Airports and Seaports in UK

Content of this Article
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents


    The United Kingdom boasts a comprehensive network of airports and seaports that serve as vital conduits for international trade and travel. Strategically located across the nation, UK’s airports and seaports are pivotal in maintaining the country’s status as a global hub for freight and passenger movement. From the bustling air cargo operations at London Heathrow to the extensive maritime activities at the Port of Felixstowe, these facilities ensure seamless connectivity, bolster economic growth, and facilitate the efficient exchange of goods and services worldwide.

    Major Airports in UK

    The UK is a hub for international trade and has several major airports that handle air freight shipments. These airports are strategically located and well-equipped to handle a large cargo volume. The three major airports in the UK that handle international air freight shipments are London Heathrow, Manchester, and East Midlands.

    In terms of advantages, air freight shipments offer faster transit times and reliable delivery schedules compared to other modes of transportation. With major airports in the UK, businesses can access a global network of air cargo services, providing greater flexibility and efficiency in their supply chains. According to the Civil Aviation Authority, the total volume of air freight carried by UK airports increased by 6.8% in 2020, indicating a growing demand for air cargo services in the UK.

    Here are the top 10 air cargo airports in the UK based on cargo tonnage in 2023-2024:

    • London Heathrow Airport
    • East Midlands Airport
    • London Stansted Airport
    • Manchester Airport
    • London Gatwick Airport
    • Glasgow Airport
    • Belfast International Airport
    • Birmingham Airport
    • Leeds Bradford Airport
    • Doncaster Sheffield Airport

    It’s worth noting that London Heathrow Airport is by far the busiest air cargo airport in the UK, accounting for more than 50% of the country’s total air cargo tonnage.

    Here is a list of the major international聽 cargo seaports in UK:

    London Heathrow Airport (LHR)

    London Heathrow Airport is not only one of the busiest airports in the world for passengers but also one of the busiest for cargo transportation. With over 1.5 million tonnes of cargo handled each year, it is the largest air cargo airport in the UK.

    The airport’s cargo facilities are spread across five terminals, with the newest and most advanced being the London Heathrow Cargo Centre. It has state-of-the-art cargo handling equipment, including automated storage and retrieval systems, and can handle over 1 million tonnes of cargo annually.

    London Heathrow offers various cargo handling services, including temperature-controlled storage and handling for perishable goods, hazardous materials handling, and live animal transportation. It also offers value-added services, including cargo screening and security, customs clearance, and documentation services.

    The airport is served by over 80 airlines, including significant cargo carriers such as DHL, FedEx, and UPS. It offers direct flights to over 180 destinations worldwide, making it a key hub for international air cargo transportation.

    In recognition of its world-class cargo facilities and services, London Heathrow won numerous awards, including the Air Cargo Week World Air Cargo Award for Best European Airport for Cargo in 2020. Its commitment to sustainability has also earned it the Carbon Trust Standard for Supply Chain certification, reflecting its efforts to reduce carbon emissions and promote sustainable cargo transportation.

    File could not be opened. Check the file's permissions to make sure it's readable by your server.

    East Midlands Airport (EMA)

    The East Midlands Airport (EMA) is an international air cargo port in the East Midlands region of England, UK. It is situated near Derby, Leicester, and Nottingham, making it a critical cargo hub for the region. EMA is primarily used for freight and cargo flights, with over 370,000 tonnes of cargo handled in 2020.

    EMA has a cargo center spanning over 366,000 square feet and is equipped with state-of-the-art technology, including X-ray and temperature-controlled areas for handling perishable goods. The airport also has a dedicated freighter apron with parking bays for up to six Boeing 747 aircraft.
    EMA offers various cargo services, including air freight, road feeder, and courier services. It is located near major highways and has excellent transportation links to major UK cities

    File could not be opened. Check the file's permissions to make sure it's readable by your server.

