What Is the Cost of Shipping from South Africa to the UK?

December 6, 2023
4 min read

Shipping Costs from South Africa to the UK

The UK is regarded as one of the most significant international partners of South Africa due to its shared language and deeply-rooted cultural connections. The relationship between these two countries is so strong that over 230,000 South Africans presently reside within the UK’s borders, marking a considerable presence of South Africans in the country.

Since the implementation of Brexit, sending a parcel to the UK from South Africa has become a more expensive option due to the addition of value-added taxes, surcharges and other associated fees. This cost can, however, be brought down by using an excellent third-party logistics (3PL) company like Bezos, making the UK a more favourable international shipping destination.

Key Points

  • There are strong cultural ties between the UK and South Africa, with a shared language and several thousands of South Africans living in the UK, who often order products that remind them of home.
  • As one of the world’s largest economies with a high population density, the UK is a favourable shipping destination.
  • There are a few hurdles to overcome when shipping to the UK, as the industry has been affected by the COVID pandemic and Brexit.
  • However, by partnering with Bezos, eCommerce businesses can save up to 80% on international orders.

Why You Should Consider Shipping from South Africa to the UK

The UK is one of the world’s largest economies and has the highest GDP per capita, translating into solid consumer purchasing power. This presents a significant opportunity for SA eCommerce businesses to expand their customer base, increase their revenue streams and diversify their product offerings.

With nearly 80% of the UK’s population shopping online and a steady incline of projected online shopping growth in recent years, the country has established itself as a dominant force in the global eCommerce market. Additionally, the UK has a favourable legal environment for eCommerce businesses, making it easier for foreign companies to establish a presence here. 

By tapping into this market, SA eCommerce businesses can benefit from a stable legal and regulatory framework that facilitates their operations while reaching a vast pool of customers eager to purchase quality goods from abroad. 

Factors That Affect SA to UK Shipping Costs

Shipping costs are a significant expense for eCommerce businesses, with various processes involved in order shipping and fulfilment. Many eCommerce businesses continually seek ways to mitigate shipping costs by optimising their processes, such as reducing packaging materials or negotiating better shipping rates with carriers. 

The reason for this is that South Africa Post Office’s parcel rates can be high. However, using a 3PL solution like Bezos will help reduce the costs of shipping your stock.

But understanding the factors that impact shipping costs is also essential for eCommerce businesses to make informed decisions and improve their bottom lines. 

Here are five factors that affect SA to UK shipping costs:

Delivery Timeframe

Quicker delivery requires faster transportation modes, such as air freight, which is often more expensive than sea freight. Thus, an extended delivery timeframe allows cheaper transportation options like sea freight, resulting in lower shipping costs.

Moreover, the delivery timeframe affects the shipping cost as it can impact the logistics involved in the shipping process. A shorter delivery time requires more manpower and resources, often translating to increased shipping fees. 

Package Weight and Dimensions

Generally, the shipping cost increases with increased package weight and dimensions. The heavier or bigger the package, the more space it takes up and the more resources are required to move it. This results in a higher cost for the shipping company, leading to higher customer fees. Larger packages could also require special handling, which also increases shipping costs. 

Inventory Value

The higher the eCommerce inventory value, the higher the shipping cost, as it requires more resources to transport sufficient quantities of products. In addition, customs fees and taxes are based on the declared value of the products being shipped. Optimising inventory management and keeping inventory value in check can lower shipping costs, significantly impacting the bottom line. 

Surcharges and Customs

Ecommerce surcharges are the additional charges on online goods delivered via shipping. These charges are imposed to cover the handling, packaging and delivery fees required for the shipment. On the other hand, customs refer to the regulatory bodies responsible for enforcing import and export laws. 

South Africa and the UK have different customs regulations, which significantly contribute to additional costs and delays for the shipment. These additional costs can vary depending on the type and value of the shipped goods. Understanding these two factors are vital in determining the shipping costs for eCommerce transactions between countries.

Mode of Shipping

The growth of eCommerce has given rise to new shipping modes such as express shipping, courier services, and even same or next-day delivery, which are more expensive than traditional shipping methods like via the sea. Therefore, eCommerce has been among the factors contributing to the rise of shipping costs from South Africa to the UK, reflecting the dynamic changes in the transportation and logistics industry.

Bezos’ South Africa to UK Shipping Costs

Bezos is a full-service fulfilment partner that caters to the unique needs of eCommerce brands regarding order processing and delivery. Due to the differing requirements of each client, the cost of shipping from South Africa to the UK can vary greatly. Our services include receiving, picking, packing, warehousing and delivering orders to customers on behalf of eCommerce brands.

Upon comparison with other third-party logistics (3PL) companies, it becomes apparent that Bezos’ shipping costs are substantially cheaper. This economic advantage allows eCommerce brands to expand globally since they can ship products to multiple countries without incurring hefty costs. Bezos currently operates 63 fulfilment centres in 17 countries, facilitating prompt and efficient global shipping. 

Customers can request a free quote tailored to their specific requirements to obtain a precise estimate of the shipping costs and overall pricing. With Bezos’ competitive pricing, a world of opportunities opens up for eCommerce brands looking to expand their reach and cater to a larger audience.

There’s good news for those interested in the rates of the company’s robust shipping solutions. Bezos’ pricing model is designed to be transparent and affordable. We strive to provide the highest quality services at competitive prices, ensuring that our clients can succeed in the eCommerce industry. Overall, Bezos is dedicated to providing flexible, high-quality, affordable fulfilment solutions to brands looking to grow in the industry.

How to Start Shipping from South Africa to the United Kingdom with Bezos

There are only four steps to follow to start shipping your eCommerce inventory from South Africa to the UK.

  • Firstly, open an account
  • Secondly, ship your inventory to Bezos
  • Thirdly, integrate your sales channels
  • And lastly, you can go live, which only takes up to 72 hours!

Speak to one of your experts today to get the ball rolling!


Expanding into the UK market can be a significant growth opportunity for South African eCommerce businesses. With its robust economy, thriving eCommerce market and favourable legal environment, the UK presents a perfect opportunity for small and medium-sized eCommerce businesses that want to go global. By offering to ship to the UK, South African eCommerce businesses can reach a much larger customer base and achieve international recognition, propelling them to more significant business successes.


What’s the cheapest way to ship from South Africa to the UK?

FedEx used to offer the cheapest international shipping services. However, in light of recent developments, Bezos has assumed this position while offering customisable AI-enabled order fulfilment solutions. 

How long is shipping from South Africa to the UK?

The shipping time from South Africa to the UK can vary depending on the mode of transportation. Shipping by air is generally the quickest option, typically taking 5-7 days to reach its destination. On the other hand, shipping by sea can take significantly longer, with an average shipping time of 7-9 weeks. 

This extended shipping time by sea is because cargo ships travel much slower than aeroplanes. Factors such as port delays and customs clearance can also impact the duration of the shipping process. 

Why is shipping to the UK expensive now?

Various reasons have led to the recent surge in shipping costs. Still, the most significant is the far-reaching impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the shipping industry, alongside an inconsistency about the timing of lockdowns globally. 

Moreover, Brexit has significantly impacted shipping costs since new regulations have introduced various administrative, operational and legal challenges, leading to added costs and potential business delays.

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