The journey of a made-in-China product, via Felixstowe

The Port of Felixstowe's new Portmaster, Ashley Parker Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The Port of Felixstowe's new Portmaster, Ashley Parker Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

When you look at a product that says ‘made in China’, bear in mind that your item probably came through Felixstowe’s vast port facility - but not directly. “Most ships load at three or four ports in China then come round India, Suez, Mediterranean ports and end up here, then they go on to North Europe too – it could be a five week voyage,” explained Mr Parker. In her book ‘Ninety Percent of Everything’, author Rose George caught a ride on a giant container ship from Felixstowe to Singapore. She claimed it costs just 3p to ship a jumper from China to the UK. “You have 1000 jumpers in one box and the box could cost $80 to ship - it’s scale,” explained Mr Parker.

When you look at an item that says it was ‘made in China’, bear in mind that your item might have come through Felixstowe’s vast port facility - but not directly.

“Most ships load at three or four ports in China then come round India, Suez, Mediterranean ports and end up here. Then they go on to North Europe too – it could be a five week voyage,” explained Mr Parker.

In her book ‘Ninety Percent of Everything’, author Rose George caught a ride on a giant container ship from Felixstowe to Singapore. She claimed it costs just 3p to ship a jumper from China to the UK. “You have 1000 jumpers in one box and the box could cost $80 to ship - it’s scale,” explained Mr Parker.

Although most of the ships originate in China, crews are multinational crews and Filipinos make up the largest contingent.


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From the sea, the cargo is then unloaded off the ship in its container using a giant crane, and taken to its next destination either by rail from one of the port’s three train stations, or in one of the 2,000 lorries that leave the port each day.

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