Like many websites, Shipa Freight uses cookies to personalize your browsing experience.

International Shipping from the UK: Ocean and Air Freight

FCL, LCL and Air freight forwarding: information and online quote

Global Air & Ocean CoverageGlobal Air & Ocean Coverage
24X7 Customer Support24X7 Customer Support
500 Offices in Over 100 Countries500 Offices in Over 100 Countries

As you might expect from a country with a rich history of trade and commerce, it is not hard to find international shipping companies in UK cities, towns, and ports that will carry your commercial freight to overseas destinations. However, instead of trying to decide between them, you should find it a lot faster, and easier, to let Shipa Freight…

· Find carriers offering affordable rates on the right route; · Supply you with a competitive quote; · Compile all the information necessary to complete and submit customs declarations; · Deal with all the complexities of air or ocean freight shipping.

We’re committed to helping small and medium-sized enterprises simplify the business of international shipping from the UK. However, if you are new to the processes involved, it can still help to understand the basics yourself.

That’s why we have put together this page of helpful information about UK outbound shipping. Most shipping companies in the UK will share this information freely, but only after you approach them with the intention of using their services.

text

Shipping from UK Ports and Airports: Standards and Requirements

We have provided the details in this section purely as informative measure. As a Shipa Freight customer, you will not have to worry unduly about the obligations described here, as we take care of most border formalities, including the preparation and submission of documents on your behalf.

As in most countries, the standards and requirements for exports are less complex than for shipments coming into the country. As the United Kingdom is currently a member state of the European Union (EU) though, export controls and standards can be a little complicated to understand.

For example, the standards and procedures for shipping from the UK to another EU country are different from those for shipping outside of the European Union.

Countries outside of the EU are known as “third countries.” When goods leave the UK to go directly to these countries, it is known as direct export. However, if you ship goods to another EU country, from which they are then sent outside of the EU, the process is known as indirect export.

Intra-EU Shipping vs. Exports to Third Countries

Documentation requirements differ for each of these export processes. For instance, an Export Accompanying Document (EAD) must accompany shipments leaving the UK for indirect export, whereas this is not required for direct exports.

In fact, while sending goods to other EU countries is as much an act of international shipping from the UK as sending them to say, the United States, your intra-EU goods may not even require an export declaration. When shipping goods directly to a third country though, your freight forwarder in the UK must make an electronic export declaration before the customs service will release them.

Export declarations for international shipping from the UK, where required, must be lodged in advance of certain specified deadlines. The time limits are as follows:

  • For deep-sea containerized cargo, declarations must be submitted no later than 24 hours before they are due to be loaded on the vessel.
  • For short-sea containerized cargo, declarations must be submitted no later than 2 hours before they are due to leave port.
  • For non-containerized cargo, declarations must be submitted no later than 2 hours before the vessel is due to depart.
  • For air freight, declarations must be lodged no later than 30 minutes before the aircraft departs.

While it is possible for your company to make the declaration, many shippers prefer to use the services of local freight companies, UK customs brokers, or an online freight forwarder like Shipa Freight for export declarations and preparation of other necessary documentation.

UK Restricted Exports

The British government is not especially restrictive about exports. But as in the majority of countries, does apply specific sets of regulations to certain goods. They may also control their exportation by way of licensing.

Exports that are regulated or controlled include:

  • Military products or products that can be used for military purposes
  • Agricultural products and processed foods
  • Works of art and antiques
  • Controlled drugs or their component materials
  • Dangerous chemicals

You can find further information about restricted exports and other matters related to UK customs standards, requirements, and procedures on the UK government's website, which has a useful section called “Exporting Goods Outside the EU”.

International Shipping from UK Ocean Freight Terminals

The following information will help you to familiarize yourself with some of the main ocean freight routes for shipping from the United Kingdom. While the information here only covers port-to-port shipping legs, Shipa Freight also offers port-to-door and door-to-door transportation to locations in 100 countries worldwide.

text

Busiest Trade Lanes for UK Shipping

For many international shipping companies, UK trading relationships with the United States keep the revenue rolling in at a healthy rate. In fact, shipping from the UK to the US is so popular that it has made the ocean routes between the two countries some of the busiest on the globe.

If you’d like to know just which routes are the most popular for international shipping from the UK, the following five would take some beating, given the sheer numbers of cargo vessels traversing them at any one time:

  • Southampton to Rotterdam (Netherlands)
  • Southampton to Le Havre (France)
  • Felixstowe to Baltimore (United States)
  • Felixstowe to Savannah (United States)
  • Felixstowe to Norfolk (United States)

Which Routes Have the Longest and Shortest Transit Times?

The longest transit times for international shipping from UK ports are encountered by businesses sending freight to Australia and New Zealand. Goods dispatched on the route from London Gateway Port to Adelaide in Australia can be at sea for up to 50 days.

The shortest routes are those connecting Southampton, Felixstowe, and London Gateway with Le Havre in France, Antwerp in Belgium, and Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Container ships can navigate these short hops across the English Channel in as little as one day.