    London Stansted Airport (STN)鈥嬧

    London Stansted Airport is located 42 miles (68 km) northeast of London and is primarily used for commercial air cargo operations. It is the fourth-busiest airport in the UK and serves over 200 destinations worldwide.
    In addition to the cargo terminal, London Stansted Airport has a cargo apron capable of handling a variety of cargo aircraft, including the Boeing 747-8F and the Antonov An-225 Mriya, one of the largest cargo aircraft in the world.
    The airport offers various services and amenities for cargo customers, including refrigeration facilities, 24/7 security, and customs clearance. It is also home to the Stansted Cargo Village, a purpose-built facility for cargo operations that includes warehouse space and offices for cargo handlers and logistics companies.
    London Stansted Airport’s cargo operations contribute significantly to the UK’s air freight industry, providing essential connections between the UK and destinations worldwide.

    File could not be opened. Check the file's permissions to make sure it's readable by your server.

    Manchester Airport (MAN)鈥

    Manchester Airport is located in Greater Manchester, in the North West of England, approximately 8.6 miles southwest of Manchester city center. It is the third-busiest airport in the UK, after London Heathrow and London Gatwick, and the largest airport outside the London area.

    Manchester Airport’s cargo facilities are located on the airport’s south side and consist of two cargo terminals. The World Freight Terminal (WFT) is the primary cargo terminal, while the smaller DHL International Express Centre handles express and mail shipments. The airport has a dedicated cargo apron with parking positions for up to eight Boeing 747-sized freighters.
    The cargo facilities at Manchester Airport handle a wide range of commodities, including pharmaceuticals, textiles, electronics, and automotive parts. In 2020, Manchester Airport handled 116,254 tonnes of cargo, making it the 14th busiest airport in the UK for cargo.

    Manchester Airport’s cargo operations are supported by excellent transport links, with easy access to the M56 and M6 motorways and a direct rail link to Manchester city center. The airport also operates a dedicated freight transport hub, which provides logistics solutions for businesses looking to move goods throughout the UK and Europe.

    File could not be opened. Check the file's permissions to make sure it's readable by your server.

    London Gatwick Airport

    London Gatwick Airport is a typical international airport in Crawley, West Sussex, England. It is the second-busiest airport in the UK, after London Heathrow, and the eighth-busiest in Europe. The airport is a central cargo hub and handles significant air cargo traffic, both for the UK and Europe.

    London Gatwick Air Cargo operates from its dedicated cargo terminal, which covers an area of 98,000 square meters. The airport is well-equipped to handle different types of air cargo, including perishable goods, pharmaceuticals, and hazardous materials. The cargo terminal has state-of-the-art facilities, including temperature-controlled storage areas, X-ray machines, and specialist handling equipment.

    The airport is close to the M23 motorway, providing easy road access to the rest of the UK. It is also served by the Gatwick Express train service, which provides a fast and efficient link to London Victoria station.
    London Gatwick Airport has invested heavily in its operations, including constructing a new cargo facility to meet growing demand in recent years. The airport won several awards for its cargo operations, including the Air Cargo News Airport of the Year award in 2019.

    File could not be opened. Check the file's permissions to make sure it's readable by your server.

    Major Seaports in UK

    The United Kingdom has a long history of being a maritime nation with a strong seafaring tradition and a thriving seaport industry. The country has numerous seaports, which play a vital role in its economy, facilitating the import and export of goods and serving as critical gateways to other parts of the world. These seaports also have significant historical and cultural value, reflecting the country’s rich maritime heritage.

    Here is a list of the top 10 sea ports in the UK along with their addresses. I have also indicated whether they have service from China or not:

    RankPort NameAddressService from China
    1Port of FelixstoweFelixstowe, Suffolk, IP11 3SY, United KingdomYes
    2Port of SouthamptonDock Gate 10, Western Docks, Southampton, SO15 1AJ, United KingdomYes
    3London GatewayPort of London, Stanford-le-Hope, Essex, SS17 9PD, United KingdomYes
    4Port of LiverpoolPort of Liverpool, Seaforth, Liverpool, L21 1LA, United KingdomYes
    5Port of Grimsby & ImminghamImmingham, North East Lincolnshire, DN40 2LZ, United KingdomYes
    6Port of Tees & HartlepoolPort of Tees and Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, TS2 1UH, United KingdomYes
    7Port of TynePort of Tyne, Maritime House, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE34 9PT, United KingdomYes
    8Port of BristolRoyal Portbury Dock, Bristol, BS20 7XJ, United KingdomYes
    9Port of BelfastBelfast Harbour Commissioners, Corporation Square, Belfast, BT1 3AL, United KingdomNo
    10Port of TilburyPort of Tilbury, Tilbury, Essex, RM18 7EH, United KingdomYes

    Port of Felixstowe

    The Port of Felixstowe is a major seaport located in Felixstowe, Suffolk, on the east coast of England. Felixstowe is one of the busiest ports in Europe and the largest container port in the United Kingdom. The port has a long history, dating back to the early 19th century when used it mainly for trade in timber and coal.

