Shekou container port is part of the larger Shenzhen port complex in South China. Because Shekou port is a well-equipped, comprehensive and multi-functional port open to the outside world, many international traders in the Nanshan district choose to deliver goods to the port. If your supplier is in Nanshan, there is a high chance that he will give you a quote for Shekou port. We have prepared a guide to give you some information about importing from Shekou to the UK. Specifically:

  • Getting an EORI number and other import requirements
  • How to handle the Bill of Lading
  • How different trading terms affect shipping

Choosing between FCL and LCL

Get an EORI number and a VAT number

With the Brexit transition period completed as of January 2021, EU EORI numbers are no longer valid. To import from Shekou to the UK, you will need to acquire a GB EORI number. You may also be importing goods to sell in Northern Ireland. In that case, you will also need an XI EORI number to submit an import declaration in Northern Ireland.

Also, consider getting VAT registered as you can claim a refund on any import VAT paid for your goods.

Finally, you need to check the commodity codes for your items to see whether they require an import license. Textiles, one of the main goods imported from China to the UK, require an import license.

Should you ask for the telex or original Bill of Lading?

The Bill of Lading is an important document used throughout the import process. The first role the BOL plays is a receipt, handed to the seller(by your freight forwarder) as proof that the seller handed over the goods in good condition. The second role the BOL plays is a shipment contract indicating (on the reverse side) the terms and conditions of the forwarder.

The master BOL number is also useful in shipment tracking, and the BOL usually includes other tracking identifiers like container numbers. If you pay your seller via Letter of Credit, you will need to include the bill of lading. The same case applies when filing claims for lost or damaged cargo.

Usually, suppliers will ask you if you prefer the original bill of lading or the telex option. Asking for the telex bills of lading is the best option because it reduces the risk of losing the original BOL as it travels via post. However, if you pay via a letter of credit, the supplier might insist on sending the original bill of lading. If you have the original document, you will need to present it to customs upon the arrival of your goods to have them cleared.

How Will Your Incoterms Affect Shipping?

When shopping on Alibaba or buying from Chinese suppliers, you have probably come across the two most common freight terms; FoB and EXW. These three letters on the commercial invoice define who will handle which step of the shipping process, along with the associated risks and costs. Even though you will mostly encounter FoB, EXW and CIF, the terms range from EXW, where you as the buyer handles everything and DDT, where the seller handles everything. Understanding the three most common terms will help you negotiate the import process.

FoB Shekou

When your seller gives you an invoice written FoB Shekou, it means that he will ship the goods from his warehouse to the Shekou port and handle all local transportation costs. With FoB, the supplier also handles the cost of getting the goods cleared through Chinese export customs at Shekou port. Your responsibility begins once the goods begin their journey to Felixstowe, Southampton or any other UK port. You will handle the cost of maritime shipping, along with the task of getting your goods through UK import customs and inland transportation to your final destination.

EXW Shekou

In contrast, ‘EXW Shekou’ means that you (or your freight forwarder) will pick up your items from your supplier’s warehouse, handle the transport cost to Shekou port and clear the goods through export customs. Even though buying FoB can be more expensive than EXW, the latter is more costly in the long run. Like in most countries, inland shipping in China is expensive, and your supplier will be able to ship the goods to Shekou port cheaper than you or your freight forwarder. Though EXW is more expensive, it comes with the assurance that a single company handles your goods throughout the entire process.

CIF/CFR Shekou

CIF and CFR terms are nearly identical, but CIF includes freight and cost while CFR covers freight only. Under CFR/CIF terms, your supplier will transport the goods to the port, get them through customs and ship the items to the UK. Once they arrive, it’s your responsibility to get the cargo through UK import customs and handle transport to your warehouse/depot. Under CIF, your supplier will handle both the freight and insurance costs of getting your goods from Shekou to the UK.

Choosing Between FCL and LCL

Many importers bringing goods from China prefer to use sea freight due to its affordability. If your cargo falls on the heavier side, importing your cargo as a full container load is the most convenient option. For smaller items that don’t fill a container, go for less than container load shipment. The traditional maritime route between China and Europe runs through the South China Sea, the Malacca Strait, the Indian Ocean and the Suez Canal. This route takes 30-48 days.

FCL shipments take a shorter period (30 days) than LCL (at least 35 days) since LCL shipments must be consolidated before leaving Shekou port. For LCL shipments, your cargo is packed into a container at the supplier’s warehouse. Once the doors close, they don’t open, except for port inspections, until the container arrives at your destination. The minimal handling involved with FCL shipments guarantees more security.

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Here at Barrington Freight, we are committed to providing a professional and dependable service every time. When your cargo arrives from Shekou to our warehouse in the UK, you can rely on our 24-hour freight service to get your goods to you in time. We have the experience to complete fast and efficient next day delivery freight shipments to any location in the UK. Get a quote from us today!

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