I've only imported complete container loads but you might want to look at someone like this for smaller volumes.
Here are the charges I've just beemn stiffed with....
ADVANCEMENT FEE Z 15.00
CUSTOMS PRESENTATION 20.00
IMPORT CUSTOMS CLEARANCE 45.00
PORT SECURITY FEE 3.00
TERMINAL HANDLING 53.00
(total of £226)...then there VAT & Import duty... of about £1100
from memory, I also paid £200 to the sender for fees their end about 2 months ago.
This was for 7 boxes totalling about 200kg....basically, try bringing anything into the country that can't be hidden up your dung funnel & you're gonna get stiffed.
I'm gonna change tack & start bringing in diamonds
There's usually a minimum charge for all those services. You've probably been hit by that. Can't avoid VAT you will (should) pay it wherever you buy from.
We used to bring in complete 40 ft container loads from the Far East about ten years ago and it cost about £2000 all in (plus VAT which we got back as we were registered) so there is a definite advantage if you can fill at least a 20 ft container or share it with others.