Shipping from Thailand to the UK

If you are shipping from Thailand, then you will be looking for a freight forwarder who will be able to accept the shipment on your behalf once it arrives in the UK. Appointing a freight forwarder will also mean that you can nominate them to handle the collection of your goods in Thailand, sea or air freight to the UK, UK customs clearance and onward delivery in the UK.

Sea freight vessel loaded with shipping containers

Sea and Air Freight Shipping from Thailand

When you agree to purchase your goods for shipping from Thailand, you will agree with the supplier who covers what aspect of the shipment.  An Incoterm will be used in this case.  A freight forwarder can either arrange the whole shipment for you from the supplier’s door to your door, or just arrange the UK customs clearance and onward delivery.

Mercator has a freight forwarding partner in Thailand who can assist with the transportation of your goods from anywhere in Thailand, and arrange for it to be loaded onto a vessel in Thailand.  Transit via sea freight from Thailand to the UK takes around 30 days and there are regular sailings.  Air freight from Thailand takes less than a day (factor in time for loading, unloading and customs clearance in the UK).  There are daily departures of air freight from Thailand to the UK.

Importing from Thailand to UK

Mercator handles imports from Thailand regularly. The main commodities that we come across from Thailand are textiles and foodstuffs, including rice, curry pastes, coconut milk and spices. Freight forwarder Mercator can handle all ambient foodstuffs imports from Thailand. We can assist you with the documentation and checks required to import into the UK.

It is very important to check that all ingredients on the products you are importing are acceptable by UK port health. This will avoid delays if you know that there are no restrictions. If you do not check, the goods may be seized, destroyed and the bill forwarded. Knowing in advance that the products will be importable will avoid delays and put your mind at ease. We can advise who you will need to talk to in order to carry out these checks.

Sea freight shipping Vessel loading at port

UK Customs Clearance

Once your foodstuffs import shipment from Thailand has arrived in the UK, it may need to be approved by port health.  UK port health is quite strict, we see around 90% of import shipments from Thailand containing consumables inspected by port health.  This can add on a few extra days to the transit time.  Any exams or inspections that are carried out by port health will be payable by the importer, so when factoring in costs and planning it is worth bearing this in mind.  Port Health costs largely depend on the size and nature of the shipment.

Importing into the UK will usually require a payment to HMRC for VAT & duty on the value of the goods.  If you would like us to arrange this payment on your behalf, we can calculate the amount due in advance so you know what you will need to pay (import VAT & duty is based on the tariff code of the commodities and the value of the goods).  Once cleared through UK customs, we can arrange for the delivery of your goods to your door.

Get in touch for your free quote today

If you’re looking for a freight forwarder who can cover all aspects of your import shipping from Thailand, then get in touch with our team.  We will be happy to discuss your requirements and put together a bespoke quote based on your freight forwarding needs.  Email:, or call us on +44 2392 756 575.