Cheapest Ways to Ship from the US to the UK Explained

December 6, 2023
6 min read

USA to UK Shipping Costs Explained

The United States of America and the United Kingdom are close allies in bilateral trade and their shared ideologies on free speech, open markets and open governments. With these similarities, both countries are in the top six of the world’s largest economies, so it’s a no-brainer that several thousand packages travel between them daily. However, with the value-added taxes, surcharges and other applicable fees added to shipping costs, especially since Brexit, it’s become significantly costly to ship from the USA to the UK.

Consumers don’t want to deal with normal shipping costs on a good day. So, it’s safe to conclude that increased shipping costs will further discourage the average consumer from making purchases. High shipping costs will also stifle the eCommerce brand’s sales and profit margin. These inconveniences are why over 65% of eCommerce businesses offer the ‘free shipping’ incentive for different products and price caps. This strategy encourages more consumers to shop and increases the business’ average order value (AOV). So, the problem is solved, right? Not quite.

Shipping costs aren’t exclusive to consumers alone. Merchants, exporters and eCommerce brands also deal with shipping costs, as fulfilment providers, carriers and freight companies will not ship massive inventories for free. For instance, small and medium-sized eCommerce businesses that seek expansion into other countries (from the US to the UK) will bear the cost of shipping in bulk to warehouses and fulfilment centres in other countries.

So, for US-based eCommerce brands, suppliers and merchants that seek expansion into the United Kingdom, it’s best to go with a provider that offers the cheapest and most robust USA-to-UK shipping services. But first, why do these costs have to run so high? What constitutes shipping costs, and how much does shipping from the US to the UK cost? By understanding the constituents and intricacies of shipping costs, you can gain insight into the best practices for mitigating them.

Key Points

  • The United States of America and the United Kingdom are kindred spirits in many aspects, including their economies. 
  • Both countries send and receive millions of packages, inventories and parcels from around the world daily. This translates to billions in shipping costs from individuals, merchants, exporters, suppliers, companies and eCommerce businesses. 
  • Many factors influence shipping costs between the USA and the UK, like mode of transportation, product weight, travelled distance or location. Knowing these factors helps in the development of cost-mitigation strategies. 
  • While the average 3PL company charges $16 to deliver a package of 2kg from the United States to the United Kingdom, Bezos enables you to save about 80% of that. 
  • With such mouth-watering cost-saving offerings, you would think our solutions would be sub-par. On the contrary, our full-service fulfilment solutions are AI-enabled and permit individuals and businesses to automate several stages of the eCommerce supply chain. 
  • So, you get innovative yet comprehensive shipping and order fulfilment solutions for a fraction of the price. Talk about a good deal!

Factors that affect USA to UK shipping costs

Shipping is one of the most critical aspects of running an eCommerce business, and it may well be the business’s largest expense. Many processes go into order shipping and fulfilment, from inventory shipping to warehousing and delivery, which probably justifies its high costs sometimes. However, these shipping costs are also influenced by several variables, and understanding them can help mitigate costs wherever possible. These variables include the following:

  • Package weight and dimensions
  • Package destination
  • Delivery timeframe
  • Inventory value
  • Mode of shipping
  • Surcharges and customs.

Package weight and dimensions

Dropshippers, 3PL companies and carriers work with a weight-to-cost ratio. Thus, the higher the billable weight of a shipment, the more its shipping costs. This is why shipping a television from the US to the UK costs less than shipping a car or a boat. The weight and dimensions of the shipment determine the cost of its shipping. Besides weight, dimensions like size and occupied space also affect the shipping cost. Odd-sized packages that are non-stackable or cylindrical usually attract handling surcharges. So, you might want to box that parcel better to avoid getting charged for them.

Package destination

Shipping from the US to the UK involves travelling over the Atlantic Ocean. Although it might have taken the British anywhere from three weeks to four months to make this tour in the 19th century, today’s strong postal networks make this achievable in under a week, especially with an efficient fulfilment partner. Regardless, the inventory’s destination is another major influence on the shipping costs. 

The destination from the point of origin determines the travelled distance, and the longer the distance, the higher the shipping costs. These carriers and fulfilment providers use dynamic geographic zones to estimate the distance a shipment needs to travel to reach its destination.

Mode of shipping

Orders, packages, parcels and inventories can be shipped differently. From air to land, rail and sea, merchants and eCommerce brands get to choose their preferred modes of transportation. However, it’s worth mentioning that air freight is charged the highest shipping costs, while land, ocean and rail are the cheaper options. However, ocean freight is the safest and cheapest way to go when shipping from one transatlantic country to another (US to UK).

