Shipping from China to Ireland: A Comprehensive Guide

  • When shipping from China, it’s important to know what to expect in customs and what documents to have prepared to avoid complications in your destination country.
  • DFH Global Logistics has years of experience handling shipments from China to Ireland.
  • We team up with top carriers to give you peace of mind from your supplier factory straight to your customer’s door.
  • We make sure you get the best price while keeping your shipment safe and secure.
  • We pick up goods from your suppliers’ factories free of charge, making us a comprehensive freight forwarder.
  • DFH Global Logistics can pick up goods from all your different suppliers and ship them out together to save you money on shipping costs.
  • From airfreight to sea freight, we give you the options you need to get your shipments done right.
  • DFH Global Logistics is a one-stop shop. We can help you with the entire process, from start to finish.

Large enough to handle any job, but small enough to care. Our goal is to tailor shipping solutions for all kinds of clients.

Contact us for a freight quote so we can get you in business today!

Imports to Ireland from China are a multi-billion dollar industry. In this guide, we’ll go over everything you need to know to ship goods from China to Ireland.

Importing from China to Ireland

How to Import goods from China to Ireland

Top Irish Imports from China

prohibited or restricted items by the Irish government

Shipping Methods from China to Ireland:

Express Shipping From China to Ireland:

Airfreight From China to Ireland

Sea Freight from China to Ireland

Train Railway Freight From China to Ireland

Shipping Cost from China to Ireland

Shipping Time from China to Ireland:

FAQS when shipping from China to Ireland.


Importing from China to Ireland

shipping from China to Ireland

Before you’re ready to export goods from China to Ireland, it’s important to factor in the following:

  • Both countries’ customs regulations
  • Import and export policies and restrictions
  • Shipping documents
  • Suitable modes of transportation for the goods being shipped
  • The appropriate shipping routes used by the chosen mode of transportation

Finding a China-based carrier with good rates and that can effectively handle your shipping project will ensure your needs are met, both with regards to maximizing your company’s profit and maintaining the integrity of your inventory.

How to Import Goods from China to Ireland:

Handling international shipments of goods is a complicated process. It involves not only the actual shipping process, but getting the items through Chinese and Irish customs while making sure your company follows all regulations and doesn’t violate any restrictions. This takes background knowledge, experience, and the ability to stay informed about changes in the industry. That’s why choosing the right freight forwarder for your company is essential. Even though you won’t be handling this process yourself, it’s still important to know a little about how the process works so you can work through logistics and potential pitfalls with your forwarder.

Step 1: Check trade laws in China and Ireland

Make sure you’re aware of the current regulations and restrictions when exporting from China and importing to Ireland. Both countries have their own restrictions that can change often, so it’s important to stay apprised of them. This is also the time in the process to find out what documents you’ll need to have ready for your goods to make it safely through customs to their destination.

Step 2: Decide what to import from china

shipping from China to Ireland

You probably already have an idea of what merchandise your company is well-equipped to offer. From a business standpoint, it’s vital to make sure there will be a demand for your products in Ireland. Check what items currently sell well in Ireland. Research levels of demand for products so you know how much you should import and roughly how much it will cost you to produce, market, and deliver those goods to your customers. This is a business venture, after all – you want to make sure at the end of the day, you’re still able to turn a profit after factoring in expenses.

Ireland already imports a variety of goods from China. Reviewing their current top imports is a great starting place when determining what your company can offer.

Top Irish Imports from China:


Nuclear reactors

Electrical equipment

Prefabricated buildings






Sports equipment

Knowing what already has an existing market and demand in Ireland can give you a good idea of what you might be suited to provide for your prospective customers.

Now is also the time to determine whether any items you’re considering importing are prohibited or restricted by the Irish government. If they are, delve into the current regulations that apply to the specific items you’re thinking of shipping. The last thing you want is to realize the items you’re shipping aren’t allowed into Ireland and you have to figure out what to do with a container-load of inventory!

