Based on market exchange rates, the United Kingdom is the fifth-largest economy in the world and the second-largest in Europe. It is a member of the EU and the WTO. The kingdom is the world’s ninth-largest exporter and the fifth-largest importer. All exporters should be interested in learning more about how to export from the US to the United Kingdom.

The service sector contributes roughly 78 percent of the kingdom’s GDP; the financial services industry is particularly important, and London, the capital, is the world’s largest financial center, along with New York. In 2013, the United Kingdom was the leading country in Europe for inward foreign direct investment, at $26.51 billion USD.

The kingdom’s primary imports are petroleum products, cars, pharmaceuticals, and computers, and the US is among its top-five trading partners. This vast market should be of great interest to all exporters and entrepreneurs. Learn more about how to export from the US to the United Kingdom.

Full Container (FCL) or Groupage (LCL)

You have two options when shipping a container to the United Kingdom or moving overseas from the US to the United Kingdom: depending on your circumstances, you may find a full container load (FCL) or a shared container load (LCL) the better choice.

If the volume of your shipment is equal to at least half a container, then a full container load (FCL) is for you. A 40-foot container can carry 22 standard pallets, while a 20-foot container accommodates 10 standard pallets.

FCL is also your best option if you need to avoid any risk of damage to your goods that could potentially be caused by contact with other exporters’ goods.

If this is not a concern, you may want to opt for groupage-a shared container (LCL). That way, you will pay only for the space you need. Consult iContainers for rates and other important information.

Ocean Freight Routes to the United Kingdom

  • London
    The Port of London is governed by the Port of London Authority, a public trust. The port can handle cruise liners, RORO ferries and cargo of all types. In 2012, London was the second-largest port in the United Kingdom in terms of tonnage handled, at 48 million tons. The port stretches along the tidal Thames, including central London, with many individual wharfs, docks, terminals and facilities.

  • Manchester
    The Peel Ports Manchester Ship Canal is a seaway linking Manchester and Liverpool; it has 12 terminals and is 36 miles long. The canal transports around nine million tons of cargo a year. It is operated along with Liverpool under a single management team. It features deep-water berthing to bring container vessels right into the best-connected port in the United Kingdom.

  • Port of Belfast
    Belfast Harbour is Northern Ireland’s principal maritime gateway and logistics hub. The harbor handles approximately 70 percent of Northern Ireland’s maritime trade annually. The port handled more than 25 million tons of goods in 2014; in 2013, turnover exceeded $78 million USD.

Air Freight Transportation to the United Kingdom

Air freight may be more appropriate for your needs than ocean freight if your shipment is urgent or you’re working with a tight schedule. Air freight comes with some limitations related to volume and weight; consult the iContainers calculator to help you determine whether this is the right option for you.