Shipping From the United States to the UK:
Air, Sea & Container Freight

How much does shipping cost from the United States to the UK?

Many factors go into the cost of shipping from the United States to UK, including location, size, and shipping mode: sea FCL, sea LCL, air, or express. This guide will give you pricing estimates for each shipping mode from popular ports in the United States to popular ports in UK.

Sea Freight from the United States to the UK

Ocean/Sea Freight FCL

Container shipping rates from the United States to the UK: 40’ container

Shipping from Los Angeles (USLAX Port)Shipping from New York (USNYC Port)Shipping from Houston (USHOU Port)
Shipping to Southampton (GBSOU Port)$2,093$561$1,934
Shipping to Felixstowe (GBFXT Port)$2,257$879$1,345
Shipping to London (GBLON Port)$2,545$251$710

The quotes on this table are port-to-port peak season FCL shipping average rates.

 

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Ocean/Sea Freight LCL

Shipping Rates from the United States to the UK: LCL

Shipping from Los AngelesShipping from New YorkShipping from HoustonShipping from Wichita
Shipping to Southampton$537$529$523
Shipping to Felixstowe$537$532$522
Shipping to London$532$523$516
Shipping to Great Yarmouth$558

These rates are door-to-door shipping averages for a load of 200 kg/1 cbm

Air Freight from the United States to the UK

Air Freight

Shipping rates from the United States to the UK: Air Freight

Shipping from Los AngelesShipping from New YorkShipping from HoustonShipping from Wichita
Shipping to Southampton$1,122$1,068$1,087
Shipping to Felixstowe$1,119$1,053$1,087
Shipping to London$1,121$1,084$1,095
Shipping to Great Yarmouth$1,166

These rates are door-to-door shipping averages for a load of 200 kg/1 cbm

Air Freight Costs per KG

When you’re shipping air, the price per kg decreases the larger your shipment’s weight:

Chargeable weight10 kg100 kg300 kg
Price per kg$84.67$8.41$4.51

 

Want to learn more about how chargeable weight affects the price of your shipment? Check out our free universal chargeable and volumetric weight calculator.

Express Shipping

Shipping Rates from the United States to the UK: Express

Avg price for door-to-door shipping for a load of 50 kg/0.2 cbm: $522

Shipping freight under 100 kg from the United States to UK is cheaper– and faster– by express. Around the 100 kg mark, air freight becomes the cheaper option:

United States to UK Shipping Time

How long will it take to ship from the United States to UK? Your shipment’s transit time will be impacted by location, shipment size, and season. Use the following table for timing estimates for each shipping mode from the United States to UK.

Ocean/Sea freight time from the United States to the UK

Port to PortDoor to Door
Sea Freight (FCL)10-29 days42-46 days
Sea Freight (LCL)16-29 days43-48 days
Air Freight2-5 days6-11 days
Express*––6-4 days

* Express freight is always door to door

How to Ship from the United States to UK

If you have questions about shipping from the United States to UK, you’ve come to the right place. This guide will cover:


  1. Freight from the United States to UK: How to choose the fastest and cheapest way to ship

  2. When are the cheapest times to ship from the United States to UK?

  3. What are incoterms and how do they affect freight prices from the United States to UK?

  4. What customs duties and taxes will I owe when shipping from the United States to UK?

  5. Do I need insurance to ship from the United States to UK?

  6. What paperwork do I need to ship from the United States to UK?

  7. How do I ship from the United States to an Amazon FBA Warehouse in UK?

  8. Busiest Shipping Ports in the United States

  9. Busiest UK Shipping Ports


Freight from the United States to the UK: How to choose the fastest and cheapest way to ship

When you’re shipping from the United States to the UK, you can choose from one of four modes: FCL sea freight, LCL sea freight, air freight, or express. Here are key factors for each mode:

FCL Sea Freight from the United States to the UK

FCL, or full container load, means your goods fill an entire container, either 20’ or 40’ long. If you are shipping at a high volume, you’ll save time and money by shipping FCL. Pricing for FCL is done as a flat rate, regardless of whether or not your container is completely full. Learn more about FCL here.

LCL Sea Freight from the United States to the UK

LCL, or less than a container load, means your goods do not fill an entire container, and will be shipped along with other boxes or pallets. Note that when you ship LCL, your goods will need to be consolidated at the origin port and deconsolidated at the destination port. That’s why LCL shipping takes a few days longer than FCL.

Air Freight from the United States to the UK

Shipping by air is generally faster but more expensive than shipping by sea. For help choosing which mode is right for your shipment, use our air vs. ocean comparison calculator.

Express from the United States to the UK

When you have a small shipment and need it delivered as quickly as possible, you might consider express.

 

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When are the cheapest times to ship from the United States to the UK?

Freight rates, especially FCL sea freight and air freight rates, are affected by seasonal factors. When shipping from the United States to the UK, remember to take into account peak seasons in both the United States and UK.

Peak seasons for shipping from the United States to the UK

EventEffects on ShippingWhen
Holiday Shopping SeasonPrices rise as businesses prepare for holiday shoppingFall months

Use these tips to stay on track when shipping during peak season.

To see in-depth research on how pricing fluctuates throughout the year, check out the Freightos Baltic Index.

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What are incoterms and how do they affect freight prices from the United States to the UK?

