Shipping to and from the United Kingdom

Do you want to know more about prices for shipments to the United Kingdom? Are you aware of specific shipping documents you might need to get your freight moving? Here you’ll find all the answers related to your questions around shipments to the United Kingdom.

  • Logistics
  • Pricing & payment
  • Local solutions

Relevant shipping information

Transit times depend on the vessel rotation, and whether containers need to be connected to other vessels on their journey and how many calling ports there are on the route.

For example, you can ship a container from China to the United Kingdom from 28 days, from a main port like Shanghai. Outlying ports, however, like Xingdao, normally need to move on a feeder vessel first to a Chinese main port – and then be loaded on to an international (Mother) vessel bound for the United Kingdom.

There are also instances where the (Mother) vessel is destined for a European Main-Port like Rotterdam or Antwerp and not the UK. The container is removed from the (Mother) vessel and loaded onto a feeder vessel for the last leg of the journey to the United Kingdom.

Insurance is not necessarily required to ship to the UK but you should review whether this is something you should consider based on the Incoterms® you have agreed with your supplier.

Dependant on the Incoterms® chosen, the risk associated with your purchase moves at a specific point in the shipping process. For example, if you chose to work with DDP (Delivered Duty Paid) terms then the Seller bears all Risk until the Buyer receives the goods, while if you chose FOB (Free On Board) terms the Risk moves to the Buyer at the point it loads on the vessel at Origin.

You should always ensure you read the fine print to ensure insurance coverage meets your needs, with policies varying on commodities, routes and value. Only specific policies cover delays, while most do not. Other policies cover you only for General Average Contribution, which are the costs associated with loss or damage to a ship or its cargo, with costs shared between the owners of the ship and owners of the cargo on board.

If you’re shipping your cargo across the sea, you want to know that you won’t lose money if your cargo is damaged or lost. This is why Twill offers Value Protect, giving you peace of mind that your cargo is protected during the transportation with us.

The customs clearance process can differ from country-to-country and from port-to-port. At Twill we realise the need to get your goods through customs and understand the challenges it may cause. That’s why we can handle Customs House Brokerage (CHB) for you.

With the UK’s decision to leave the EU, also known as Brexit, businesses must prepare their logistics to guarantee goods’ smooth transport over the boarders to and from the UK. From the beginning of 2021, you will have to navigate the transition from free trade across Europe to a Brexit compliant trade.

Ports & Offices in the United Kingdom

Pricing and payment

Shipping containers to and from the United Kingdom varies dependant on which country you want to ship with and also the size of container you need to move. Costs can also fluctuate dependant on the time of year, for example there are several spikes when shipping from China; before Chinese New Year holiday and in the weeks leading up to Golden Week holiday in October and some weeks after, as capacity tightens and rates increase.

 

Freight costs do move, for some routes daily, but you normally find the associated landside costs in the UK tend to be more stable. Terminal Handling, Port Charges and Documentation should also be considered as part of your overall shipping costs, dependant on the buying terms (Incoterms®) you agree with your buyer/supplier. There are also costs involved with the processing of customs procedures for both shipping to and from the UK. 

On average the cheapest time to ship from China to UK is a few weeks after the peak of Chinese New Year, as you near April & May which are generally the low-cost months. Following Golden Week in October, rates remain higher, with orders required to arrive before Christmas being booked up until early November. You generally will see a softening of rates in December, unless Chinese New Year falls particularly early in the following calendar year.

 

Local solutions

When shipping containers into the UK you are required to provide documentation to HMRC Customs for their review & approval to clear your goods into the country.

As well as your shipping documentation (Bill of Lading), common paperwork required is a Commercial Invoice which details the goods you are buying, full details of the seller, and the associated value of the goods. The Packing List is also needed and gives a fuller breakdown of the items inside your container, product, numbers of items and the packed dimensions and weights. You would also be expected to provide the Customs Tariff Numbers (HS Code) associated with those products.

In some instances, documents such as a Certificate of Origin and GSP Certificates (Generalised System of Preferences) will also be used. The GSP Certificate for some commodities can mean you get a concession against the standard UK import tariff, so a reduction in costs. The Certificate of Origin proves the source and therefore your eligibility for the duty reduction.

Take a look at our glossary of terms and our blog on customs for more info.

 

Each Incoterm® option plays a factor in your overall cost of the goods & who is responsible for what part of the shipping journey costs.

For example, if you chose to work with DDP (Delivered Duty Paid) terms then Seller would be responsible for the full costs of shipping and costs would normally be added within the invoice for the goods the Buyer is purchasing.

If parties agree FOB (Free On Board) terms the Buyer can control when and who they ship with, taking on the the associated costs of shipping from the origin port. The Seller would take on the costs & responsibility of having the container trucked to port and laden on board the vessel chosen by the Buyer.

Find out more about Incoterms® on our dedicated web page.

Discover our services

Value Protect

Even in the safest hands, accidents happen. If you’re shipping your cargo across the sea, you want to know that you won’t lose money if your cargo is damaged or lost. This is why Twill offers Value Protect, giving you peace of mind that your cargo is protected during transportation with us.

Monthly Fixed Rates

At Twill, we understand how important it is for you to have control over your freight shipping process. With our monthly fixed rates, we’re the first to give you quick and easy visibility of costs and the flexibility to plan your ocean freight in advance!

Inland Transportation

Your cargo’s journey never begins or ends at the port. When you’re shipping cargo, you want to get it transported from origin to destination. That’s why Twill offers Inland Transportation, enabling end-to-end shipping solutions to ensure your supply chain runs smoothly and without complications.

Customs House Brokerage

The customs clearance process can differ from country-to-country and from port-to-port. At Twill we realise the need to get your goods through customs and understand the challenges it may cause. That’s why we can handle Customs House Brokerage for you.

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