Shipping Machinery From the UK by Sea

Nov 30, 2020 | United Kingdom

shipping machinery from UK

When you are shipping machinery from the UK to the USA, you have the option of air or sea freight. While it takes longer, sea freight is more cost-effective, particularly when you are handling heavier cargo. At Texas International Freight, we offer a number of solutions for your freight forwarding needs.

The United States is the number one export country for the United Kingdom and there has even been a significant increase since 2017. In 2019, 15.7% of all of the UK’s exports reached this market, comprising $57.6 billion worth of goods by November by that year. A wide range of goods is imported to the USA from the United Kingdom, from motor vehicles to works of art.

Types of Freight Forwarding

Around 90% of world trade is transported by sea, with 70% of that as cargo in containers. Most cargo imported to the United States will be shipped in containers, and you can choose between full container load (FCL) and less-than-container load (LCL) depending on your shipment, budget, and timescale. At Texas International Freight, we also offer break bulk and Ro/Ro for shipping heavy machinery or vehicles by sea.

Are you looking to ship heavy machinery from a UK port? Here we break down the different options available to you and what kinds of cargo they are suitable for.

Full Container Load (FCL)

This type of shipment is used when you have enough goods to fill an entire shipping container, whether that is a 20-foot or 40-foot one. While it may seem pricier, for regular consignments of large shipments, the FCL method should be more economical and more secure as, in theory, your goods will only be handled at loading and unloading. To get some idea of size, a 20-foot container will hold up to 10 standard pallets and a 40-foot one up to 22.

Less-Than-Container (LCL)

As the name suggests, this method is for shipping cargo that will not fill an entire container. If your cargo is smaller, you can pay for space in a shared container, and this is the best option for cargo that is not particularly fragile. It is quite cost-effective but will take longer than FCL as the container is only shipped when full. Consequently, it is important to factor extra time into your schedule.

One potential drawback is that your cargo will be handled more often than with FCL because other types of cargo will be shipped in your container. If this is not a concern for you, then LCL would be the ideal choice for your smaller, non-urgent shipments.

Break Bulk

This term is used to refer to cargo that is not shipped in a container and must be loaded and unloaded from a cargo ship individually using a crane. Shipments of this kind might be transported in bags, crates and barrels as well as other forms of storage. Among the most common goods transported this way, you will find manufacturing or construction equipment, vehicles and steel girders. At Texas International Freight, we are old hands at transporting break bulk cargo, requiring a specific type of logistical experience.


Ro/Ro is short for roll-on/roll-off. A freight ship of this kind will transport cargo that can be rolled onto and off the vessel using its own wheels via a ramp, such as cars. An example of this might be a passenger ferry with space for passenger vehicles. For Texas International Freight, that can mean shipping working vehicles like tractors or high-speed cars for sport or leisure.

Cargo on Ro/Ro vessels differs from other cargo in that is measured in LIMs and not metric tons. LIM means lanes in meters and is calculated by measuring the cargo length in meters by the number of decks and by its width in lanes. Consequently, this will vary between vessels.

One of the key advantages of this method is speed; loading and unloading time is greatly reduced because vehicles can be driven on and off the ship. Additionally, other types of freight transportation can be combined with Ro/Ro: it’s relatively straightforward to ship containers on a Ro/Ro vessel. Over 94% of the Ro/Ro trade between the USA and the UK are imports to the USA.

At Texas International Freight, we are well experienced in shipping machinery by sea between the United Kingdom and the USA and we are available to answer any questions you have. We will be able to find the right freight forwarding option for you. Get in touch with Texas International Freight for a quote.

Texas International Freight ships all over the world, to destinations including the UK, Netherlands, Germany, Russia, Norway, Nigeria, Angola, South Africa, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Peru, China, Singapore, Australia, Vietnam, India, Saudi Arabia, Dubai and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Libya, Syria, Kuwait, Iraq, Oman, Yemen, Egypt, Israel, Turkey, Spain, Algeria, Asia at large and many other countries besides.