Send a Parcel via Sea Freight

Global Sea Freight Solutions

  • Full Container Load (FCL): Ideal for shipping large volumes, FCL offers you a secure and cost-effective way to transport your goods in your own container.  Please contact us for our best FCL rates.
  • Less than Container Load (LCL): Perfect for smaller shipments of loose loaded parcels or pallets, LCL allows you to share container space with other clients, ensuring you only pay for the space you need.
  • Special Cargo Services: We handle a wide range of special cargo, including perishables, and oversized items, if you have any special requirements, you should get in touch with us for the best pricing.
  • Marine Insurance: has partnered with one of the largest insurance companies in the world to provide instant quotes and issue certificates of marine insurance to cover goods with values up to £250,000 instantly without referral.  For values exceeding this, we can usually obtain a quote within a few hours.
  • Customs Clearance: All of our services include standard customs clearance.
Container Ship

Our Sea Freight Services

At, we recognise the critical role of sea freight in powering the global economy, connecting businesses to international markets with efficiency and reliability.  This understanding has driven us to extend our proven multi-carrier global shipping platform to encompass comprehensive sea freight services. We've revolutionised the way you access sea freight options by introducing an instant quote and booking system that simplifies the logistics of large-scale shipments.

Through our innovative aggregation model, significantly slashes the costs of global transportation for large volumes of goods. Our platform simplifies the complexity of sea freight pricing by combining quotes from leading sea freight carriers and haulage companies into a singular, competitive, instant door to door quote. This streamlined approach guarantees access to the best market rates effortlessly, eliminating the complexities of coordinating your deliveries and collections from ports. While we specialise in door-to-door solutions, we also cater to bespoke needs including door to port, port to door, and port to port services. For these specialised services, we encourage you to contact us directly.

With, you unlock the door to comprehensive door-to-door sea freight solutions. Our on-demand service offers instant booking capabilities, ensuring you benefit from market-leading rates with unparalleled ease. Embark on a smarter shipping journey with us, where efficiency meets economy.

Get Started with

Ready to streamline your international shipping? Get a quote for our sea freight services today and experience the Parcel Broker difference. Our team is committed to providing you with reliable, efficient, and affordable shipping solutions that support the growth of your business.

Our sea freight services cater to businesses of every size and stage, whether you're a start-up or an seasoned entrepreneur. With extensive experience in global shipping since 2006, we’re equipped to handle your logistics needs with expertise. To book your shipment, simply determine the origin, destination, weight, and dimensions of your cargo. Armed with this information, you can effortlessly obtain a real-time, live quote and proceed to booking — all accessible online, 24/7.

Our dedicated team is also available daily in the office, ready to assist with any requirements beyond our standard LCL sea freight quotes. Feel free to reach out for personalised support. Plus, there are no minimum spend requirements to access our services, ensuring that we are as accessible as we are reliable.

Sustainability in Shipping

Green globe with leaves

At, we're dedicated to reducing the environmental impact of shipping. We work closely with our partners to implement sustainable practices and support green shipping initiatives, helping our clients make more eco-friendly choices.  If your business would like to know more about carbon off-setting of your sea freight, please get in touch with our sea freight specialist who can advise on the initiatives we can implement.

How Our Instant Sea Freight Service Works

  • Parcel Broker now offers instant door-to-door LCL quotes for loose cargo, typically encompassing parcels, crates, or pallets, as well as IBC tanks for liquids, bulk bags, and rolls. For FCL shipments and any deliveries originating from or concluding at a port, our team is ready to provide custom pricing.
  • Firstly, navigate to the appropriate section on any of our quote forms by selecting either the "Parcel" or "Pallet" tab. "Parcel" should be chosen for various types of loose cargo that cannot be handled with a forklift, including cartons, rolls, and crates. Conversely, select "Pallet" for items that are suitable for manoeuvring with a forklift, such as IBC tanks and heavier crates equipped with skids.
  • Next, enter the dimensions of each parcel or pallet into our quote form. Use the "quantity" field to quickly compile your sea freight shipment. For instance, if you possess 20 EUR-3 Pallets, each measuring 120 x 100 x 150cm and weighing 400kg, you simply need to input these details once and choose "20" in the quantity field.
  • Then, select the countries of collection and delivery. Popular lanes include China to the UK and the USA to the UK for sea freight and vice versa. Additionally, you have the option to switch your unit of measurement from metric to imperial, according to your preference.
  • Click on "compare prices," and our systems will begin sourcing the most competitive live rates from our sea freight partners. You'll also be presented with pricing options for air freight and express courier services, ensuring you have all the necessary information to make an informed decision.
  • If our system doesn't have any instant pricing available for a particular size or shipping lane, then you'll have the opportunity to send us a quote request and one of our team will hand price the shipment for you.

