what do shipping routes between the UK and USA look like?

I admit I’m kind of a nerd when it comes to domestic shipping routes in the USA, when I order a package I like trying to guess what hubs it will go through and testing which routes would be more effective. I recently purchased a package From the UK and they failed to provide me with the tracking info on top of that the package is scheduled to arrive in roughly two weeks. is this a normal amount of time for the distance, and because of the length of time would it be safe to assume my package is currently on a cargo ship? if you have any info on how different packages are shipped between the USA and UK that would be greatly appreciated any information would be nice this is just something I was curious about and wanted to learn more.

4 Answers

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  • Some cargo is shipped by air however that is very expensive, so most go by ship.


    Simply goes from east to west and such cargo ships will dock at major ports in the U.S. before being transported overland by trucks.

    If you purchased stuff from overseas, it may take months before it reaches you. When I moved from California to Honolulu I shipped a bunch of boxes via USPS. Some boxes took weeks to get to me, others took months. I am thinking it is due to the shipping companies needing to fill up the cargo containers completely before shipping. 

  • MOST mail goes by airplane. Heavier and larger parcels can go by ship. It takes time to load up a container with parcels.

    There are limited flights and your item waits for room on a flight. In this case most likely outbound mail at Heathrow Airport mail centre. It shares space with the luggage. Depending on number of flights and amount of mail the wait can be a day or weeks.

    There is waiting involved at the start. For a container to fill and be delivered to a ship or for space on a plane.

    Next stop is US Customs. They have no desire to stack it up and process as they see fit. A week or so gets most items past the inspectors.

    Next is the Post Office they take over and about a week once Customs has done their thing.

    It is NORMAL for an over the ocean package to take two to three weeks.

    Just the way it has been for a long time. Your item could arrive in a week or take two months in particular with Covid issues along the way.

    They have been shipping stuff back and forth regularly for over 100 years the system works for the Post Office and YOU ARE NOT REQUIRED TO COMPREHEND IT in precise inch by inch movement around the planet.

    Mail goes to an INTERNATIONAL Mail Office in your case most likely the one at JFK Airport in the same building as the NYC Post Office (USPS) sorting plant.

    It does matter if you live in a big city or some rural road crossing add a few more days if in smallville.

  • It’s amazing what you can find by googling…….look at this website. https://www.shipit.co.uk/container-shipping-schedu…

    The far right column is the number of days for a ship to get to various ports in the US.

    As you can see, 12 days is what it takes to get to New York, the closest US port and USPS processing facility. Some ships might be faster, but probably not by much. It would take a day or two or more for the parcel to get to the ship in the UK, then it goes to Customs on arrival in the US and there is no way to tell how long it takes them to process it and get it into the USPS stream, and then USPS has to get to where you are. So I don’t think there’s any way a parcel sent by ship can get to you in 2 weeks, unless every step of the whole process goes as fast as possible and if you live close to New York. The senders, no matter what speed of shipping they pay for, cannot control how long a parcel stays in Customs.

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