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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 1st Sep 2022) 6 minute read

The average container shipping cost from the UK to the USA is £6,080. This figure is the average cost of shipping the entire contents of a 3-bed home in a 40ft container. Air freight shipping costs around £326 per 100kg. These figures have been taken from our international removals costs research.

When shipping goods to the USA, there are two different types to choose from - air freight and sea freight. Due to the logistics and distance, road freight isn’t a possible option. The shipping you choose will be based on budget, location and how quickly you want your belongings to arrive.

This guide will discuss all the shipping information you need for removals to the USA.

This article will cover the following:
  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. What Paperwork Do I Need to Ship Items to the USA?
  8. Finding an International Removal Company to USA

Sea Freight

The first shipping option is sea freight. This is the most popular shipping option to consider when relocating to the USA as it’s a lot cheaper in comparison to air freight.

Goods will take longer to arrive, especially when you consider the size of the USA and the logistics of shipping goods from the port to your destination. Even so, it’s more eco-friendly, and it allows you to transport more items.

Pros:

  • Lower removal cost
  • Ability to ship more items
  • Can ship motor vehicles
  • Pay for the cost of the shipping container only
  • Better for the environment
  • Part-load options

Cons:

  • Goods take significantly longer to arrive
  • Shipping is less frequent than air freight
  • Delays tend to be more common

Main USA Ports and Routes

If you choose to ship goods via sea freight, there are many US ports to choose from. In North America, the largest port is the Port of Los Angeles. Here are some of the other main ports that can be used:

  • 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
  • London Gateway

Air Freight

Air freight is the best shipping choice for those who need their goods to arrive quickly. As a result, it’s significantly more expensive as you’re paying for the convenience of this.

As there are around 5,217 airports in America overall, you have many different shipping routes and choices to consider.

Pros:

  • Fast delivery times
  • Many airports to select
  • Good security
  • Convenient and regular air freight shipping

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Not an eco-friendly option
  • Limited with the number of goods you can transport (no motor vehicles)
  • Items are charged based on weight instead of size

Main USA Airports and Routes

There are many main airports to consider when shipping to the US. In general, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the busiest and most popular option.

Some of the other major airports include:

  • Denver
  • Dallas - Fort Worth
  • Los Angeles
  • Orlando
  • Washington
  • Chicago O-Hare

When it comes to the main UK airports shipping to the US, London Heathrow is the main choice. However, Manchester airport also flies to the USA.

FCL VS LCL Shipping

It’s important to decide whether you need to ship full or part load when moving internationally. Not only will this have an impact on the total cost you pay, but it will alter the shipping times too. The option you select will depend on several things, such as:

  • Tracking options
  • Insurance
  • Duties and customs charges
  • The weight and number of items
  • The size of the items
  • Distance of the relocation

Here are the key differences between FCL and LCL shipping:

Full Container Load (FCL)

A full container load is better suited to those who are looking to move the contents of an entire house internationally. The entire shipping container will be yours to fill with your goods. There is plenty of space, and you pay for the container. As it’s only your goods being shipped they will arrive sooner than LCL.

Less Container Load (LCL)

If you don’t need to ship many goods, FCL will be more expensive and you’ll have extra space left over in the container. In this instance, less container load is better suited to you. With LCL you pay for the space you use in a container that’s shared with other people.

While it does cut overall costs significantly, it does limit the space you can have, and it will take longer to arrive due to it being shared.

Other Costs to Consider

If you’re looking into international removals to the USA, there are other cost factors you will need to look into and potentially prepare for:

Packing Services

Packing services cost £250 on average. These figures are based on the cost of a 3-bedroom house removal. However, factors such as the number of items that need to be packed, the house size, and the types of items being packed will need to be factored into the packing service prices.

The removal company will send a packing specialist to your home before your move, and they help take the stress out of moving. They use sturdy and high-quality packing materials that keep your goods safe and secure throughout the entire journey.

Pick-up and Delivery

When shipping goods to the USA, ensuring you have arranged a pick-up and delivery service is key. This is especially true if you’re moving to a more rural location.

The removals service will pick up your goods and deliver them directly to your new home. This stops movers from having to worry about how they will transport their goods when they arrive in the USA.

Many removal companies will offer a door-to-door service that’s already included in the final costs. However, you should always ask if the company offers this instead of assuming. The cost will vary on location, distance and the number of household goods.

Insurance

Purchasing your own insurance is an important part of an international move. While removal companies are insured, it’s recommended to purchase your own for additional cover. Typically, international removals insurance will cost around 4% of the total costs of your household goods.

The policy you choose and its price will change based on the distance travelled, and how your items are shipped, and it can vary from state to state. Shipment Protection Cover or a Maritime insurance policy are often recommended.

All the international removal partners we work with have Public Liability and Goods in Transit insurance. This means they are reliable and trustworthy, providing you with peace of mind when using their services.

How Long Does Shipping Take?

Due to the size of the USA, the shipping times can vary within each shipping option. As a result, it really does depend on the location of your move. For air freight, the shipping time is typically 8-10 days.

For sea freight, it will take on average 30-40 days for your items to arrive, which is reasonable given the distance travelled.

However, if you’re shipping an LCL to the East Coast this can take up to 11 weeks. To the West Coast, this can be anywhere up to 14 weeks.

Prohibited Items to USA

There are a number of items you’re prohibited to ship into the USA. Some of these include:

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

For the full list of prohibited items, check the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website.

What Paperwork Do I Need to Ship Items to the USA?

If you’re shipping goods to the US, you’re required to provide the following paperwork:

  • U.S. Customers Invoice
  • Commercial invoice
  • Detailed packing list
  • Air waybill
  • Bill of Lading
  • Certificate of Origin
  • HS Code
  • Import Customs Declaration

If you don’t provide this paperwork, your goods may not clear customs. There will also be significant delays between your goods being delivered and being able to retrieve them.

Finding an International Removal Company to USA

Here at Compare My Move, we can match you with up to 6 different trusted and verified international removals partners.

All our partners are fully insured, and experienced, providing you with peace of mind during your move. With our service, we can help you save up to 70% on your international move.

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.