When it comes to getting your prized possessions to your new home, you want the best of the best to handle it.

After all, moving home is more stressful than getting divorced or having a baby, according to surveys by Which?, E.ON, and Yopa.

Thankfully, shipping your goods can reduce your stress levels. It’s the safest option, shown by the fact that 99.99% of the £8.5 billion of cargo that travels the world every day arrives safely.

And it’s a more cost-effective option than air freight, which is typically 12-16 times more expensive than sea freight, according to the World Bank.

We’ve found the shipping companies who do it best, using freely available data on review sites like Trustpilot and Sirelo, and a test customer who secured quotes for an identical relocation from London to New York City.

The best shipping companies 2019

This is how you’ll feel after choosing one of these top shipping companies

Best shipping companies in the UK

Prices below are based on the transportation of a 20ft container of used furniture, weighing 2,000kg and worth £40,000 – the typical value of the contents of a three-bedroom house (according to Admiral Insurance). These prices were last updated in September 2020.

Please note: you should expect some discrepancy between the rates given here and the quotes you receive. These estimates should be used as an indication only.

1. John Mason International Movers

Cost of moving from London to New York: £4,500 – £5,000

Time taken: 4-6 weeks

Customer service: Off the charts – nearly. John Mason gets 4.9 out of 5 on Trustpilot, and 9.3 out of 10 on Sirelo – a notoriously tough site on which to score highly.

John Mason has a laser-like focus on international removals, meaning you can count on these specialists – who started in Liverpool in 1884 with horse-drawn carts – to deliver for you.

The company specialises in: The best customer service of any international removals company around.

2. Pickfords

Cost of moving from London to New York: £6,750

Time taken: 5-6 weeks

Customer service: Top-tier. It’s earned a score of 4.7 on Trustpilot – and it makes sense that Pickfords has a good reputation, seeing as it’s survived in a tough industry for 374 years (yep, you read that right).

The company won the Forum for Expatriate Management’s best international moving company award for the second year running in 2019, as well as the Association of Relocation Professionals’ best removal company award.

It’ll transport your pet, too, and if you’re moving to a poorly-served country, Pickfords is your best choice – the company will deliver anywhere that isn’t a war zone.

The company specialises in: Excellent customer service and flexibility – particularly if you’re moving somewhere unusual.

3. Bishop’s Move

Cost of moving from London to New York: £5,995

Time taken: 20-30 days door-to-door

Customer service: A 4.6 rating on Trustpilot and a place on Sirelo’s ‘Best of 2018’ list speaks to the good service which this 165-year-old veteran of the industry provides.

It’s part of four big moving associations – BAR (British Association of Movers), FIDI (International Federation of International Movers), EURA (the European Relocation Association), and IAM (International Association of Movers).

And what’s more, it was shortlisted in 2019 for an Association of Relocation Professionals award.

The company specialises in: Being a one-stop shop. Bishop’s Move can help with home and business relocations – whether they’re domestic or international – and fulfil any storage needs.

4. GBS Freight Services

Cost of moving from London to New York: £2,212.96

Time taken: 26-29 days door-to-door

Customer service: This freight forwarding service’s customer service is satisfactory, if not spectacular – but it’s worth it if GBS can find you a good deal.

And more often than not, it can. GBS connected our test customer with Int’l Cargo, an American company with an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, whose quote was the cheapest on this list.

The company specialises in: Saving you money by picking an excellent supplier.

5. PSS International Removals

Cost of moving from London to New York: £5,192

Time taken: 15-30 days

Customer service: The family-run company, which like John Mason focuses exclusively on international removals, has a 4.0 rating on Trustpilot, and 8.0 on Sirelo.

It operates at a particularly high speed, while charging a cheaper price than most – and has done for around four decades.

The company specialises in: Speedy service you can trust.

The best shipping companies use ships like these

This is how your priceless goods will safely travel to your new home

6. Britannia Movers International

Cost of moving from London to New York: £6,300

Time taken: 4-6 weeks door-to-door

Customer service: The company has excellent ratings, scoring 4.3 on Trustpilot and 4.3 out of 5 on Removal Reviews – plus Sirelo rated Britannia Movers as its best business of 2018.

This 38-year-old cooperative has been used by the British Ministry of Defence, and is certified by BAR, FIDI, and IAM.

In short, it’s a name you can trust.

The company specialises in: Having a reputation you can (literally) bet your house on.

7. Transglobal Express

Cost of moving from London to New York: £2,733.06

Time taken: 8-9 weeks

Customer service: Like GBS, Transglobal Express is a freight forwarding service, meaning that it acts as an intermediary between you and the shipping company – and it does this job extremely well.

It scores 4.3 on Trustpilot, replies to every review it’s given there, and offered a quote to our test customer that was well below the market rate – even if the time frame was pretty lengthy.

The company specialises in: Making your move as cheap as it can be.

8. Eagle Relocations

Cost of moving from London to New York: £5,500

Time taken: 3-4 weeks

Customer service: The company has decent ratings on Trustpilot, where it scores 4.0, and Sirelo, where it has a 7.2 – and this was reflected in the positive way our test customer was treated.

If you call Eagle and tell them your details, you can get a quote while you’re on the phone, with clear and friendly instructions about what to do next.

Representatives are keen to help, and know their stuff. You’ll be in good hands.

The company specialises in: Making you feel special. Eagle isn’t one of the biggest companies around, serving around 1,500 people per year, which means every customer matters.

9. Arpin International Group

Cost of moving from London to New York: £6,550

Time taken: 4-6 weeks door-to-door

Customer service: Arpin isn’t as well known as some others on this list, but the company has earned a spot through its award-winning service. 

It came first in international supplier satisfaction in Trippel Survey and Research’s 2019 and 2020 reports, and was presented with an Environmental Protection Agency award under President Obama’s administration.

Arpin also sent a quote to our test customer in less than two days, and kept them updated throughout the process.

The company specialises in: Award-winning, eco-friendly service.

10. Anglo Pacific World Movers

Cost of moving from London to New York: £6,500 – £7,000

Time taken: 8-10 weeks

Customer service: Anglo Pacific is an affiliated member of three shipping organisations – FIDI, BAR, and IAM – and its reputation is enhanced by its customers’ feedback.

The company has a 4.0 rating on Trustpilot, and its partnership with shipping behemoth Maersk means you can trust that your precious belongings will reach their destination – whether it’s your classic car, comfy sofa, or favourite painting.

It just might take a little longer than most – but if time’s not an issue for you, Anglo Pacific may be your best choice.

The company specialises in: Vehicle removals and sheer volume. The company pulls off more than 20,000 moves every year.

Top shipping companies outside of the UK

We know many of our readers don’t live in the UK, so we’ve also compiled lists of the best shipping companies in the US and Australia, just for you.

The 10 best shipping companies in the US

1. United Parcel Service (UPS)
2. FedEx
3. DHL
4. R+L Carriers
5. YRC Freight
6. Viking International Moving
7. OnTrac Shipping
8. TSI
9. Mr. Mover of Ohio
10. Schurman Lange Company

The 3 best shipping companies in Australia

1. OSS Worldwide Movers
2. Grace Worldwide
3. Kent Removals & Storage

What next?

Now you’ve read our exhaustive guide to this year’s top international shipping companies, you should be ready to transport everything you need for your next adventure.

To start receiving quotes for shipping those goods to your chosen destination, simply fill in this form and our professional suppliers will get back to you.