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International Removals to China

We recommend that you make contact with a shipping agent as soon as you know you’re going to be on the move and heading for a new adventure in China. They’ll oversee everything related to your home removals, and they’ll also be able to recommend the best transport options for your household goods.

Get packing

A door-to-door removals and delivery service often includes packing and unpacking carried out by dedicated staff - an option certainly worth considering if you’re moving to China as a family or if you’re otherwise tight on time. Professional packers will package your belongings safely and logically, making unpacking a seamless process when you arrive in China. If you provide a plan of your new house or apartment you can also make sure that boxes are packed and stored in a way that makes unloading and unpacking as simple as possible.

Sea or air cargo to China?

Depending on how close your new home in China is to a container port, the choices for moving your household goods abroad are air cargo or and sea freight. The former is quicker yet more expensive, so often sea cargo often makes the best sense to long-distance movers as this method of transport tends to charge by container load, regardless of weight. Air freight is of course quicker and therefore much more reliable than sea freight overall, which can be subject to delays.


Overall freight costs can be reduced by collecting your consignment at the port of destination in China – this will save paying for a freight company to complete the last leg of the journey, and will also avoid any potential warehousing charges that may have been applied otherwise. The option to collect in person depends on how close your new home is to the sea port or airport your belongings are destined for.

Customs clearance

Your shipping agent will provide you with plenty of sound advice on import and export restrictions before the time comes to start packing for your move to China, and your full cargo or air freight quote should always include the cost of clearing customs. Unforeseen charges aren’t unusual though, and you’ll be invoiced with final delivery for any unforeseen fees. The list of items and groups of products you can’t bring into China is large, but the list below covers some of the more unusual items:

- Coins, banknotes and travellers’ cheques

- Films and photographs

- Recording equipment, CDs, tapes and video tapes

- Electronic storage devices

Money and time

Below you’ll find a general guide we’ve put together on timescales and costs of freight to China, from a range of typical locations across the world. Be aware that these prices should be used as a guide only, and Shanghai is used as the sample port of destination for both sea and air freight times and costs. Figures will naturally vary depending on exact points of origin and destination. All sea freight costs are based on a full forty foot container load (FCL) valued at a typical £6,000. Air freight costs are based on a 250kg load, or three very large suitcases.

Removals to China times and costs comparison


Sea Freight Cost (FCL)

Sea Freight Time

Air Freight Cost (up to 250kg)

Air Freight Time



30 days

17000 CNY (£1700)

< 1 week



6 days

17000 CNY (£1700)

< 1 week



10 days

17000 CNY (£1700)

< 1 week



11 days

17000 CNY (£1700)

< 1 week



30 days

17000 CNY (£1700)

< 1 week