The United Kingdom Container Shipping

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The United Kingdom Container Shipping
The United Kingdom Container Shipping

Ocean Or Air Freight Container Shipping To The United Kingdom

Need to ship your personal items to the UK for a long-term move? Want to ship commercial items into the United Kingdom for business purposes? Whatever your needs may be, A-1 Auto Transport is here to help with ocean or air freight container shipping to the United Kingdom.

We specialize in shipping ocean-based cargo containers and air freight throughout the entire world – including the United Kingdom. With our extensive network of logistics providers and customs brokers, we can assist you throughout the entire process of shipping your goods to the UK.

To get started, just contact us online to get a free quote for your project, or read on below to learn more about ocean and air freight container shipping to the United Kingdom, and what you can expect from the process.

FCL Container Shipping (Full Container Load) To The United Kingdom

FCL container shipping is the most common way of sending large freight shipments to the United Kingdom. In this method of shipping, you’ll pay for the use of an entire 20-foot or 40-foot cargo container – or multiple containers, if you need the space.

You’ll simply pack up your shipments and send them to your preferred home port. Then, they’ll be shipped by cargo freighter to the UK, where they’ll be unloaded and processed.

LCL Container Shipping (Less than Container Load) To The United Kingdom

LCL container shipping is a good option if you don’t have enough stuff to use an entire cargo container, but you have too much freight for traditional parcel-based shipping to be affordable.

In this method of ocean freight transport, you pay only for the volume of the cargo container that you use, and other customers can share the remaining space. For example, you can pay for 50% of the space in the container, and other customers can split the remaining 50% of the space. This makes LCL shipping very cost-effective.

Ocean Freight Transport To The United Kingdom

About 80% of all international freight shipped over the water is shipped via ocean freight transport. It’s very cost-effective, reliable, and simple, making it a good choice for shipments that are not perishable or time-sensitive.

Usually, it will take somewhere between 20-45 days for your shipments to arrive at their destination with ocean freight transport, though this varies based on the home and destination port, number of stops, and other factors.

Air Freight Transport To The United Kingdom

Air freight transport to the United Kingdom is a good option if you need to ship items quickly and have a tight deadline that must be met. It usually takes 3-5 days to ship your items to the UK via air freight transport – and some companies offer rush service for an extra fee, which takes only 1-3 days.

However, air freight transport typically starts at about 4x the price of comparable ocean-based freight services, so it’s not nearly as cost-effective. If you’re on a budget, ocean freight transport to the United Kingdom is definitely a better deal.

How Much Does It Cost To Ship To The United Kingdom?

Wondering how much it will cost to ship your goods to the United Kingdom? Here are a few factors that typically affect the cost of shipping via air freight transport or ocean freight transport.

  • Shipment distance – The overall distance that your shipment has to travel will have a major effect on the time it takes to ship your items to the UK, and it will also affect the cost of shipping due to factors like mechanical wear & tear, fuel usage, crew labor costs, and so on. For example, shipping to the UK via ocean freight from New York City will be much cheaper than shipping to the UK from San Francisco.
  • Last-mile delivery – You’ll usually need to use a truck and/or rail service to ship your items from their destination seaport or airport to their destination. The longer you must ship your goods for last-mile delivery, the more you’ll pay. 
  • Cargo volume/weight – For ocean freight, the cost of your shipment is mostly calculated by volume – the amount of space you take up in an LCL shipment, for example, or the number of cargo containers you need for FCL shipments.

For air freight, things are a bit different. Weight has a much bigger effect on fuel consumption, airplane safety and maximum cargo capacity, so you’ll pay based on the weight of your items. For this reason, it’s not cost-effective to ship extremely dense and heavy items by air. 

  • Method of freight shipping – You’ll pay a lot more for air shipping than you would for ocean-based freight shipping. While this may be worth it for some items that are lightweight, time-sensitive or perishable, it’s best to ship as much of your freight as you can by ocean freighter if you’re on a budget.
  • Cost of importing/customs brokers – You’ll need to factor in UK VAT, import duties and the cost of working with a customs broker into your budget. These costs are unavoidable, and can be significant contributors to the cost of ocean or air freight container shipping to the United Kingdom.

These are just a few of the factors that may affect the cost of shipping your goods. For a full quote and estimate, contact A-1 Auto Transport now.

Shipping Ports In The United Kingdom

Due to its nature as an island nation, the UK has a number of large, important ports that are used to import goods both to the UK and the nearby regions of continental Europe. Here are a few of the top shipping ports in the United Kingdom.

  • Port of Immingham – Port of Immingham is located near Grimsby on the east coast of Britain, and is nestled near the south bank of Humbert Estuary. It handles more than 55.6 million metric tons of cargo per year, making it one of the largest ports in the nation – and it’s currently being expanded to further increase its yearly cargo ship throughput.
  • Port of London – The Port of London, given its location in the largest city in the UK, is a major port for the United Kingdom. It has a yearly cargo throughput of about 53.2 million metric tons, and has experienced rapid growth in the last several years.
  • Port of Southampton – Located in the South of England, Port of Southampton used to be considered the UK’s “Gateway to Europe” before the advent of air travel. Today, it’s still a very important logistics hub. Port of Southampton is the UK’s largest vehicle handling port, handling about 900,000 vehicles per year. It has a total annual cargo throughput of 34.5 million metric tons, and handles more than 1.9 million TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units) per year. 
  • Port of Liverpool – Located in the middle of the UK’s west coast, the Port of Liverpool handles about 32.6 million metric tons of cargo each year. It’s a major destination for shipments from North America – Montreal, Canada in particular.
  • Port of Milford Haven – The busiest Welsh cargo port, Port of Milford Haven handles more than 30.9 million metric tons of cargo per year, and is widely considered to be the most important UK port for the energy industry.

Depending on the end destination of your shipment in the United Kingdom, any of these ports may be a good option for ocean container freight shipping.

Customs Clearance In The United Kingdom

When importing items from non-EU countries, there are a few things you should know about UK customs clearance. You’ll need an EORI number and commodity code for the goods that you’re importing, and you will need to pay a VAT (value-added tax) and import duty for your goods, based on their value, using this guide.

You will also need an import license and will have to take some additional special steps if you are bringing in restricted goods like animal products, weapons or medicine.

The VAT and duties vary based on the category of your goods, and can vary quite a bit. In most cases, the easiest way to handle UK customs clearance is to hire a customs broker. A broker will represent you to UK customs for a fee. They can handle the process of calculating VAT and duties for your goods, filling out the required paperwork, and handling your goods once they’ve arrived in the United Kingdom.

Get A Free Price Rate Quote For Shipping To The United Kingdom

Ready to get started and ship your items to the UK? At A-1 Auto Transport, we’re always here to help. Whether you’re moving to the UK and need to bring your household goods, or you need to ship items for business or commercial use, we can help you through every step of the process.

To get started and learn more about the process of shipping your items to the UK, feel free to contact us online. You can also give us a call at 1-888-509-3213 to speak directly to one of our representatives. If you have any questions, please get in touch.

Joe Webster
Written By:Joe Webster
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Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing. 

After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood. 

With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.

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