How Much to Ship a Container from UK to USA


Are you planning to move to the USA with more than just the clothes on your back and a small bag? if yes, then you’re likely interested in looking  into the process of shipping furniture from the UK to the USA. Fortunately for you, we’ve already done some of the leg work and we’re happy to share with you what we’ve found. We’ll take at a look at the cost of shipping a container from the UK to the USA, some terms you might encounter (where knowing them could save you money), and some of the other expense that you could face as you prepare to take your treasured possessions to the USA.

The Cost of Shipping Furniture from the UK to the USA

Let’s jump into the meat of it, how much does it cost to ship a container from the UK to the USA? Unfortunately, the USA is not a small country, so there’s considerable variation in the costs depending on whether you’re shipping furniture to America’s west coast, east coast, or the middle of the country. And with the distance and route the container takes playing a role in the price of shipping a container from the UK to the USA, it’s no wonder it gets a little complicated with the numbers. However, we’ve done some calculations so you can get some idea as to how much shipping from London to the USA’s different geographical regions will cost.

East Coast

The first geographical region we’ll tackle is the populous east coast. With the exciting city of New York along its shore, as well as the beaches of Florida, it encompasses quite a few of the more populated destinations. 

As for the price, you can see the cost of shipping a 20ft and 40ft container from the UK to the east coast below. The main difference is size, but space comes at a premium on a ship, so it has an outsized effect on the cost.

  • 20ft shipping container – £1,800 – £2,100
  • 40ft shipping container – £3,000 – £3,500

You might also be curious about how long shipping from the UK to the USA takes. For the east coast, you can expect your belongings to arrive within at least 4-5 weeks -all things consider, that’s not bad a timeframe. 

West Coast

Second, skirting on down through the Panama Canal (lucky you don’t have to go around South America, which would add months), there’s the other side of the States with popular destinations like San Francisco, Los Angles, Seattle, and more. 

Similarly, we have provided estimations for the cost of shipping a container from the UK to the USA’s west coast for you below:

  • 20ft shipping container – £2,200 – £2,600
  • 40ft shipping container – £3,900 – £4,500

As for the shipping from the UK to the USA time, you can expect a container being sent to the east coast to take between 6-7 weeks. We know… that’s nearly two months! So, when shipping furniture to America’s west coast, it’s important to keep the duration in mind.

Middle America

If you’re moving anywhere from Michigan to Texas, you can expect a rate in between that of the east and west coast, as it is the middle of America. 

Below, you can see an expected range for the cost of shipping a container to the middle of America. As it covers a larger geographical, the ranges are a bit more variable, and you should remember that these figures are estimates and may not reflect the final cost.

  • 20ft shipping container – £1,900 – £2,400
  • 40ft shipping container – £3,400 – £4,100

As for the shipping time from the UK to the Middle of the USA, it can take anywhere between 4-6 weeks on average. 

Of course, there are a plethora of factors that influence the cost of shipping a container from the UK to the USA besides the distance.  The best way to control the effect of these factors on your final removal price is to know what they are. To learn more about this, make sure to click here!

Important Shipping Terms

If you’ve never undertaken the process of shipping furniture from the UK to the USA, there might be some terms that you could encounter that are bound to leave you bemused! Fortunately, we’re here to give you the 411 on the most important terms that could help to save some money.


If you remember from the paragraphs above, the costs were listed in terms of shipping container sizes. As a result, you might have been at a loss as to how that relates to household sizes. Well, it depends a little on how much you own, but in general, a 3-bedroom house will fit in a 20ft container, while a 40ft container will be more suited for a house that is 4-bedrooms or more.


If your belongings amount to enough to fill a container, then you’ll be opting for Full Container Load (FCL). It’s a full load, and the container will just be for your goods.


You’ve likely wondered: what happens if your belongings don’t fully fill a container? In that case, Less Container Load (LCL) will be an option for you. Instead of shipping a container that is half empty, the container will be shared with another person. This is great as it can reduce the costs as you will both pay. However, it can delay the shipping of the container as it needs to wait to be filled.

Delivery Options

Another important option is the delivery. There are usually three options, each with advantages and disadvantages, depending on your preference and budget.


If you like a challenge, why not opt to bring your belongings to the port! We really mean this, a container will be made available for you at the port, but you must organise the transport of your belongings to the port.


For less of a challenge, you can opt to have a container delivered to your preferred location and then fill the container at your leisure. This is easier as you can have the container closer to home, but you’ll be responsible for filling the container.


The option preferred by most, as a door-to-door service is such a stress relief. The company will help you fill the container when shipping furniture from the UK to the USA. It may be the most expensive option, but it’s reassuring to have a professional to pack your goods into the container. 

Custom Duties

There’s one other thing that you’ll ned to be aware of when shipping furniture from the UK to the USA, and that’s the role that customs will play when it comes to the costs. We’re happy to report that, normally, you can export your belongings to the USA without any custom duties being applied if you have owned them for more than a year. This means that you may be asked to provide documentation that you have owned the item for a year. So, we highly recommend that you avoid buying new items within a year of your move unless extremely necessary. 

You can read more about the custom duty on imported personal goods on the US Customs and Border Protection’s page.


Shipping from the UK to the USA isn’t a massive difficulty as there are plenty of routes and options available for you. You just need to plan a little bit ahead for the cost and the time it can take for a container to cross the Atlantic. 

Lastly, before you and your belongings head state side, be sure to sort out your visa, if you need one, and also your tax situation. Keep in mind that you’ll need to inform HMRC that you’ll be living abroad.  We wish you the best of luck with your move!


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