    Today, the port handles over 4 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of container traffic annually, making it a vital gateway for trade between the UK and the rest of the world.
    The Port of Felixstowe is operated by Hutchison Ports UK, a Hong Kong-based multinational conglomerate CK Hutchison Holdings subsidiary. It has 29 deep-water berths, with a maximum depth of 16 meters, allowing it to accommodate some of the world’s largest container vessels.

    Felixstowe port has a total quay length of 3,747 meters and covers an area of 1.3 square miles. It also has excellent rail and road connections, making it an efficient and practical hub for the UK’s import and export trade. In addition to container traffic, the Port of Felixstowe also handles other types of cargo, including automobiles, agricultural products, and project cargo. It has a range of specialized facilities, including refrigerated storage, and can handle hazardous goods.

    The port is firmly committed to environmental sustainability, and its operations are guided by an environmental policy that seeks to minimize its environmental impact. It has invested in various initiatives, including using renewable energy sources, decreasing waste and emissions, and promoting biodiversity.

    File could not be opened. Check the file's permissions to make sure it's readable by your server.

    Port of Southampton

    The Port of Southampton is located on the south coast of England, approximately 120 km southwest of London. It is one of the UK’s major ports and the busiest cruise terminal in the country.
    The port is operated by Associated British Ports (ABP) and offers various services, including cargo handling, warehousing, and logistics. It is well-connected to the UK by road, rail, and sea, with direct access to primary transport links, including the M3 motorway and the national rail network. The port also has a dedicated cruise terminal capable of handling some of the world’s largest ships.

    • Size and capacity: The port covers an area of 417 hectares and has 25 operational berths with a depth of up to 16 meters. It has a total quayside length of 10.5 km and can accommodate some of the largest container ships in the world. In 2020, the port handled over 1.5 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) of container traffic and over 900,000 cruise passengers.
    • Infrastructure: The port has extensive infrastructure, including 85 cranes, 10 rail-mounted gantry cranes, and other cargo-handling equipment. It also has a dedicated container terminal, the Container Terminal Southampton (CTS), which DP World Southampton operates. The CTS has 12 deepwater berths and handles around 1 million TEUs of container traffic per year.
    • Trade partnerships: The Port of Southampton has established trade partnerships with important ports worldwide, including ports in China, the United States, and the Middle East. The port is a crucial gateway for trade between UK and China, with major shipping lines such as Maersk, MSC, and CMA CGM operating regular services from the port.
    • Economic impact: The Port of Southampton is a primary driver of the UK economy, supporting over 15,000 jobs and contributing around 拢2.5 billion annually. It is also a key hub for the automotive industry, with over 900,000 vehicles passing through the port each year.
    File could not be opened. Check the file's permissions to make sure it's readable by your server.

    Port of London

    The Port of London is managed by the Port of London Authority, responsible for maintaining and developing the port’s infrastructure, promoting trade, and ensuring safety and security within the port area. The port has a long and rich history dating back to Roman times, and it continues to play a vital role in the UK’s international trade and commerce.

    • Location: The Port of London is along the River Thames in southeastern England. It spans 95 miles from the North Sea to the city of London and includes several specialized terminals for handling different types of cargo.
    • Size and Capacity: The Port of London is the largest in the UK by tonnage and one of Europe’s most active ports. It can handle over 50 million tonnes of cargo per year. The port has over 70 independently-owned terminals and is equipped with state-of-the-art technology and equipment to handle a wide range of cargo.
    • Infrastructure: The Port of London has a modern and efficient infrastructure, including container terminals, breakbulk and project cargo terminals, ro-ro terminals, and bulk cargo terminals. The port is also equipped with advanced technology, such as automated cranes, RFID tracking systems, and integrated logistics software to improve operational efficiency.
    • Trade Partnerships: The Port of London has strong trade partnerships with several countries worldwide, including China, India, the United States, and the European Union. It handles various cargoes, including food and drink products, construction materials, automobiles, and chemicals.
    • Economic Impact: The Port of London significantly contributes to the UK’s economy, generating over 拢7 billion in economic activity each year. It also supports over 115,000 jobs across the UK, including in the transportation, logistics, and manufacturing industries.
    File could not be opened. Check the file's permissions to make sure it's readable by your server.