Key Routes for UK Outbound Ocean Freight

To the Americas

Port of Origin Destination Country Destination Port Approximate Duration
London Gateway Brazil Paranagua 25 Days
London Gateway Brazil Itapoa 34 Days
Southampton Mexico Altamira 19 Days
Felixstowe United States Norfolk 16 Days
Felixstowe United States Savannah 18 Days
Felixstowe United States Baltimore 14 Days
Felixstowe United States New York 11 Days
Felixstowe United States Seattle 19 Days
London Gateway United States Seattle 23 Days
London Gateway United States New York 15 Days
Southampton United States New York 15 Days
Southampton United States Seattle 23 Days
Southampton United States New York 15 Days
Southampton United States Savannah 20 Days
Southampton United States Charleston 22 Days

To Europe

Port of Origin Destination Country Destination Port Approximate Duration
Felixstowe Belgium Antwerp 4 Days
London Gateway Belgium Antwerp 4 Days
Southampton Belgium Antwerp 3 Days
Felixstowe Cyprus Limassol 16 Days
Felixstowe Finland Kotka 4 Days
Southampton France Le Havre 1 Day
Felixstowe France Le Havre 2 Days
London Gateway Germany Hamburg 3 Days
Southampton Germany Hamburg 3 Days
Felixstowe Germany Hamburg 2 Days
Southampton Germany Bremerhaven 3 Days
Felixstowe Germany Bremerhaven 2 Days
London Gateway Germany Bremerhaven 5 Days
Felixstowe Netherlands Rotterdam 2 Days
Southampton Netherlands Rotterdam 2 Days
Grangemouth Netherlands Rotterdam 3 Days
London Gateway Netherlands Rotterdam 3 Days
Southampton Spain Valencia 21 Days
London Gateway Spain Valencia 21 Days
Felixstowe Spain Valencia 28 Days
Felixstowe Sweden Gothenburg 2 Days

To Asia and Oceania

Port of Origin Destination Country Destination Port Approximate Duration
London Gateway Australia Melbourne 44 Days
London Gateway Australia Adelaide 50 Days
Felixstowe China Xiamen 45 Days
Felixstowe China Ningbo 37 Days
Felixstowe China Shanghai 34 Days
Felixstowe China Qingdao 37 Days
Felixstowe China Shenzhen 37 Days
Felixstowe China Guangzhou 33 Days
Felixstowe China Tianjin 53 Days
Felixstowe China Dalian 42 Days
Felixstowe China Lianyungang 50 Days
Felixstowe China Nanjing 50 Days
London Gateway China Dalian 42 Days
London Gateway China Qingdao 50 Days
London Gateway China Guangzhou 33 Days
London Gateway China Ningbo 37 Days
London Gateway China Shenzhen 37 Days
London Gateway China Shanghai 41 Days
London Gateway China Tianjin 50 Days
London Gateway China Xiamen 45 Days
London Gateway China Lianyungang 50 Days
London Gateway China Nanjing 50 Days
Southampton China Shanghai 43 Days
Southampton China Shenzhen 37 Days
Southampton China Ningbo 37 Days
Southampton China Guangzhou 33 Days
Southampton China Qingdao 47 Days
Southampton China Tianjin 50 Days
Southampton China Dalian 42 Days
Southampton China Xiamen 45 Days
Southampton China Lianyungang 50 Days
Southampton China Nanjing 50 Days
Southampton Hong Kong Hong Kong 40 Days
London Gateway Hong Kong Hong Kong 40 Days
Felixstowe Hong Kong Hong Kong 33 Days
Felixstowe India Mundra 35 Days
London Gateway Indonesia Surabaya 42 Days
Southampton Indonesia Surabaya 42 Days
Southampton Indonesia Jakarta 42 Days
London Gateway Indonesia Jakarta 42 Days
Felixstowe Indonesia Jakarta 42 Days
Felixstowe Indonesia Surabaya 42 Days
London Gateway Japan Kobe 41 Days
London Gateway Japan Yokohama 45 Days
Felixstowe Japan Kobe 41 Days
Felixstowe Japan Yokohama 45 Days
Southampton Japan Kobe 41 Days
Southampton Japan Yokohama 45 Days
Felixstowe Malaysia Port Klang 45 Days
Southampton Malaysia Port Klang 26 Days
London Gateway Malaysia Port Klang 45 Days
Felixstowe Malaysia Tanjung Pelepas 38 Days
London Gateway Malaysia Tanjung Pelepas 38 Days
Southampton Malaysia Tanjung Pelepas 38 Days
London Gateway New Zealand Auckland 40 Days
London Gateway New Zealand Christchurch 46 Days
London Gateway Philippines Manila 41 Days
Felixstowe Philippines Manila 41 Days
Southampton Philippines Manila 41 Days
London Gateway Singapore Singapore 35 Days
Felixstowe Singapore Singapore 26 Days
Southampton Singapore Singapore 36 Days
Felixstowe South Korea Busan 41 Days
London Gateway South Korea Busan 48 Days
Southampton South Korea Busan 48 Days
Felixstowe Sri Lanka Colombo 28 Days
Felixstowe Taiwan Kaohsiung 37 Days
London Gateway Taiwan Kaohsiung 37 Days
Southampton Taiwan Kaohsiung 37 Days
Felixstowe Thailand Laem Chabang 45 Days
London Gateway Thailand Laem Chabang 45 Days
Southampton Thailand Laem Chabang 45 Days
Southampton Vietnam Hai Phong 42 Days
London Gateway Vietnam Hai Phong 42 Days
Felixstowe Vietnam Hai Phong 42 Days
Southampton Vietnam Ho Chi Minh City 41 Days
London Gateway Vietnam Ho Chi Minh City 41 Days
Felixstowe Vietnam Ho Chi Minh City 41 Days