Choosing the Right Sea Freight Partner

When selecting a partner for sea freight, companies should consider several key factors to ensure they choose a reliable, efficient, and cost-effective service provider. Here's what to look out for, along with how ParcelBroker addresses these considerations:


1. Global Network and Reach

  • Consideration: The ability to ship to and from a wide range of international destinations.
  • ParcelBroker's Solution: With an extensive network of global shipping partners, ParcelBroker facilitates sea freight services to and from major ports worldwide, ensuring businesses can reach their international markets efficiently.

2. Cost-Effectiveness

  • Consideration: Competitive pricing without compromising on service quality.
  • ParcelBroker's Solution: ParcelBroker leverages aggregation to compare prices among the world’s largest sea freight companies, offering customers cost-effective solutions by presenting the most competitive, instant quotes.

3. Service Range

  • Consideration: A variety of shipping options, including FCL (Full Container Load), LCL (Less Than Container Load), and special cargo services.
  • ParcelBroker's Solution: Providing instant door-to-door LCL quotes for loose cargo and tailored quotes for FCL, special cargo, and different delivery needs, ensuring a comprehensive range of options for businesses.  ParcelBroker can also show express courier parcel and pallet services alongside freight quotes to ensure customers can make informed decisions.

4. Reliability and Tracking

  • Consideration: Dependable transit times and the ability to track shipments in real-time.
  • ParcelBroker's Solution: ParcelBroker offers reliable shipping solutions with transparent, real-time tracking capabilities from most partners, giving businesses peace of mind and control over their shipments.

5. Customer Support and Expertise

  • Consideration: Access to knowledgeable support for navigating customs, documentation, and any issues that may arise.
  • ParcelBroker's Solution: With experienced import and export specialists and dedicated customer service, ParcelBroker provides expert advice and support, from quote to delivery.

6. Ease of Use

  • Consideration: A user-friendly platform for obtaining quotes, booking shipments, and managing documentation.
  • ParcelBroker's Solution: ParcelBroker's platform simplifies the booking process, offering an intuitive interface for obtaining live quotes, booking shipments 24/7, and accessing shipment information and support.

7. Sustainability

  • Consideration: Commitment to environmentally sustainable shipping practices.
  • ParcelBroker's Solution: ParcelBroker can advise on carbon offsetting initiatives, helping businesses reduce their environmental impact through sustainable sea freight options.
Picture of a container dockyard at sunset

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long does sea freight take to deliver?

  • Short Sea Shipping (e.g., within Europe): Typically takes between 1-2 weeks.
  • Transatlantic Shipping (e.g., Europe to North America): Usually takes about 3-4 weeks.
  • Transpacific Shipping (e.g., Asia to North America): Can take approximately 3-5 weeks.
  • Asia to Europe: Often takes around 4-6 weeks.

It's important to note that these are approximate transit times and can be affected by factors such as weather conditions, port congestion, customs delays, and the specific services offered by the shipping company. Additionally, if the cargo needs to be transported to and from the ports (pre-carriage and on-carriage), this will add to the overall transit time.

What customs paperwork will I need for sea freight?

Required documents can vary depending on the countries of origin and destination, as well as the nature of the goods being shipped. However, some of the most commonly required documents include:

  • Bill of Lading (B/L): This is the official contract between the owner of the goods and the carrier. It serves as a receipt of cargo and contains details about the goods, the shipper, the receiver, and the journey.
  • Commercial Invoice: This document provides information about the transaction between the seller and the buyer, including a detailed list of the shipped items, their value, and terms of sale.
  • Packing List: Details the specifics of each package within the shipment, including weights, dimensions, and contents, aiding in the customs clearance process.
  • Export License: Required for certain goods that are controlled or regulated, the export license is a government document that permits the exportation of specific commodities to certain destinations.
  • Certificate of Origin: A document that certifies the country where the goods were manufactured, which is important for determining tariffs and complying with trade agreements.
  • Insurance Certificate: If the goods are insured, this certificate provides proof of insurance coverage for the shipment.
  • Import/Export Declaration: A statement made to the customs authorities detailing the nature, quantity, and destination of the goods being shipped.

What's the difference between a FCL and LCL shipment?

Full Container Load (FCL)

FCL refers to shipping a container exclusively filled with goods belonging to one consignee or shipper. In an FCL shipment, you pay for the entire container, regardless of whether you fill it to capacity. This option is typically more cost-effective for larger volumes of goods because it offers a flat rate for the entire container. FCL shipments also tend to have a shorter transit time compared to LCL, as the container goes directly from the sender to the receiver without the need to consolidate or deconsolidate cargo along the way. FCL is often chosen for its efficiency and security, as the container is sealed by the shipper and opened by the receiver, reducing the risk of damage or loss.

Less than Container Load (LCL)

LCL is a shipping option where multiple shippers' goods are consolidated into a single container. In this case, you pay only for the space your cargo occupies within the container, not for the entire container itself. LCL is ideal for smaller shipments that do not require the space of an entire container. While LCL can be more cost-effective for shipping smaller volumes, it generally involves longer transit times. This is due to the additional logistics involved in consolidating cargo from different shippers at the port of origin and then deconsolidating it upon arrival at the destination port. LCL shipments also may have a higher risk of damage or loss, as goods are handled more frequently.

