come into play and to add to the decisions you may need to make, you should look at whether your consignment should ship as LCL or FCL.

An LCL is a “less than container load.”  These are used when smaller amounts need to be shipped but they will not fill an entire shipping container. Several shippers will have their items loaded into one container and see the cost split amongst them all as payment is calculated based on the space their goods take up. This saves on renting an entire container for a relatively small load.

An FCL is simply a “full container load” where you are charged one flat rate to fill the container. This can work out as the most beneficial way to ship as you can wait for the container to fill before it is shipped.

If you are unsure of how best to import your goods from China or send any from the UK to China, let our team guide you, we can advise on the most cost-effective methods for the consignment you have.

Worth noting, and especially if you are under time constraints, is that LCL shipping is a little slower than FCL as the shipment has to be stripped down to enable each different consignment to be disembarked and sent on to the next part of its journey.

Customs clearance for sea freight shipping from China

When goods move between countries it is always wise to make sure that you have the most up-to-date customs information. This way you will not fall foul of any surprise taxes or charges.

Our team at PBS International are fully knowledgeable of all customs issues and export licenses and will be able to pass on a wealth of information so that you get it right the first time. And if you are still unsure, we can help you complete the paperwork that comes with it!

Commonly – and these could change at any time should regulations or laws alter – you will need the following documents to allow a movement of goods from China to the UK and vice versa. In some cases, further documentation may be needed and that will depend on the items you shipping. In some instances, additional certificates or permits may be asked of so check with our team to see if you may need anything else.

Make sure these documents are used for any imports coming from China and items you are exporting to China.

  • Packing list
  • Commercial invoice
  • Certificate of origin
  • Bill of lading
  • Letter of credit
  • Import licence

What items cannot be exported to China?

If you are sending items to China rather than from China you will need to know what items have restrictions placed upon them. The items listed below require special certification to be allowed into the country:

  • Pre-packed foods
  • Medical devices and medicines
  • Animal products
  • Plant products
  • Cosmetics
  • Toys
  • Wine
  • Paint
  • Shipments with wooden packaging
  • Cinema film and audio or video publications
  • Books or magazines with ISBN
  • Used electrical and mechanical products
  • Some electronic goods
  • Items for agricultural use

These items are heavily regulated so always check with PBS International for the latest information regarding how, and whether you can ship them by sea to China.

Items you cannot import from China to the UK

Just as with the restrictions that China places upon items entering the country, the UK has a similar list too. You will not be able to bring any of the following from China into the UK:

  • Controlled drugs such as cocaine, MDMA and heroin
  • Offensive weapons such as push knives, belt buckle knives, blowpipes, knives disguised as other items and stun guns
  • Certain martial arts equipment
  • Indecent and obscene material
  • Animals not compliant with the Pet Travel Scheme
  • Endangered animals unless you hold a CITES permit
  • Certain radio transmitters
  • Rough diamonds

This list is not exhaustive and other items may constitute the term offensive weapon, controlled drugs or indecent material. Speak to our team for the complete list of items prohibited from entering the UK from China. Some weapons may be eligible for shipping through specialist weapon and firearm shipping, our team will be able to advise.

Why choose PBS International for Sea Freight Shipping to China

Whether you are shipping freight to or from China, choosing PBS International will give you full peace of mind that your cargo arrives when and where it should. With full assistance with customs paperwork including EORI numbers, total transparency with costs and full communication throughout the full process of having your items shipped to or from China, PBS International are the freight forwarders you need for a complete service.

Speak to our team today to find out more or request a free personalised shipping quote right now and see how much money and time you can save using PBS International.


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