International Shipping from the UK: Air Freight Guide

The following information covers some of the main air freight routes for shipping from the United States. While the information here only covers airport-to-airport shipping legs, Shipa Freight also offers port-to-door and door-to-door transportation to locations in 100 countries.

text

Which Air Freight Routes Are the Busiest?

For air freight heading out of the United Kingdom, transatlantic routes tend to be some of the busiest, particularly those serving the UK-USA trade lane. In fact, air freight connections to the United States take up three places on our following list of top five outbound routes:

  • London Heathrow to New York (United States)
  • London Heathrow to Frankfurt (Germany)
  • London Heathrow to Paris (France)
  • London Heathrow to Los Angeles (United States)
  • London Heathrow to Chicago (United States)

Which Are the Longest and Shortest Routes for Air Freight?

When selecting shipping services, UK exporters must often consider transit time. Ocean freight may simply be too slow for certain types of shipments. While air freight is more expensive, it is also the quickest way to move time-sensitive or high-value goods.

Fastest UK Freight Services Fly Within the EU

This is why you might wish to choose air freight even if your shipment is not leaving the EU. With the shortest routes—like the one between London and Frankfurt in Germany—involving a flight lasting under an hour, air freight will have your customers’ orders in their hands long before the fastest trucking service.

Of course, that’s why delivery companies in the UK and their international counterparts rely so heavily on air cargo services to ship parcels around Europe. Even when your shipment comprises pallets rather than individual packages, air freight can often be worth the extra expense.

Longest Air Freight Transit Times from the UK

While it is not so common to use air freight for the longest trade lanes, there may certainly be occasions when your business needs to do so. However, it is important to remember that direct exports to non-EU countries will spend some time waiting for customs clearance.

Even the longest flights, like the route from Heathrow to Perth in Australia (taking around 17 hours) offer a massive advantage in speed compared to ocean shipping. For some businesses, this can be a crucial strategy enabler, especially when importing or exporting high-end luxury goods or perishables.

Air Freight: Cargo Routes from the United Kingdom

In the following lists, you can find some examples of cargo flights originating in the UK. Don’t worry if you can’t see a route below that meets your needs. Shipping companies in the UK and online freight forwarders (such as Shipa Freight) will have many more flights in their databases, and should have no trouble finding a flight for your trade lane of choice.

To America

Airport of Origin Destination Country Destination Airport Approximate Duration
Glasgow United States New York 7 Hours
London Heathrow United States Houston 10 Hours
London Heathrow United States New York 8 Hours
London Heathrow United States Denver 10 Hours
London Heathrow United States Miami 9 Hours
London Heathrow United States San Francisco 11 Hours
London Heathrow United States Boston 7 Hours
London Heathrow United States Los Angeles 11 Hours
London Heathrow United States Detroit 8 Hours
London Heathrow United States Philadelphia 8 Hours
Manchester United States New York 8 Hours
Manchester United States San Francisco 9 Hours
Manchester United States Philadelphia 8 Hours

To Europe

Airport of Origin Destination Country Destination Airport Approximate Duration
London Heathrow Austria Vienna 2 Hours
London Heathrow France Paris 1 Hour
Birmingham Germany Frankfurt 1 Hour
Manchester Germany Frankfurt 1 Hour

To Asia and Oceania

Airport of Origin Destination Country Destination Airport Approximate Duration
London Heathrow Australia Perth 17 Hours
London Heathrow Japan Tokyo 11 Hours
London Heathrow Hong Kong Hong Kong 12 Hours
London Heathrow China Shanghai 12 Hours
Manchester Hong Kong Hong Kong 11 Hours
Manchester Singapore Singapore 14 Hours
London Heathrow Singapore Singapore 14 Hours

Online Freight Services for UK Commerce

If you found the information on this page helpful, Shipa Freight has much more to offer. We’re an online freight forwarder, but that doesn’t mean you’re limited to the information you see on our website.

If your shipping needs are complex, just contact us and speak with one of our global logistics experts, who will be able to help you with all the information and arrangements that you need.

Alternatively, if you just want to obtain a freight quote, book, pay, and track your shipment online, our easy-to-use platform is just a click away.

“With Shipa Freight, I could do everything from quotation to booking with just a click”.

Follow us and be up to date on shipping News!

Facebook

Twitter

LinkedIn

Get instant global freight rates