Here are several examples of prohibited or restricted items for import or export by the Irish government:

Domestic cats and dogs

Illegal drugs

Items considered to be indecent or obscene

Meat, milk, and fish products

Animals classified as endangered


Firearms, weapons, fireworks, and other explosives

Animals, fish, birds, or plants (alive or dead)

Keep in mind that this list can change often. Make sure to check this list each time you decide to ship a new type of item to Ireland.

Step 3: Find a supplier from china

After you’ve decided what you want to offer your customers, an internet search can put you in touch with Chinese suppliers looking to sell just that. By developing a mutually-beneficial relationship with your suppliers, you can provide quality goods for your customers while creating beneficial business for yourself and your supplier.

If you find yourself struggling with price negotiations with your new found supplier, contact us. We can talk you through the process to help you get the best price for your merchandise. It’s just one more way DFH Logistics is here for you from start to finish.

Step 4: Estimate your tax liability

Imported and exported goods are subject to several fees. These include value-added tax (VAT), customs duties, and excise duties. Other taxes and fees may apply depending on the type of items you’re shipping. Because of that, it’s vital to stay well-informed about current Chinese and Irish regulations that apply to imports and exports so you know ahead of time what fees and taxes you should expect to pay. This will prevent unhappy and expensive surprises down the road, and will also help prevent you from running into unforeseen problems at Irish customs.

Step 5: Hire a freight forwarder in china

As you can see, shipping items across the world is a complicated process that can get messy if you don’t know what you’re doing. That’s exactly why it’s so important to hire a reliable and experienced freight forwarder. A good freight forwarder will handle the transportation of your inventory from the time it leaves your factory until it arrives at its final destination. This is exactly the service DFH Global Logistics has years of experience handling.

Step 6: Define your shipment’s Incoterms

shipping from China to Ireland

If you’ve never shipped anything internationally before, you might not be familiar with the term “Incoterm.” Incoterms are internationally-recognized rules and terms that distribute responsibilities and liabilities between buyers and sellers when importing and exporting goods. They address who’s responsible for making payments on and monitoring shipments, obtaining insurance, preparing shipping and customs documents, and other shipping-related tasks. They’re industry-standard, so they’re important to be familiar with. Make sure you familiarize yourself with these and define your shipping’s Incoterms before moving forward.

Not sure where to start?

shipping from China to Ireland

If you want to start doing business with China Suppliers but don’t know where to start, send us an inquiry. We can teach you the step-by-step process and help you source products. We’re so confident you’ll love our service, we want to start working with you before you’re even ready to start shipping inventory.

Shipping Methods from China to Ireland:

Your freight forwarder can provide cost estimates and an explanation of the pros and cons of each shipping method in your specific situation. However, it’s best to have some background knowledge of these methods for yourself as well. The main options are express shipping by courier service, airfreight, sea freight, and train railway freight. In this section, we’ll provide a quick summary of how each method works and a summary of its upsides and downsides.

Express Shipping From China to Ireland:

shipping from China to Ireland

At 2-5 days from start to finish, this is the fastest option to ship goods to Ireland. Express shipping from China to Ireland is handled by courier services who see your packages from door-to-door – that is, from your supplier factory to the items’ end destination.

These kinds of services are offered by a variety of well-known carriers such as DHL, UPS, TNT, FedEx, and EMS. These carriers have good reputations and are known to be reliable, so you can rest easy knowing your items are quickly making their way to their destination. These carriers use a variety of methods (airfreight, sea freight, and train railway freight, which we’ll go into in greater depth later) to provide a hands-off, painless service. They can pick up your goods at your door (or factory) and see it all the way to a designated address, whether that be the warehouse in Ireland or directly to your Irish customers.

Door-to-door express shipping is the most efficient way to transport items from your origin site in China to their end destination in Ireland. They handle items of all sizes and weights. With these carriers, light items are generally air-freighted for speed and heavy items are sea-freighted, which involves a longer ship time. But since they come directly to your door, they are the most convenient option.

