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The Guide to Sea Freight Services in the UK

The Guide to Sea Freight Services in the UK


In today’s globalised world, sea freight stands as a cornerstone of international trade, with approximately 55,000 commercial vessels navigating the world’s oceans. Astonishingly, 90% of the goods and food we consume in the UK are delivered via these maritime routes. This underscores the vital role that sea freight plays in our daily lives. Our team of international freight specialists at Containerlift have compiled this in-depth guide to provide you with a thorough understanding of sea freight—what it is, how it operates, its costs, and the time it takes to ship goods to your desired location.

What Exactly is Sea Freight?

Sea freight refers to the large-scale transportation of goods using cargo ships. These goods are securely packed into containers and then loaded onto a vessel for shipping. Not only is this method highly cost-effective for transporting large quantities over vast distances, but it also has a lower carbon footprint compared to other freight options like air, rail, and road transport. Moreover, sea freight offers greater leniency when it comes to shipping hazardous materials. However, it’s worth noting that sea freight is generally slower and less suitable for smaller shipments.

The Sea Freight Process in the UK: Simplified

Navigating the intricacies of sea freight in the UK is made considerably easier with the assistance of freight forwarding companies like Containerlift. Here’s how it works:

  • Engage a Freight Forwarder: A freight forwarder will manage the logistics and documentation, ensuring compliance with complex import and customs regulations.
  • Goods Collection: Your goods are collected from the supplier and prepared for shipping.
  • Customs Clearance: The shipment is cleared through the destination’s customs.
  • Loading and Shipping: Your goods are loaded onto the ship for transport to the UK.
  • Arrival and Processing: Upon reaching the UK, the shipment undergoes UK customs processing. Goods are unpacked and delivered to your specified location via lorry

The Cost Factors of Sea Freight

The cost of sea freight is influenced by several variables, including:

  • Quantity of goods
  • Shipping ports
  • Seasonal demand
  • Type of shipment (door-to-door or port-to-port)

For a personalised quote, don’t hesitate to contact our friendly team.

Timeframes for Sea Freight Shipments

The duration of sea freight shipping is contingent on various factors such as distance, seasonal demand, and the type of shipment. Containerlift operates globally, with key shipping duration examples as follows:


  • China: Approximately 6 weeks
  • Australia: Around 40 days
  • Turkey: Between 9 and 19 days


Why Choose Containerlift for Your Sea Freight Needs?

We offer a comprehensive range of sea freight services.  Our equipment inventory includes 20ft and 40ft General Purpose containers, high cubes, reefers, open tops, and flat racks, available for shipments in all directions.

Contact Us

To learn more about how Containerlift can assist you with your sea freight requirements, speak to our experts today at +44 (0)1371 879400.

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