Delivery timeframe

The strong postal networks between the US and the UK make fast shipping and deliveries possible. Despite this, some merchants and individuals opt for shorter delivery timeframes, which alters the shipping costs. Different carriers and third-party logistics companies offer delivery options with various delivery times. For instance, the standard delivery option can take anywhere from 6-10 business days. On the other hand, same-day and next-day deliveries require the carrier to work with less time. The latter options would involve employees of such 3PL companies picking up extra shifts, which would be compensated with increased shipping costs. 

So, eCommerce businesses and merchants should always stick to the standard delivery options unless it’s a high-priority shipment.

Inventory value

The value of your shipment affects its shipping cost. This can happen in several scenarios. For instance, if you make an outrageous purchase worth a thousand pounds on a US eCommerce site like Home Depot, your order would cost more than someone purchasing a dress worth a hundred pounds. Sure, the dress weighs less than a thousand GBP order, and weight could still be the influencing factor here.

But what if you order a designer bag that weighs little and want it shipped to the UK? In this scenario, the bag’s value would influence the shipping costs, and you’d likely be prompted to purchase shipping insurance. This insurance could cost 0.3 to 0.5 per cent of the shipment’s worth. 

Apart from shipping insurance, some luxury brands and eCommerce companies offer exclusive and more-secure shipping options, which could further increase shipping costs.

Surcharges and customs

International shipments from the US to the UK are subject to customs and duty fees, which could be paid with shipping, separately or during delivery. The exact amount of customs and duties differ from one carrier to another, but they typically depend on the shipment’s worth. Usually, customs is a calculated percentage of the shipment’s value. For instance, if your US-to-UK shipment exceeds £135, you would likely incur a 2.5% customs charge. However, the precise amount would depend on HMRC (His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs). 

On the other hand, surcharges may be added to the shipping costs. They’re meant to cushion any inconvenience the carrier experiences when shipping your inventory. Surcharges usually cover;

  • Fuel - Especially with the fluctuating price of petroleum.
  • Address change - If your carrier has to work with updated address information.
  • Weekend deliveries - If the carrier has to pick up extra shifts or work overtime to deliver on weekends
  • Odd-sized packages - If the package is cylindrical or non-stackable, you’ll be charged handling surcharges.
  • Remote locations - For the inconvenience of navigating through remote locations.
  • Dangerous goods - If the shipment is risky to a person or other shipments.


Valued added taxes (VAT) can be added to your US-to-UK shipment by the carrier. These taxes can be added when shipping common and uncommon items like;

Common items (VAT=20% shipment value)


Bottled water

Clothes and shoes (14 years and above)

Confectionaries and sweets

Calendars and diaries

Carbonated drinks

Nuts (roasted, shelled, salted)


Uncommon items (VAT=5% shipment value)

Fish (dead or alive)


Clothes and shoes (under 14 years)

Dairy (Milk, butter and cheese)

Newspapers and magazines

Meat and poultry

Nuts (raw)

Fruits and vegetables

To avoid getting slapped with high VAT charges as a merchant or eCommerce business, you should check with your 3PL’s shipping policy to see who’s entitled to pay the VAT, you or your customer. If the latter is the case, an accurate breakdown of shipping costs, taxes and customs should be clearly stated on your sales front to enable the customers to make an informed decision on purchasing your products or not. 

Now that we’ve highlighted a handful of factors that can influence shipping costs for merchants and consumers, we can begin to analyse the average shipping cost for US-to-UK orders.

Cost of shipping from the USA to the UK with different providers

Shipping costs from the USA to the UK vary from one 3PL provider or carrier to the next. Each provider has a different set of shipping costs depending on the chosen service, weight, dimensions and delivery speed. Here’s an overview of the US-to-UK shipping costs by different 3PL providers.


Service: Global Express Guaranteed

Max weight: 70lbs (32kg)

Delivery speed: 1-3 business days

Starting Price: $71.10

Insurance (if available): Up to $100 insurance included

Service: Priority Mail Express International

Max weight: 70lbs (32kg)

Delivery speed: 3-5 business days

Starting Price: $54.75

Insurance (if available): $100 (non-negotiable) for documents, $200 for merchandise

Service: Priority Mail International

Max weight: 70lbs (32kg)

Delivery speed: 6-10 business days

Starting Price: $30.35

Insurance (if available): $100 (non-negotiable) for documents, $200 for merchandise

Service: First Class Package International Service

Max weight: 4lbs (2kg)

Delivery speed: Varies by destination

Starting Price: $15.75

Insurance (if available): Not available

Service: First Class Mail International

Max weight: 1lb (0.45kg)

Delivery speed: Varies by destination

Starting Price: $2.90

Insurance (if available): Not available

Service: Airmail

Max weight: 66lbs (30kg)

