Nanhai port in Foshan, China, is strategically located in the centre of the Pearl River Delta, adjacent to Guangzhou, Panyu and Shunde with well-established expressways connecting the port to Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Nansha. If you are a first-time importer, you may have done a bit of research on importing from China to get a rough idea on importing from Nanhai to the UK. We have created this guide to give you detailed, hard-to-find advice on shipping LCL and FCL, and how to ship through peak seasons.
If your cargo gets to about 15-20 m³ (cubic meters), FCL sea freight is the best option and will be cheaper than LCL. You will pay a flat rate for a full container, even if your goods don’t fill the container.
One of the advantages of shipping FCL is that once your goods are loaded into a container at the port or factory, the container won’t be opened during transit. When shipping LCL from Nanhai to the UK, you have a wider range of UK ports to choose from. Your goods can arrive at Greenock, Liverpool, Grangemouth, Immingham or Tees.
Once you receive a booking confirmation for FCL sea freight from Nanhai to Liverpool, for example, your goods will be packed into a container at the supplier’s factory and sent directly to Nanhai port. When they arrive in the UK, you can choose to have the whole FCL container delivered to a warehouse or delivered directly to your depot to unload.
When importing Less than container Load (LCL) shipments, you will be sharing a container with other importers. LCL sea freight is charged on a volume basis, so the more space your goods occupy, the higher your cost will be.
When you get a booking confirmation for LCL sea freight from Nanhai to the UK, your goods will be collected/received from your supplier’s factory then go to a warehouse near Nanhai port. Your items will be packed into a shipping container along with other shipments and loaded onto a container ship.
For LCL shipments, your goods can only arrive at Greenock, Liverpool, Grangemouth, Immingham or Tees. It takes around 30 days to ship from Nanhai to either of these UK ports, but your freight forwarder will be able to give you an accurate quote.
Upon arrival to the UK, the container will be unloaded from the ship and wait for customs inspection and approval. Once approved, the container will move to your freight forwarder’s warehouse to be unloaded, after which your shipment will be palletised ready for collection or delivery.
Peak seasons like the Chinese new year and the Dragon Boat festival are a hectic time to import from Nanhai to the UK, as factories close for days, and prices spike. Transit times spike as well and it’s best to avoid shipping your goods over such festivals. However, if you need your items urgently and you have to import through peak season, here are a few tips on getting through the worst of it.
If you are shipping a large amount of cargo, it’s a good idea to break it up and ship what you can, when you can. You can do this by:
It’s also a good idea to avoid transshipments. These shipments stop in another country along the way, e.g. Singapore or Korea, before heading to the UK. Transshipments may be cheaper but they run the risk of being rolled twice, the first time from Nanhai port and a second time from the transit port.