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WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT FREIGHTS AVAILABLE WHEN SHIPPING CONTAINERS FROM CHINA TO THE UK

At times people get confused about the different freight options available when importing from China to the UK. Below I have outlined some useful information about the various types of delivery options that can be organized from China to the UK, and some reasons why one might be more efficient than another. I hope this information will give readers a better understanding and enable them to make the correct choice of freight that best suits the products they want to shipping containers from China to the UK.

Essentially there are two routes, Sea Freight and Air Freight. You can do a combination called Sea-Air, but this is less commonly used. The Air route breaks down into two sub groups, Air Freight and Express Shipment

Air Freight is typically where a freight company can either buy available space on a passenger flight and ship goods in the hold of the plane or some cases charter a cargo plane to make regular air shipments. There are direct flights to/from China, so cargo will typically ship through Amsterdam, Paris or London. If the goods are urgent and being shipped on a passenger flight, there is no risk that the freight might be 'bumped' (not make the trip) as passengers’ luggage will get priority and delivery will only be loaded after luggage is loaded.

Express Shipments are usually those by UPS express, DHL express, TNT express, etc. These are most suitable for small packages as they are the most expensive method of moving products. They are also normally the fastest. Typical transit time from China to the UK is three business days. Some express carriers over an 'expedited service' which is a little slower but is less costly.

Sea Freight also breaks down into two sub groups; Full Container Loads (FCL) and Less than Container Loads (LCL)

Full Container Loads (FCL): From China, three different container sizes are available for shipments. The smallest size is a 20ft container. This container can carry 28 cubic meters of product (approximately 28 pallet loads). The next standard size is a 40ft container. This container will take 58 cubic meters of produce, (approximately 58 pallet loads) and the last of the three sizes is the 40ft Hi Cube container which is the same length and width as the 40ft standard contained but is taller, and has a capacity of about 66 cubic meters. It's worth noting that if you are shipping pallets, it may not be any benefit to opt for a taller container.

ess than Container Load (LCL) As the name suggests, this is where your produce is shipped in a 'shared' container. This is a more expensive method than FCL, but cheaper than Air Freight for bulk more affordable products. The most important consideration when having produce shipped by LCL is to ensure that the Container will arrive intact in the UK, and not be opened and broken out in some transit port. The less handling a shipment undergoes throughout its journey, the less likely it will be damaged. Typical Transit times for Sea Freight from China are about four weeks.

I hope that this will clarify for people what their choices are and give a better understanding of the available freight options that can be used to get goods from China to the UK.

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