Delivery speed: Varies by destination

Starting Price: $55.00

Insurance (if available): Not available


Service: International Priority Express

Max weight: 10kg-25kg 

Delivery speed: Varies by destination

Starting Price: £104-£185.30

Insurance (if available): Available on request

Service: International Priority

Max weight: 10kg-25kg 

Delivery speed: Varies by destination

Starting Price: £104-£185.30

Insurance (if available): Available on request


Service: International Express

Max weight: 25kg 

Delivery speed: 3-6 business days

Starting Price: £180.52

Insurance (if available): Available on request

While this outline of updated shipping costs by reputable carriers gives one a general idea of what to expect, it’s subject to change. Hence, contacting the courier is the best way to get their most recent US-to-UK shipping estimates.

Bezos’ USA-to-UK shipping cost

At Bezos, our US-to-UK shipping costs vary from one eCommerce brand to the next. Each client has unique requirements, from order volume to desired services. As a full-service fulfilment partner, we ship, pick, receive, pack, warehouse and deliver orders from eCommerce brands to their customers. While one client may want all our robust AI-enabled services, the next might want only warehousing and delivery. Hence, our pricing metric is flexible to accommodate each client’s preferences. Nevertheless, just so you can understand how affordable our robust shipping solutions are, here’s an excerpt from our pricing manual.

Shipment value: £70

Shipment weight: 2kg

Shipment dimensions: L 45cm W 35cm D 16cm

Delivery speed: Next day delivery

Comparing this pricing excerpt with other 3PL companies would reveal how significantly cheaper Bezos’ shipping costs are. With affordability on your side, the world is your eCommerce brand’s oyster, as you can ship worldwide, especially with our 63 fulfilment centres in 17 countries. Request a free quote to estimate our pricing accurately while referencing your unique requirements. Request a free quote to start saving now!

How to ship from the US to the UK with Bezos

Shipping from the United States to the United Kingdom can be hassle-free when you choose Bezos as your fulfilment partner. You can achieve this in under 30 minutes via four easy steps.

Step 1: Create your account

To access the best shipping and order fulfilment services we offer, all eCommerce sellers must first create an account with us. Depending on the marketplace you use, whether Shopify, Amazon, WooCommerce, etc., you can activate Bezos as your fulfilment provider via the marketplace’s admin tab. Once activated, you can create an account with us by filling in some basic information on a simple template, and you’ll be good to go. You’ll be required to input your brand’s information and info on the products and the applicable destinations. 

Step 2: Ship your inventory

Once your account is up, you can ship your US inventory to any of our 63 fulfilment centres in 17 countries. However, since your destination is the UK, it should be the centre closest to the recipient’s address. With Bezos, you can ship us your inventory through another carrier, or we can pick it up from your location and ship it across the ocean to the UK. Whichever option works best for you. 

Step 3: Integrate your sales channel

We’re dedicated to simplifying order fulfilment for you and your eCommerce brand, and one way we do this is by working with marketplace APIs. Our Bezos Seller Portal, which you’ll gain access to upon creating an account, can be integrated with your eCommerce brand’s platform. Thus, you can link your brand’s storefront on Amazon, eBay, WooCommerce, etc., to your Bezos’ Seller Portal. This way, once an order is placed on your digital storefront, it reflects on our platform, and we can immediately commence fulfilment. You can also track the fulfilment status of your shipment with this Seller Portal. 

Step 4: Go live!

Once we receive your stock, we can initiate its fulfilment in no time. It can take as little as 72 hours for new accounts to be up and running. However, once step 3 is complete, you’re live! Thus, you can cross off order fulfilment from your checklist as our automated systems, AI-driven software and skilled teammates will handle everything. 


Shipping from the USA to the UK might’ve been tasking in the past, but with today’s technologies that can automate a good percentage of the process, it doesn’t have to be strenuous or expensive. Many factors contribute to shipping costs. An itemised bill of said costs will likely include customs, VAT, billable weight and others. However, despite these expenses, shipping from the US to the UK on a budget is possible. Choose Bezos to save costs on order fulfilment while expanding your eCommerce business worldwide. 


What’s the cheapest way to ship from the USA to the UK?

FedEx used to offer the cheapest international shipping services. However, in light of recent developments, Bezos has assumed this position while offering customisable AI-enabled order fulfilment solutions. 

How long does it take to ship from the USA to the UK?

Shipping from the US to the UK can take 2 to 15 working days. It depends on your chosen plan and the shipping company. However, with Bezos, you get the shortest delivery time possible. 

How can I avoid customs on my USA-to-UK orders?

Not everyone pays customs on receiving their orders. One way to outmanoeuvre paying customs is by shopping below a certain price point (£135).

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