What are some of the additional costs that can occur with sea freight?

1. Customs Clearance Fees

Charges for processing your documents through customs at both the origin and destination countries are included in our door to door service. This is limited to a standard clearance.  If any special clearance procedures are required, expect additional charges.

2. Import Duties and Taxes

Depending on the goods and the countries involved, your shipment may be subject to import duties and taxes, which can significantly affect the total cost. These are usually charged to the importer of record (unless shipping under DDP Incoterms)

3. Terminal Handling Charges (THC)

THCs are fees assessed by the terminal authorities at both the port of loading and the port of unloading for handling the cargo. These charges cover the cost of moving the container to and from the ship.  These fees are included in our door to door quotations.

4. Demurrage and Detention

Demurrage charges occur when a container is not moved out of the terminal after a certain period following its arrival. Detention fees, on the other hand, are charged when a container is taken outside the terminal (for unloading, for instance) and not returned within the allotted free time.

5. Container Freight Station (CFS) Fees

For LCL shipments, CFS fees are charged for the use of the facility where your goods are consolidated or deconsolidated. This includes handling and storing the cargo at these facilities.  We'll include these fees in all our quotes.

6. Documentation Fees

These are charges for processing the necessary paperwork and documentation required for shipping, including bills of lading, packing lists, and certificates of origin. These fees are included in our quotations for standard documents.

7. Inland Transportation Costs

These costs arise from transporting your cargo from its initial location to the port of loading and then from the port of discharge to its final destination. It includes trucking, rail, or any other mode of inland transport.  Our door to door quotes include these fees.

8. Insurance

While not technically an "additional" cost, as it is often considered essential, the cost of insuring your goods against loss or damage during transit can add to the overall expenses. Parcel Broker can provide instant quotes and issue insurance certificates for goods up to £250,000 in value.

9. Currency Adjustment Factor (CAF) and Bunker Adjustment Factor (BAF)

These surcharges account for fluctuations in exchange rates (CAF) and fuel prices (BAF). They can vary depending on market conditions.  We include these adjustment fees in our quotes.

10. Quarantine and Inspection Fees

If your goods need to be inspected or quarantined by customs or agricultural authorities, these services will incur additional fees.

Why do I need a customs bond for USA shipping?

In the context of USA shipping, a customs bond is a financial guarantee between the importer, the surety company issuing the bond, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). This bond ensures that all duties, taxes, and fees owed to the federal government will be paid.

There are two main types of customs bonds:

1. Single Entry Bond

This type of bond is used for a single shipment. Its value is typically determined based on the total value of the imported goods, including duties, taxes, and any additional fees. A single entry bond is best suited for importers who do not frequently ship goods into the U.S.

2. Continuous Bond

A continuous bond covers all imports made by an importer over the course of a year. The minimum bond amount for a continuous bond is generally $50,000 or 10% of the total duties, taxes, and fees paid to CBP in the previous 12 months, whichever is greater. This type of bond is cost-effective and convenient for regular importers, as it covers multiple entries and provides flexibility in shipping practices.

Can I track a sea freight shipment?

Yes, tracking is available for sea freight shipments.  Depending on the inland transportation segment of the freight's journey, you might encounter multiple tracking IDs, each corresponding to the movement overseen by different haulage companies involved.

What's included in's sea freight quote?

Our door to door quotes will include inland transport fees, sea freight transport, standard customs clearance fees, terminal handling charges, consolidation and deconsolidation fees, Currency Adjustment Factor (CAF) and Bunker Adjustment Factor (BAF) fees.

How should I prepare my shipment for sea freight shipping?

1. Choose Appropriate Packaging

  • Durability: Select strong, durable packaging materials that can withstand the rigours of sea transportation, including heavy handling, stacking, and potential moisture exposure.
  • Protection: Use cushioning materials (bubble wrap, foam) to protect fragile items and fill empty spaces to prevent movement within the packaging.
  • Palletising: For larger shipments, consider palletising and shrink-wrapping your goods to consolidate items and facilitate easier handling.

2. Label Clearly

  • Clearly label each package with handling instructions, such as "Fragile," "This Side Up," or "Keep Dry," to inform handlers of the care needed.
  • Include detailed shipping information on each item, such as the destination address, contact details, and a description of the contents.

3. Proper Documentation

  • Ensure all required documentation is completed accurately and readily available. This typically includes a Bill of Lading (B/L), commercial invoice, packing list, and any necessary export or import licenses.

4. Secure Loading

  • If you're loading a container yourself (FCL shipments), distribute weight evenly and secure items to prevent shifting during transport.
  • Use straps, braces, or padding to secure and protect your items within the container.

Save Money Sending, with ParcelBroker


At ParcelBroker, we pride ourselves on providing trustworthy international shipping at affordable prices. We ship to over 220 countries, working with the best couriers to help our customers send parcels safely. Whether it's a personal package for a friend or family member, or a business managing multiple shipments – Find out how ParcelBroker can help you.