A guide to shipping costs to the United Arab Emirates from the UK, including how to get a good quote if you’re moving to Dubai or Abu Dhabi

Relocating to the UAE? Explore the costs of shipping to Dubai and Abu Dhabi and discover tips for securing the most affordable shipping options to the UAE.

This guide will estimate the price of shipping everything from parcels, packages, large boxes, personal effects, household goods and furniture, shipping containers and even vehicles to the UAE. We will also detail the other costs involved such as customs fees and duties that may not be part of your main quote.

Dubai and the United Arab Emirates consistently rank as top destinations for relocation, offering expats abundant opportunities and an impressive quality of life. Once you’ve effortlessly decided to move to the Emirates, your next step is to coordinate your shipping and gain insights into the associated costs to the UAE.

For an accurate and up-to-date cost, we recommend you use our online international shipping costs calculator. 

We will also talk about the cost of shipping boxes and why it may be cheaper to ship boxes by air freight rather than by sea.

The Emirates is not a large geographical area. Still, costs can vary depending on which Emirates you are moving to, so call our team for a more reliable quote or estimate for your circumstances.

The additional charges and exclusions outlined below are industry standard and typical to whichever shipping company you use, not just PSS International Removals. You must discuss these with your Account Manager so you have a clear idea of what applies to your shipment. For answers to most of your questions, you can also read our comprehensive Guide to Shipping to the UAE from the UK.

Get a quote for shipping to UAE

Jump To the UAE Shipping Costs Table

International Shipping Costs and Prices to Dubai & Abu Dhabi, UAE for 2024

Household Container Shipping Rates to Dubai and Abu Dhabi From the UK

The household removal and shipping prices listed here are based on the contents of an average UK property and include delivery to Dubai or Abu Dhabi. The cost of shipping to other locations away from ports can differ significantly due to the extra distances involved.

Move Size
(Shipment Volume)
UK to the UAE 2024
(Average Cost to Dubai & Abu Dhabi)
2 kg Parcel £25.55**
2-3 Large Boxes* £337 – £393
5 Large  Boxes* £391 – £462
10 Large Boxes* £587 – £683
Student Move £916 – £1055
Studio Flat £1071 – £1337
1 Bed Flat £1652 – £1758
2 Bed Flat £2331 – £2671
3 Bed House
(20 ft container)
£3703 – £4288
4+ Bed House
(40 ft container)
£6581 – £7397

*Box shipping prices are for self-pack and for large tea cartons (46 x 46 x 51 cm). Other sizes are available.
** Royal Mail parcel service.
Household removal quotes include full packing service.

Removals Quote   Quote For Shipping Boxes / Luggage

NB: The shipping prices and rates listed above are approximate shipping costs to the UAE for 2024. For more accurate prices, please contact PSS for a quote (see removals to the UAE).

Many websites list port-to-port costs for shipping containers to the UAE. These can significantly underestimate the actual costs for non-commercial users. The prices listed here are for a complete door-to-door removal service aimed at people shipping their personal effects.

Free Cost Calculator For Shipping Boxes

Get the latest rates for 2024 – this cost calculator can give you an immediate personal estimate for your shipment of packages, boxes, and other items:

How long does shipping take from the UK to the UAE?

Average Sea Freight Shipping Times From UK to Dubai and Abu Dhabi

UAE Destination
Full Container
Shared Container
Dubai 5-7 weeks 7-10 weeks
Abu Dhabi 5-7 weeks 7-10 weeks

Removals Quote   Quote For Shipping Boxes / Luggage

Guide to the UAE Shipping Costs

Cost of Sending Boxes / Excess Baggage to the UAE From the UK

Tea Carton box shipping

Excess Baggage and box shipping services are ideal for shipping smaller quantities of items/luggage. Large items, such as furniture, will require a removal service.

The prices below include self-packing, although professional packing services are available. Costs per box decline as the quantity or volume shipped increases.

Boxes are based on standard tea cartons, measuring 46 x 46 x 51 cm (3.4 cubic feet), and weighing no more than 30 kg each.

Cost of Air Freight to the UAE

It can often be actually more cost-effective to ship smaller quantities by air to the nearest city in the UAE (the cost of transporting from the seaport to your final destination may outweigh any savings).

Our advisers can give you the best quote based on your circumstances. Even if air freight is not cheaper, the cost difference compared to how much time you save may make it worthwhile.

