Shipping goods from Europe to China can be done in a variety of methods. Depending on the size and weight of your goods – from parcels to heavy loads, options are available to suit your requirements. However, if you need to ship goods from Europe to China, there are a few things you need to make sure you think about beforehand.

Invoices and paperwork – Before shipping to China, you must state your goods and include invoice(s) relevant. As your goods may have to pass through customs clearance, it is important you have the right legal documents required when importing to China, such details about your shipment, country of manufacture, each item’s value, and the reason for export. If your goods are worth less than 500 Yuan, you don’t have to pay duties and tax. Anything over 1,000 Yuan will have to pass through formal customs clearance.Please note, all items require a tariff code prior to shipping to China.

HS code – Harmonised System Codes are internationally recognised coding system for the classification of products when transporting and trading goods between countries. The HS code is a 6-digit number that match product descriptions (which is divided into 99 chapters, grouped into 21 sections). HS codes were introduced in 1988 and has been adopted by most countries worldwide.

HS Codes:

Once you have completed the above, you can decide how you would like your load to be transported to China. The shipment method of your load may depend on the load size and weight – you could choose from the range of courier, break bulk and pallets (see below).


If the package you want to send is relatively small, courier may be the best option for you. It is the cheapest and quickest way for smaller loads, plus allows you to track the parcel. Shipping a courier load from Europe to China takes about 6-8 days.

Break bulk

If your load is too large for courier services, break bulk via sea freight is the best alternative. The load has to pass through customs clearance, but will nonetheless be delivered directly to the delivery address. Generally, the more you ship, the cheaper the load is (per KG), however there is usually a large start-up fee related to sea freight. Make sure you keep in mind that this is a longer process, and can take around 40-45 days.


If the goods you want to ship are large enough, you can ship them via pallets. Pallets are generally easier to handle, as loading the goods onto the ship can be done with pallet jacks. Pallet jacks enable a large amount of pallets to be handled quickly, and is often a cheaper alternative to break bulk.


What is a freight forwarder?


Freight is a load (e.g. merchandise, goods or a large load such as a vehicle) ready for transportation. A freight load may be organised in pallets, containers or roro (roll on roll off for loads such as vehicles). A freight forwarder is a is a person or company that organises the shipments of these freight loads for either individuals or corporations. The goods are usually transported from a manufacturer or producer to a market, customer or final point of distribution.


The forwarder does not move the goods, but acts as an expert in supply chain management, and will organise multimodal forms of freight e.g. road, rail, air or ocean. It is not unusual for freight forwarders to deal with international shipments.