Sea Freight Vessel

Shipping between Sri Lanka and the UK

Mercator arranges both import and export shipments between Sri Lanka and the UK.  We have a freight forwarder partner based in Colombo thanks to our founding membership of the global network MPL.  Our agent in Sri Lanka are able to assist with shipments in Sri Lanka, including pickups, export customs, and deliveries and import customs clearance.  So if you are shipping goods to or from Sri Lanka, Mercator can be your single point of contact, arranging everything for you.

Importing Goods from Sri Lanka

Our freight forwarding from Sri Lanka to the UK can be a complete door to door shipping service.  The level of service you require us to complete on your behalf will entirely depend on the INCOTERM that you have agreed with your supplier in Sri Lanka.  For example, if you have agreed a FOB (free on board) term, then your supplier will be responsible to complete the export customs and arrange for the shipment to be taken to the port and loaded onto the vessel.  In this instance, we will then be able to take over and arrange the ocean freight aspect of your import shipment, and complete UK customs clearance and delivery to your door.  If you have agreed an EXW (ex works) term, then we will arrange the whole process of the import shipment from your supplier’s door in Sri Lanka through to your door in the UK, including UK customs clearance, all documentation and Sri Lankan export customs.

We handle all types of commodities from Sri Lanka, including and not limited to: ambient foodstuffs, textiles and tea.  Our freight services from Sri Lanka include sea freight and air freight.  All sea freight departs from the port at Colombo (the Sri Lankan capital), which calls at various UK ports including Felixstowe and Thamesport.  Sea freight transit time from Sri Lanka is around 25 days.  We can handle both LCL (less than container) loads, pallets and FCL (full container) loads for import from Sri Lanka into the UK.

Air freight from Sri Lanka generally departs from Colombo and arrives into London Heathrow.  Air freight is much quicker than sea freight, however there is a premium price to pay.  If your cargo from Sri Lanka is particularly urgent, light or small, air freight might be your preferred option (air freight prices are calculated on weight and size).  Air freight takes a matter of hours, but you will need to factor in time either side for loading, unloading and customs clearance.

Once your shipment has arrived into the UK, we will be able to complete the UK customs clearance for you and arrange payment to HMRC for any import VAT & duty.  Import VAT & duty is calculated on the value of the goods according to the commercial invoice, and rates depend on the ‘tariff code’ which your supplier in Sri Lanka will be able to advise.

Exports to Sri Lanka from the UK

There is a market for exporting to Sri Lanka.  Over the years we have handled various export commodities such as machinery, construction equipment and trucks.  Mercator can handle both sea and air freight consignments from the UK to Sri Lanka.

Sea freight from the UK to Sri Lanka takes around 25 days (plus time either side for loading, unloading and clearance in Sri Lanka).  Mercator can handle any size of shipment from single pallets to multiple container loads.

Air freight to Sri Lanka departs from London Heathrow daily and arrives into Colombo.  Air freight is a preferred option if you are short on time, however it is more expensive than sea freight.

Once your shipment to Sri Lanka has been through UK export customs and arrived in Sri Lanka (either by sea or air freight), our partner freight agent in Sri Lanka will arrange clearance and delivery.

If you would like to discuss your shipment to or from Sri Lanka and to obtain a quote, please get in contact via telephone: +44 2392 756 575, or email


Request a Quote for Shipping to or from Sri Lanka

    Please note we are unable to handle personal shipments.