Cost of Sending Parcels to the UAE

Shipping small parcels to the UAE can be done quite cheaply via Royal Mail. For example, a small 2 kg parcel can be posted for around £25.55 by airmail. But 2 kg is the maximum size – for larger parcels, they recommend Parcel Force, and the costs very quickly become too expensive. Therefore is you are moving to the UAE or plan to stay for a longer period, specialist box shipping services to the UAE, as offered by PSS International are a very attractive option.

Major Container Ports and Destinations

Shipping is available to all the Emirates in the UAE. Costs may vary depending on the distance to the nearest port.

  • Abu Dhabi AUH (including Al Ain)
  • Ajman AJM,
  • Dubai DXB,
  • Fujairah FUJ,
  • Ras Al Khaimah RAK,
  • Sharjah SHJ,
  • Umm Al Quwain UAQ

Your Account Manager will advise on the cheapest and most cost-effective route for your shipping to the UAE.

Getting an Accurate Shipping Quote or Estimate

Your shipping costs will be based on the volume (cubic feet) you ship. It is essential, therefore, to get an accurate quote based on what you want to send.

The best way to do this is through an estimator visiting your house, although now some shipping companies like PSS offer video surveys via a mobile app, or online calculators where you list what you wish to send.

Check everything you need to ship. Don’t forget hidden cupboards, attics, sheds, garages and anything stored at another site – it all adds up.

Additional Volume:

If you need to take extra items not included in your original quotation, it will likely increase the amount you need to pay. However, if you reduce your volume your shipping estimate may decrease.

Costs for Shipping Personal Effects and Household Goods

This article assumes you are moving to the UAE and shipping household or personal effects. You will, therefore, be less liable to pay taxes and other charges. Household goods and personal effects include everything from furniture and clothes to bicycles, golf clubs and other used personal items.

For new items and commercial goods, other conditions, duties and costs may apply.

What’s Included in the Price for International Removals?

The price estimates quoted here are based on a full international removal service to various locations in the UAE. This service is designed for people moving overseas or shipping personal effects and is much more comprehensive than using a freight forwarder or shipping port to port.

  • Door-to-door service (including pick up and delivery)
  • Professional export standard packing materials and cartons.
  • Use of reliable, regulated shipping lines such as Ocean Network Express (ONE), Maersk, Hapag Lloyd and Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC).
  • Packing, export wrapping and shipping of furniture.
  • Advice & assistance with completing forms, & other paperwork.
  • Customs inventory – numbering and listing of all packages.
  • UK & destination Port/Terminal handling charges.
  • Ocean freight to arrival vessel destination port.
  • Customs Clearance, haulage of container and unloading.
  • Some Storage may be included in the UK or the UAE.
  • Delivery of household effects to the residence, unwrapping and removal of packing materials (assumes good access and not above the first floor).

Cost of Car and Vehicle Shipping to Dubai / UAE

There are two main methods for shipping cars to the United Arab Emirates – in a shipping container or using a RORO (Roll-On-Roll-Off) service. If you are shipping other household goods it’s worth seeing if you can save money by shipping them in the same container.

Cars, bikes, motorhomes, caravans, motorbikes, and boats can all be shipped to the UAE and Dubai. We have a special service for shipping luxury cars to the Emirates.

There are restrictions on what cars and other vehicles can be shipped to the UAE from the UK. You will need to check that your vehicle meets these criteria.

For a quote and full details of the costs of shipping and importing vehicles to the UAE, please click here to visit our car shipping page or call our advisers on 020 8686 7733.

Get A Quote For Car & Vehicle Shipping To the UAE

Cheapest Shipping to the UAE – Warning

We have noticed that some shipping companies give misleading quotes for cheap shipping to the UAE. If you receive an estimate that seems very cheap compared to other shipping company quotes, please check carefully what is included.

We have frequently come across people who have been given a port-to-port price rather than a door-to-door price – which is not particularly helpful considering the additional expense and hassle of moving your goods from the port to your final destination!

Most reputable shipping and international removal companies will have fairly similar costs and estimates. Cheap shipping quotes may look attractive on the surface but often have hidden costs or shortcuts which could put your belongings at risk.

