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Shipping Costs to Dubai

Even when it’s the realisation of a lifelong dream, moving to Dubai - especially with a family - can be a stressful experience. Bringing some of your familiar, treasured possessions, clothes and furniture with you to Dubai can make the process feel much less daunting.


Transporting your belongings across thousands of miles to a new country is much easier in the 21st Century than at any time in the past and, no matter your country of origin, there are plenty of companies who ship to Dubai competing for your business.

Most of these companies will offer a door-to-door service so that you needn’t drive your belongings to a port or airport. Many will also securely pack your goods for transport and provide customs clearance and tracking for peace of mind.

Insurance is also on offer in case of loss or damage to your goods but may come at a premium.

There are two main methods of transporting goods to Dubai: sea freight and air freight - but how to decide?

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Shipping by Sea Freight

There are two ports in Dubai into which container ships arrive: Port Rashid and the larger Jebel Ali. Shipping times and schedules vary depending on the country of origin. Shipping from the UK to Dubai is available on a weekly basis and takes roughly 21 days port to port.

Some companies will hold your goods while they arrange full container loads rather than put them on the next available ship. This can be cheaper but can also increase shipping times by a week or more so remember to ask your shipping company which type of service they offer.

Door to door shipping services are available when you’re transporting less than a full container load (LCL). Prices are quoted on the basis of volume rather than weight (so it pays to combine your goods into packages as efficiently as possible).

Sea Freight Costs

At the time of writing one carrier was quoting a price of £600 to ship 15 cubic metres of goods to Dubai by sea.

The same carrier was quoting a price of £1,129 for a full 20ft container load (FCL) or £1,560 for a full 40ft container load.

In the case of the FCL services you’d be responsible for getting your goods to and from the origin and destination ports whereas the LCL service is door to door.

Plane Interior

Shipping by Air Freight

Air freight is usually priced by weight rather than volume since the heavier the load, the more fuel is required. Air freight companies will transport your goods from an airport in your country of origin to Dubai airport and usually offer a door to door service. Shipping times are normally just a few days.

Air Freight Costs

At the time of publication one carrier was quoting a price of £181 to transport a 50kg load, £388 to transport a 200kg load and £790 to transport a 500kg load.

For larger loads or where an urgent service is required planes can be chartered (though this obviously increases costs dramatically).

Though much quicker than sea freight, air freight is much more expensive and therefore is more appropriate for items that are required quickly or where you only need to transport a small, lightweight parcel of items.

Tips for Shipping to Dubai

  • Check whether your shipping company will pack your goods for you to ensure minimum possible volume;
  • Check how comprehensive the insurance is and how transparent the claims process - in the event of loss or damage you don’t want to wait excessively long for compensation;
  • Check your bill for shipping against the actual measurements of the package(s) when they arrive.