When you’re comparing freight quotes, note the level of service the freight forwarder is offering.

For example, if you’re shipping from Los Angeles, United States to Felixstowe, UK, you’re going to want to ask your supplier about the cost difference between shipping from the supplier’s warehouse in Los Angeles– which means using the EXW incoterm– and shipping from the port of Los Angeles(USLAX) – which means using the FOB incoterm.

Prices for FOB are typically lower, but shipping FOB doesn’t mean your total costs will necessarily be lower. You might make up the cost by paying your supplier to bring your goods to port. When comparing prices, take all your costs into account.

Note that some incoterms, including FOB, are used for sea shipping only.

Learn all about incoterms here.

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What customs duties and taxes will I owe when shipping from the United States to the UK?

When importing from the United States to UK, you will need to pay Customs Duty and VAT before your goods are released into the country. Customs and VAT can be significant. Researching your costs early can keep you from getting caught by surprise.

UK Duty

Customs duty is calculated based on the HS Code, which is an international system for classifying goods for trade. Different products have different duty percentages, generally ranging from 0-12%, determined by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. You’ll pay this percentage on the total value of the goods.

So let’s say your shipment is worth $10,000, and your product is taxed for duties at 10%. Your duty amount is $1,000.

VAT

VAT is calculated based on the cost of your goods, plus the cost of shipping them, plus duty. The standard VAT rate in Y is 20%.

So for your $10,000 shipment that cost $1,000 to ship, you’ll pay: 20% of (10,000+1,000+1,000) = $2,400.

How the Customs Process Works

When goods arrive at port, customs officials will first check to make sure all your paperwork is in order, and then calculate the amount of duties owed and collect payment. After payment, goods will be released.

To handle customs clearance, you can hire your own broker, or use the brokerage provided by your freight forwarder. If you book on Freightos, you can use our brokerage services as well.

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Do I need insurance to ship from the United States to the UK?

When calculating your shipping costs, don’t forget to protect yourself in case your goods are damaged or lost. You can do this through your freight forwarder or a third party insurance agent. Insurance costs are typically around 0.3% – 0.5% of your Commercial Invoice Value, which is the amount you paid for the goods.

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What paperwork do I need to ship from the United States to the UK?

When shipping freight from the United States to the UK, in addition to standard shipping paperwork such as the Commercial Invoice, you will need an EORI number. Anyone shipping from outside to inside the European Union needs this number in order to clear customs. To apply, click here if you are VAT registered, here if you’re not.

Use our paperwork checklist here to make sure all your paperwork is in order before you ship.

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How do I ship from the United States to an Amazon FBA Warehouse in UK?

As an Amazon shipper from the United States to UK, you’ll need to consider issues of timing and storage, as well as choosing the right forwarder. Check out this guide to learn more.

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Shipping ports in the United States

Your factory, supplier, or freight forwarder will likely advise you which port is best for your export from the United States, based on location, ease of customs clearance, transit time, port volume, and any relationships or agreements between the factory and the port.

If you’re choosing a port on your own, important factors to consider include location, cost, and transit time. Here are the top ports for exporting from the United States:

Port Name: Los Angeles

Port code: USLAX

Port Name: New York

Port code: USNYC

Port Name: Houston

Port code: USHOU

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Shipping ports in UK

These are the top ports for importing into UK:

Port Name: Felixstowe

Port code: GBFXT

Port Name: Southampton

Port code: GBSOU

Port Name: London

Port code: GBLON

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Key Information for Freight Shipping from the United States to UK

Average price for an FCL container from the United States-UK (peak season): $1,397

Average price for sea LCL (load of 200 kg/1 cbm): $531

Average price for air freight (load of 200 kg/1 cbm): $1,100

Average price for express (load of 50 kg/0.2 cbm): $522

Tips for Keeping Down Costs and Shipping Time from the United States-UK

  • Book in Advance. Shipping by sea is the cheapest, but also takes the longest. Booking in advance when you can saves you money– and cuts out the stress if delays arise.
  • Ship off-peak. When carriers get busy, both shipping prices and transit times go up. Ship during off-peak seasons whenever you can.
  • Get your documentation in order. Having your documentation in order can make all the difference when it comes to clearing customs quickly.
  • Know your HS Codes. A lot of shippers are surprised by how much customs fees can affect business costs. Do your research so you can budget effectively.
  • Compare quotes from different providers. Quotes can vary, so check out offers from different providers before making a decision.
  • Understand what’s included in your quote. Is your quote port to port or door to door? What service does it include? Know what you’re paying for to avoid getting hit with surprise fees.

FAQ for Shipping from the United States to UK

How long does it take to ship a container from the United States to UK?

It depends on which shipping mode you use. Shipping express can take as few as 6-4 days – but express is the most expensive mode, and is not suitable for large shipments. Air freight shipping will take about 6-11 days. Sea freight shipping takes 42-46 days, but is the most affordable if you can wait.

How much to ship a container from the United States to UK?

On average, it costs $1,397 to ship one 40’ container from the United States to UK during peak season.

What’s the cheapest time of month to book from the United States to UK?

Carriers can introduce increases to shipping charges, called General Rate Increases (GRIs) at the start of each month. But, toward the middle of the month as they try to fill supply on vessels, they often lower these prices. That means booking during the latter two weeks of the month can often save you money.

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