    Port of Liverpool

    The Port of Liverpool is a seaport located northwest of England, along the River Mersey. It is one of the largest and busiest ports in the United Kingdom, serving as a gateway for trade between the UK, Europe, and the rest of the world. The port has a long history dating back to the 18th century and has played a significant role in the region’s economic development.

    • Location: The Port of Liverpool is located on the eastern side of the River Mersey estuary in northwestern England. It is approximately 34 miles west of Manchester and 170 miles northwest of London. The port is strategically located and provides easy access to the Irish Sea and other necessary shipping lanes.
    • Size and Capacity: The Port of Liverpool is one of the largest ports in the United Kingdom, with a total area of approximately 400 acres. It has six operating terminals and can accommodate many vessels, including container ships, bulk carriers, and cruise liners. The port has a total annual throughput capacity of around 20 million tonnes.
    • Infrastructure: The port has a modern and efficient infrastructure, including deep-water channels, large berths, and state-of-the-art cargo handling equipment. The terminals are equipped with container cranes, reach stackers, and other specialized equipment to facilitate the smooth movement of goods.
    • Trade Partnerships: The Port of Liverpool has strong trade partnerships with countries worldwide. Liverpool port is a primary gateway for trade between the UK and North America, Europe, and Asia. The port handles various commodities, including chemicals, steel, grain, and oil. It is also a significant hub for containerized cargo and handles over 800,000 TEUs annually.
    • Economic Impact: The Port of Liverpool is a significant driver of economic growth in the UK. It supports thousands of jobs in the local area and contributes billions of pounds to the national economy. The port is a crucial transport hub for the region and is essential in connecting businesses in the north of England with global markets. In addition, the port is committed to sustainable development and invests in environmentally-friendly technologies and practices.
    File could not be opened. Check the file's permissions to make sure it's readable by your server.


    In summary, the airports and seaports in the UK are cornerstone assets that underpin the nation’s trade and transportation sectors. Their strategic development and efficient operation are crucial for maintaining the UK’s competitive edge in the global market. As the demand for air and sea freight continues to grow, the ongoing investment and innovation in UK’s airports and seaports will remain imperative, ensuring they can meet future challenges and contribute to sustainable economic progress.

    Are you looking to streamline your shipping process from China to the UK? Look no further! Our dedicated shipping service is designed to provide you with a hassle-free, efficient, and reliable solution for all your freight needs. Whether you’re transporting small parcels or large cargo loads, our expert team is here to ensure your shipments arrive safely, on time, and without breaking the bank. Don’t let complex logistics hold your business back. Click here to learn more about our tailored shipping solutions and take the first step towards seamless international shipping today!


    The UK is home to several major airports that cater to international flights, including London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Manchester Airport, and London Stansted. London Heathrow is the largest, serving as a primary hub for global air travel to and from the UK.

    Key seaports in the UK for cargo and freight include the Port of Felixstowe, which is the largest container port, the Port of Southampton known for its automotive and cruise traffic, and the Port of London, serving both commercial and leisure purposes.

    UK airports, particularly London Heathrow and East Midlands Airport, offer extensive facilities for cargo handling, including state-of-the-art warehousing, temperature-controlled storage for perishables, secure areas for valuable goods, and dedicated terminals for freight operations.

    Yes, UK seaports offer specialized cargo services, including bulk cargo handling, ro-ro (roll-on/roll-off) services for vehicles, and facilities for handling hazardous materials and perishables, ensuring diverse trade requirements are met efficiently.

    UK airports and seaports implement stringent security measures to ensure the safety of cargo. This includes comprehensive screening processes, secure storage facilities, and constant monitoring to safeguard goods from theft, damage, or tampering.

    No comment

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *