What is International Sea Freight & How Does It Work?

International Sea Freight

Sea Freight is one of the main methods of freight transportation, with currently 55,000 commercial ships travelling the oceans to deliver goods. It is therefore no surprise that 90% of goods and food are shipped to us on these overseas journeys, proving sea freight is undoubtedly one of the most important freight services.

Our international freight forwarding experts at KG Logistics have put together the following guide to help you understand what sea freight is, how it works, how much it costs and how long it takes to transport to a desired location.


What is Sea Freight?

Sea Freight is the transportation of large amounts of goods using carrier ships, whereby the goods are packed into containers and loaded onto a cargo ship.

It is the most cost-efficient way to transport high quantities over large distances and emits fewer emissions than the other forms of freight transportation, including air freight, rail freight, and road freight.

There are also fewer restrictions associated with sea freight, especially in regard to hazardous materials. The major drawbacks of sea freight are that it is the slowest form of freight transportation, and it is not ideal for shipping a smaller quantity of goods.


How does Sea Freight work?

The sea freight process in the UK is made easy with freight forwarding companies such as KG Logistics.

A freight forwarder will arrange the transportation and documentation on your behalf, navigating the complex import and customs regulations that exist. Mistakes in this process can be costly, so working with a shipping agent will give you peace of mind that the process is as smooth as possible.

  1. The freight forwarder will organise the collection of your goods from the supplier.
  2. The goods are cleared through the destination’s customs clearance.
  3. The goods are loaded onto the container – whether this is LCL or FCL. The containers are loaded onto the ship and transported to the UK.
  4. Once they arrive in the UK, they will be processed by UK customs.
  5. LCL goods will be unpacked from the container and transported to your desired location within the UK. If they are FCL, the container will remain sealed and transported to you on the back of a lorry.


What is Sea Freight?


FCL vs. LCL: What is the difference?

There are two ways in which goods can be transported with sea freight container shipping.

FCL: Full Container Load

FCL packing involves paying for an entire container and dedicating all the space inside to your shipment of goods. FCL offers flexibility and a high frequency of sailings, but you must be able to pay for and accommodate the full container. This option is suitable if you are transporting many goods and has less risk of damage as the container will hold just your goods.

LCL: Less-Than-Container Load

LCL is more suitable for those looking to import a small number of goods that will not require a full container’s worth of stock. In less-than-container load shipping, the freight forwarder will combine your supplier’s goods with others doing the same thing, in order to make a full shipment.


How much does Sea Freight cost?

The cost of your sea freight shipment will be affected by:

  • The amount you are shipping.
  • Which shipping port you are transporting from and to.
  • The demand and time of the year.
  • Whether the shipment is door-to-door or port-to-port.

If you want to get an exact quote for your sea freight, contact our friendly team today.


International Sea Freight: Complete Guide


How long does Sea Freight take?

There is a range of factors that will affect how long it takes for sea freight to transport your goods to a desired destination. This primarily includes the distance between where you and shipping from and to, as well as the seasonal demand, whether you are shipping LCL or FCL, and if the shipment is door-to-door or port-to-port.

While KG Logistics ship all around the world, we have several key locations that we operate to and from:

  • China: 6 weeks, or 42 days.
  • Australia: 40 days, or 5 weeks and 5 days
  • Turkey: Between 9 and 19 days.


Sea Freight with KG Logistics

Our professional sea freight delivery services include both FCL and LCL shipments, worldwide with containers departing and arriving weekly for part loads to all international ports.

Our available equipment includes 20ft and 40ft GPs, high cubes, reefers, open tops and flat racks container services available in all directions.


Speak to our experts today on 01634 540109 to find out how KG Logistics can help you with your freight forwarding needs.