Upsides to express shipping: A fast, worry-free experience for you

Downsides to express shipping: More expensive than alternatives

Air freight From China to Ireland:

shipping from China to Ireland

The biggest advantage of Air freight is its speed. Items leaving China can arrive at their destination in Ireland within 2-14 days, but it’s more frequently in the range of 3-7 days. This is optimal for high-value items since they spend less time in transit. However, there are a few trade-offs for that speed.

Airfreight is generally more expensive than rail or sea. It’s also better for small items. This is because airlines have weight and volume restrictions, so big or heavy items generally have to ship via sea. Airfreight also uses more fuel than alternatives, so if carbon footprint is a concern for you and your company ethic, you’ll want to opt for sea or rail freight.

Keep in mind that airfreight usually only involves delivering goods to the airport destination in Ireland, not to the inventory’s ultimate destination. It’s important to factor this in and to make transportation accommodations to get your shipment to its final destination. The exception, of course, is if you’ve arranged for door-to-door transportation. As discussed above, door-to-door delivery allows arrangements to be made to transport the goods from the airport to their end destination, as well as clearance through Irish customs.

Airfreight is split into two categories: general cargo and special cargo. As the name suggests, most items are considered general cargo.

Examples of general cargo:


Children Toys,

Sports and Entertainment

Personal accessories like watches, purses, etc.

Special cargo is subject to different regulations than general cargo, which can involve additional inspections.

Examples of special cargo:

Live animals

Dangerous items, like certain chemicals

Items that need to be temperature-controlled, such as seafood

Also keep in mind that some airlines have restrictions that prevent them from handling special cargo. When approaching a freight forwarder for an estimate, make sure you mention any items that might fit into this category. The type of items you’re shipping can impact what airlines (and which airport destinations) your items can travel through. This, in turn, can affect the price you end up paying.

Top Chinese airports for exports to Ireland:

Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK)

Hongkong International Airport (HKG)
Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (CAN)
Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG)
Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport (SHA)
Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport (CTU)
Shenzhen Baoan International Airport (SZX)
Kunming Changshui International Airport (KMG)
Xi’an Xianyang International Airport (XIY)
Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport (HGH)

Ireland’s five international airports:

Dublin International Airport (DUB)

Cork International Airport (ORK)

Shannon International Airport (SNN)

Knock International Airport (NOC)

Belfast International Airport (BFS)

However, most imports are handled through the Dublin Airport.

Upsides to airfreight: Fast

Downsides to airfreight: Expensive, high carbon footprint, constraints on what type of items can be shipped via air

Sea Freight from China to Ireland:

shipping from China to Ireland

Sea freight is the most common method of shipping items from China to Ireland, in part because of its versatility and reliability. While rail and airfreight both have constraints on what items they can carry, practically everything can be shipped by sea, including very large and heavy items that simply can’t be shipped via air (such as cars).

Sea freight is split into two types: Full Container Load (FCL) and Less-than-Container Load (LCL).

Full Container Load (FCL): These are shipments where all the items in a container are owned by a single company. This is a good option when you’re shipping enough volume that you can fill an entire container by yourself. This is suitable for bulk items and large-volume products. It’s the most cost-effective option of all, provided you’re filling the entire container.

Less-than-Container Load (LCL): Multiple shippers’ items are packed together into a single container. This is the way to go when you’re shipping in quantities too small to fill an entire container. This allows for smaller, more adaptable inventory.

You may be wondering why anyone would choose LCL if FCL is the cheaper option. With FCL, you pay for the entire container. If your shipment is too small to fill the container, it can be more cost-effective to opt for LCL, where you’re only paying for the space your items take up.

Top Chinese seaports for exports to Ireland:




Guangzhou Harbor

Hong Kong



Kaohsiung (Taiwan)



Largest seaports in Ireland:




The Dublin port handles two-thirds of Ireland’s container-transported trade and just under half of Ireland’s total trade. It’s the largest port in the country.

Upsides to sea freight: Inexpensive, lower carbon footprint than airfreight, any item can be shipped via sea, you can choose FCL or LCL to tailor your shipping for your business’s needs.

Downsides to sea freight: Slow,Shipping time is super long compare with the express freight and Air freight from China to Ireland.

Train Railway Freight From China to Ireland:

shipping from China to Ireland

In many ways, train railway freight could be considered the happy medium between sea freight and airfreight. Generally, railway freight is about half the price of airfreight, but about 40% faster than sea freight, mitigating the main drawbacks of both. Using a method quicker than sea freight allows you to keep less inventory on hand in Ireland, since you can ship smaller batches more frequently. This also allows you to tailor your inventory to your clients’ changing needs by making smaller, quicker, more frequent shipments.

This method is versatile; it can ship pallets, cartons, crates, controlled-temperature items, frozen and fresh food, pharmaceuticals, and other items that require special care and handling. Railway freight can also handle a large variety of products, both small and large.

However, there are limitations to railway freight. High-value and dangerous items can’t be shipped by railway freight, so you’ll need to look into other options if you want to ship goods of that nature.

Items that can’t be shipped by railway freight from china:





Other hazardous items

Every main railway freight route from China to Europe handles general cargo and operates under the same FCL and LCL container system as sea freight. You’ll want to consider container sizes when choosing shipment sizes and when obtaining a price estimate, since prices for FCL and LCL are different.

Main railway freight routes that run from China to Europe:

shipping from China to Ireland





Since all of these railways end in Germany, transportation must be arranged for the goods to travel from Germany to Ireland for the last leg of their trip.

Upsides to train railway freight: Faster than sea freight and less expensive than air freight, making it a great middle-ground between the two. This method can handle a wide variety of items, both in terms of item type and in size and weight. This method uses the FCL and LCL system of packing shipments, which means you can choose the option that works best for you at the best price.

Downsides to train railway freight: Because the main railways end in Germany, additional arrangements must be made to transport the items from Germany to their final destination in Ireland. There are also some limitations to what items can be shipped using this method. Also, since it’s a middle-ground between the speed of airfreight and the low cost of sea freight, if speed or low cost are your highest priority, it’s unlikely railway freight will be the best choice for you.

Comparing Shipping Methods at a Glance:

Shipping Cost from China to Ireland:

Express High
Airfreight High
Sea freight Low
Rail freight Medium

shipping from China to Ireland

Shipping costs also change frequently due to factors such as:



       Fuel prices

       The state of the Irish economy

       The state of the Chinese economy


Busy times for Chinese exports are January (Chinese New Year) and the third quarter of the year (July-September). The latter is due to increased demand in anticipation of end-of-the-year holidays.

Keep in mind that quotes for FCL shipping are usually stable for up to 2 weeks, while LCL rates last up to a month. This is why it’s so important to 1) obtain a quote specific to each shipment, and 2) act quickly to place your shipment order after receiving a quote.

Shipping Time from China to Ireland:

Express 2-5 days
Airfreight 2-14 (usually 3-7)
Sea freight 3-6 weeks
Rail freight 15-35 days

So how do I know what shipping method is best for me?

This is just a summary to give you an idea of shipment methods. The only way to know what shipping method is the best choice for your specific needs, at the specific time of shipment, is to contact an experienced freight forwarder who can listen to your situation, provide cost estimates, and recommend the option that best fits your needs.

At this point, it’s probably abundantly clear that this process is complicated and involves a lot of factors. That’s why it’s so important to get a quote that’s specific to you.

DFH Global Logistics has over 10 years of experience handling international shipment logistics, which means they have the know-how and ability to make sure each shipment reaches its destination safely and without complications. If you’re looking for a freight forwarder to coordinate your shipments from China to Ireland, contact us for a quote today.

What does DFH Logistics Do Differently to Make My Shipments Simple and Easy?

We offer the following complimentary services for your convenience:

  • 24/7 customer service.
  • Pickup from supplier factories.
  • If you have multiple suppliers, we’ll pick up from each of their warehouses and package your goods together to save you shipping costs.
  • After picking up your goods from your suppliers’ warehouses, we’ll check all your product for quality before we send them out.
  • We’ll take photos of merchandise after pickup upon request.
  • If your goods aren’t ready to send to their destination, we offer complimentary warehousing until they’re ready to go.
  • Free repackaging service for goods from suppliers so you know your merchandise is always properly packed for safe, damage-free transit.

We have offices in ShenZhen, Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Zhejiang. No matter where your suppliers are located, we can pick up your goods from anywhere in mainland China within 3 hours of your pickup authorization.

Whatever the request, no matter how special the shipment, we’ll do whatever it takes to fit your needs.

Whatever you want to move, wherever your inventory needs to go, we can meet the challenge!

Contact us so we can get started on your quote today.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Shipping From China to Ireland:

What import taxes will I have to pay upon my goods’ arrival in Ireland?

Ireland institutes a value-added tax (VAT), customs duty, and excise duty.

Other taxes may apply depending on the type of items in your shipment. Because of this, it’s vital to stay well-informed about current Irish import taxes and to disclose all the contents of your shipments to your freight forwarder so they can provide you with an accurate estimate.

What documents should I prepare if I need to ship from China to Ireland?

  • Single Administrative Document. This is the declaration document that you write to customs.
  • Bill of lading, also known as an air waybill, sea waybill, or courier waybill. This is required for every shipment and serves as a contract between you and the carrier.
  • Entry summary declaration
  • Certificates of Origin
  • CMR
  • Packing list
  • CIM consignment note
  • Certificate of shipment
  • Invoice

shipping from China to Ireland
Please note that not all of these will be necessary in every case, and document requirements will vary based on the shipping method. Staying well-informed about current regulations and consulting with your freight forwarder will help ensure you always have the proper documentation prepared for your shipment. If you’re not sure what documents you need or feel lost when preparing your documents, contact us. We offer help preparing commercial invoices as well as import and export customs clearances for each shipment.

What is the cheapest way to ship from China to Ireland?

In most cases, sea freight is the cheapest shipping option from China to Ireland. However, prices vary often based on several factors and based on the size of your shipment (which will in turn determine whether you’re shipping FCL or LCL). Remember that prices for FCL and LCL are different, and which one is most economical for your situation will depend on the particularities of a specific shipment.

Can you gather goods from different suppliers for me and send them together in one shipment?

Yes, DFH Global Logistics offers this service free of charge. This is also a case where LCL sea freight or train railway freight are great candidates.

If my goods are damaged or lost in transit, how do you compensate for my loss?

We encourage every customer to purchase insurance so your shipments are covered in case of damage or loss during transit. We are happy to assist you in choosing the right insurance for you. We can even help walk you through the process.

When will my payment be due?

Payment is due after shipment of goods. If you’re choosing to have us pick up your items at your supplier factory, payment is due after item pick up.

Which payment methods do you accept?

T/T transfer


Western Union

Cash in RMB (Chinese currency)

Can you pick up goods from my supplier factory and send them to my target destination for me?

Yes, we can pick up items from your supplier factories free of charge.

This is called door-to-door courier service and it’s carried out by several carriers such as DHL, UPS, TNT, FedEx, and EMS. We can coordinate with these companies to arrange for door-to-door service for your shipment, so you don’t need to worry about your items making it to their end destination.


If you want to import from China to Ireland, and still have other questions, then go ahead to send online messages to me now. Let me guide you step by step today. It will be our pleasure to supporting you and your precious company. Or you can also Email directly to for any question about importing from China to Ireland.