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Shipping Container Costs From United Kingdom to USA

Ashleigh Williams

Written by Reviewed by Dave Sayce

31st Aug 2022 (Last updated on 9th Feb 2024) 5 minute read

On average, it costs £6,080 to ship a container to the USA from the UK. This is based on the average cost of a 40ft container. This is equal to the size of a 3-bedroom house. Air freight shipping costs £326 per 100kg on average. This is based on our international removals costs research.

When shipping goods to the USA, there are two shipping options - air freight and sea freight. The option you select will be based on your budget and the number of items you have.

  1. Sea Freight
  2. Air Freight
  3. FCL VS LCL Shipping
  4. Other Costs to Consider
  5. How Long Does Shipping Take?
  6. Prohibited Items to USA
  7. Finding an International Removal Company to USA

Sea Freight

Sea freight is the most popular shipping option when moving to the USA. It’s a lot cheaper than air freight and is more eco-friendly. Your belongings will take longer to arrive, which can be a problem for items you need to arrive quicker.


  • Lower costs
  • You pay for a single container rather than by weight
  • Can transport motor vehicles
  • Pay for the cost of the shipping container only
  • More eco-friendly
  • Part-load options to lower costs


  • Ocean freight takes longer to arrive
  • Shipping is less frequent than air freight
  • Delays are more common

Main USA Ports and Routes

There are 7 major ports in the USA. The largest port is the Port of Los Angeles. Here are some of the other main ports that can be used as your destination port:

  • New York & New Jersey Port
  • Long Beach Port
  • Port of Houston
  • Port of South Louisiana
  • Norfolk Port
  • Port of Savannah

The main shipping ports to the USA from the UK are Felixstowe, Southampton, and London Gateway.

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Air Freight

If you need your goods to arrive quickly, air freight is the best option for shipping furniture overseas. However, it’s significantly more expensive. Your goods will be shipped from a UK airport to the most convenient airport in the United States.


  • Quick transit time
  • Over 1,000 airports to choose from
  • Good security for your belongings
  • Convenient and regular air freight shipping


  • More expensive shipping option
  • Not as eco-friendly
  • Limited with the items can transport (no motor vehicles)
  • Items are charged on weight, not size

Main USA Airports and Routes

There are around 5,217 airports to choose from when air shipping personal effects to the USA. This displays why air freight is so convenient. The most popular airports include:

  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
  • Denver
  • Dallas - Fort Worth
  • Los Angeles
  • Orlando
  • Washington
  • Chicago O-Hare

The main UK airports shipping to the USA are London Heathrow and Manchester.

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FCL VS LCL Shipping

Whether you’re shipping via sea or air freight, you need to decide whether you need full or part-load shipping. Your choice will depend on the belongings you’re shipping and the amount of space needed. Here are some aspects to consider:

  • Tracking
  • Insurance
  • Customs and duties charges
  • The weight of the items being shipped
  • The size of the items being shipped
  • The number of items being shipped
  • Distance travelled

Here are the main differences between FCL and LCL shipping:

Full Container Load (FCL)

Full container load is the most popular option for those looking to ship a lot of items. A full container load is equal to an entire shipping container. You pay for the container and then you are able to fill it with your goods. It’s a quicker option compared to LCL.

Less Container Load (LCL)

If you don’t need to ship many goods, LCL is the better option to consider. It allows you to share a container with other people. This helps to reduce shipping costs. However, it limits the amount of space you can have. Shipping will take longer due to it being a shared container.

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Other Costs to Consider

When it comes to international removals to the USA, you will also need to consider:

Packing Services

Packing services cost £250 on average based on a 3-bedroom home. The costs will vary based on the company and the number of items you have.

Packing services are charged in addition to removal services. Packing specialists will pack your belongings for you with high-quality materials. They help to ensure your goods are secure and safe when shipped.

Pick-up and Delivery

Pick-up and delivery are useful if you want your goods to be transported from the airport or port to your new home. It removes the need to organise this yourself, and it’s useful if you’re moving to a more rural area.

The cost will vary based on the part of the country you’re moving to, the number of items and the distance the removals company will need to travel. It’s similar to door-to-door services.


International removals insurance will cost around 4% of the total cost of your household goods. The price will change based on the distance travelled, and how your items are shipped.

The cost can also vary from state to state, the insurance company you choose, and the policy you use. Shipment Protection Cover or a Maritime insurance policy is recommended.

All our international removal partners have Public Liability and Goods in Transit insurance. This ensures peace of mind when using their services, and protects your goods during transit.

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How Long Does Shipping Take?

Sea freight will take an average of 30-40 days. This is reasonable given the distance travelled. Air freight shipping will typically take 8-10 days, which is a quicker alternative.

Shipping part-load to the East Coast can take up to 11 weeks. The West Coast is up to 14 weeks. Shipping times will vary due to the size of the USA. The time will depend on the type of container shipping you choose and the mode of transport.

Prohibited Items to USA

There are many items you’re prohibited to bring into the USA. These include:

  • Absinthe
  • Firearms
  • Gold
  • Soil
  • Game and hunting trophies
  • Haitian animal hide drums

Check the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website, for the full list of prohibited items.

Finding an International Removal Company to USA

If you’re moving to the USA from the UK, you’ll want to use an international removals company that’s reliable and trustworthy. Our international removals comparison service can connect you with up to 6 different verified companies. Compare My Move can help save you up to 70% on your international shipping costs.

Ashleigh Williams

Having written book reviews and content for For The Love of Books for over five years, Ashleigh now creates advice articles for Compare My Move, focusing on all things home-related.

Dave Sayce

Reviewed by Dave Sayce

Owner & Managing Director, Compare My Move

Dave Sayce is the owner and managing director of Compare My Move and has over 10 years of experience in the house removals industry.

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