Main Reasons For Cheap Shipping Quotes For the UAE Can Include:
  • Port-to-port rather than door-to-door delivery.
  • Your quote is not for a full removal service, including packing, customs clearance, delivery, etc.
  • Price only includes container shipping to UAE or Dubai
  • The shipping company are using low-cost shipping lines, which may be cheaper but your belongings are at greater risk of delays, damages or even loss.
  • Unacceptable lower-grade packing materials or not professionally packed.
  • Some charges & fees are added on as extra later, so the headline quote looks cheap.
  • The removal/shipping company is not BAR or FIDI regulated.
  • The quote is cheaper as it does not include customs clearance and handling.
  • Unregulated or unreliable agents are used at the destination.

Why do Shipping Estimates Vary?

The shipping quotation you are given is an estimate, and your final invoice may be different for a number of reasons.

This is the case with all shipping companies; much can change between receiving your quote and your actual moving or shipping day.

Final shipping costs can change due to:

  • Exchange rate fluctuations.
  • Additional items were added that were not included in the original quotation.
  • Increases in port/shipping fees and other charges between receiving your estimate and your actual departure.
  • Varying costs and charges for different ports and shipping lines.
  • Seasonal variations (time of year).

Getting a Discount On Your Shipping to the United Arab Emirates.

Being flexible or planning your move date can help you get a lower price on your shipping/move costs. During peak season, costs are likely to be higher, and in quieter periods, shipping companies may offer discounts and promotions to help fill containers.

Quantity discounts are also available, so it could well be cheaper for you to ship more of your belongings rather than buy everything new in the UAE, where they may be expensive to replace.

What’s Not Included In Your Quote – Additional Charges and Fees

There are a number of additional charges and fees that are the responsibility of you as the owner rather than the shipping/removals company and these are not included in standard quotes. Some fees and charges will need to be paid separately at your destination.

  • Customs fees, duties and other charges payable to Government bodies (see below).
  • Wooden crates and antique wrapping for delicate items if required.
  • Additional charges for difficult access, e.g. above the first floor or if a shuttle service is needed to transport belongings from your house to the container.
  • Additional storage time in the UK or at the destination before delivery.
  • Shipment protection cover/insurance.
  • Parking permits, charges or associated fees for suspension /dispensation in order to facilitate removal in the UK or delivery at destination.

Customs Duties, Taxes and Other Fees

Usually, personal effects and household goods being shipped to the Emirates are exempted from duty. However, some restrictions may apply, and brand-new items will attract Custom duty at 5% of the invoice value.

UAE customs duties and import taxes are the responsibility of the person shipping and will need to be paid separately to UAE Customs, although the local shipping agent at your destination port may handle these for you.

A FIDI Guide to UAE Customs is available here.

Shipment Protection and Maritime Insurance

How Much Does Shipment Protection or Insurance Cost to the UAE?

Shipping companies, like PSS, who are members of BAR, are covered by the Advance Payment Guarantee scheme. Although this guarantees the payment and cost of removal if your removal company cannot complete your move, you should also consider protection for your belongings.

Shipment protection and insurance costs vary between companies and depend on whether it is self-packed or packed by the shipping/removal company.

Self-packed tends to be higher as it is not packed by professional packers.

Expect to pay anything from 3% to 7% of the total value of your goods.

(Some removal companies will allow you to select which particular items you wish to cover, saving you significantly on your insurance costs).

Shipping Costs to Other Countries

You may wish to check out our shipping cost guides to other countries such as Australia, Canada, Cyprus, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, Spain,  and USA.

Get a Quote For Shipping To the UAE From the UK

If you are moving to Dubai, Abu Dhabi or anywhere in the UAE, PSS International Removals will be happy to help. For over 40 years, we have helped thousands of people and families to move or ship belongings to the Emirates. Whether you are a first-time expat or a UAE citizen returning home, PSS can offer you the best prices on shipping for household removals, boxes of personal effects and cars.

The United Arab Emirates is one of our top shipping destinations. Due to our years of experience and the high volumes we ship, we can offer our customers the best service at the lowest prices.

To get an estimate or quote, call the PSS team on 020 8686 7733.

For more information or to get an online quote:

Get A House Removals Quote For the UAE Get A Quote For Shipping Boxes / Excess Baggage To the UAE Get A Quote For Car & Vehicle Shipping To the UAE
Jebel Ali Port, Dubai, UAE – the largest port in the Middle East