Compare International Removals

Get your free quotes and save up to 70% today!

Moving from?

Moving to?

Save up to 70% off your removal costs

Get up to 6 free, no obligation quotes

Compare verified removal companies

Compare My Move Fact-Checking Standards

The Compare My Move team follows strict guidelines to ensure that every piece of content is accurate, trust-worthy and adheres to the highest standard of quality. Each article is expertly reviewed by members of our author panel before being published to promote accurate and quality content.

All Compare My Move articles adhere to the following standards:

  • Expertly reviewed - Our articles are reviewed by an industry expert with in-depth knowledge and experience of the article topic.
  • Data supported - All statistics, research and data must link or reference to the original source.
  • Accuracy - All research and data are taken from high-quality, trustworthy and authoritative sources.
  • Quality checked - Our content writers ensure every Compare My Move article is written to the highest of standard.

Shipping Container Costs From the United Kingdom to UAE

Ashleigh Williams

Written by Reviewed by Dave Sayce

6th Sep 2022 (Last updated on 6th Sep 2022) 5 minute read

The average shipping cost to the UAE from the United Kingdom is £2,460. These figures are based on a 40ft container which can hold the contents of a 3-bedroom house. The cost of air freight to the UAE per 100kg is £278. These figures have been taken from our International Removals Cost Data.

When shipping to the UAE, you have two different types to choose from - sea and air freight. Both are great options to consider depending on the budget you’ve set and the number of items you need to ship.

In this article, we will be talking you through everything you need to know about shipping container costs from the United Kingdom, to help you with your removals to the UAE.

This article will cover the following:
  1. Sea Freight
  2. Air Freight
  3. FCL VS LCL Shipping
  4. Other Costs to Consider
  5. How Long Does Shipping Take?
  6. Prohibited Items to UAE
  7. Finding an International Removal Company to UAE

Sea Freight

If you’re looking to save money, sea freight is by far the best choice when shipping to the UAE. While it does take longer to arrive, it’s more eco-friendly, and it allows you to ship more items than air freight.


  • Ability to ship motor vehicles
  • Better for the environment
  • Pay for the size of the shipping container you select
  • Less expensive
  • Part-load options available


  • Delays are more common
  • Sea freight is less frequent
  • Goods take longer to arrive

Main UAE Ports and Routes

There are 12 main commercial ports in the UAE. As a result, there are a lot of choices when shipping household goods. The largest port is the Port of Jebel Ali, which is the largest harbour that’s man-made in the world.

Other popular shipping ports include:

  • Port Khalifa
  • Musaffah Port
  • Port of Mina Zayed
  • Mina Rashid Port

The Port of Felixstowe is the biggest container port in the UK. As a result, it’s likely your goods will ship from here.

Air Freight

Air freight is far quicker than sea freight, however, it’s significantly more expensive. If you need your goods to arrive quickly, it’s a useful shipping option to consider. Your goods will arrive at the most convenient UAE airport.


  • Fastest delivery time
  • Higher levels of security for your goods
  • Convenient and regular flight times
  • 9 airports to choose from


  • The higher cost
  • Costs are based on weight, not size
  • Less eco-friendly
  • Limitations on what can be shipped (eg motor vehicles)

Main UAE Airports and Routes

There are 9 main airports in the UAE. Dubai International Airport is the largest of the 9, followed by Abu Dhabi. The other airports include:

  • Sharjah
  • Al Maktoum
  • Bateen
  • Al Ain
  • Delma

The main UK airports that ship to the UAE is:

  • London Gatwick
  • London Heathrow
  • Birmingham
  • Glasgow International

FCL VS LCL Shipping

When shipping goods to the UAE, you will need to decide whether you want to ship full or part load. There are benefits to both depending on your specific needs and requirements. Here are some aspects to take into consideration:

  • Customs and duty charges
  • The weight of the items
  • Tracking
  • Insurance
  • The number of items
  • The size of the items
  • Distance travelled

The main differences between FCL and LCL shipping are:

Full Container Load (FCL)

If you’re looking to move all your household items, a full container load is the best option to consider. You pay for the entire 20ft or 40ft container, which you can fill with your goods. It’s the most economic option for those with a lot of goods. It’s the quicker option of the two.

Less Container Load (LCL)

If you have a smaller number of items, less container load is a suitable option to consider. It’s cheaper than a full container load, but it does take longer to arrive. This is because you’re sharing the container with others, limiting the space you have.

Other Costs to Consider

When shipping from the UK to the UAE, there are additional charges you may incur. These include:

Packing Services

Packing services are usually charged at around £250. The cost will vary depending on the number of goods, the items and the company. Packing services are useful to consider if you need assistance packaging your goods.

When it comes to packing, the UAE have stricter rules. When shipping via air freight to the UAE it’s a legal requirement that goods are professionally packaged. As a result, this is an additional charge you will need to consider if you choose to ship via air freight.

While packing services come at an extra charge, they ensure your goods are safe and protected during transit. Your goods are packaged by specialists who use high-quality packing materials.

Pick-up and Delivery

When moving internationally you will want to use a pick-up and delivery service. This ensures your goods are transported from door to door and it takes away the need for you to organise for your goods to be picked up from the port or airport when it arrives.

While many international removal companies offer the service in their initial quote, some may charge additionally for this. The cost of pick up and delivery will vary depending on the location, the number of goods you have, and the individual company.


Insurance will typically cost 4% of the total price of the goods you’re shipping. This is why it’s difficult to provide a clear estimate of the total cost. Insurance is an additional factor you will want to consider. It’s important you purchase an insurance policy that will cover all your goods.

The cost of the insurance will differ based on a number of factors, including:

  • Distance travelled
  • The number of items
  • The type of items
  • The country
  • How you’re shipping your goods
  • The insurance policy
  • The insurance company

All the international removal partners we work with are covered by Public Liability and Goods in Transit insurance. Many have additional insurance such as marine cargo insurance. This helps ensure your goods are protected during transportation. Even so, you should always have your own insurance policy in addition to this.

How Long Does Shipping Take?

The total shipping time will vary depending on the type of shipping you select. On average, air freight is swift, and will take 1-3 days to arrive. If you want to ship via sea freight, this will take up to 4 weeks to arrive.

When looking at LCL shipping, this arrives in around 6 weeks due to the container being shared with others. These times don’t factor in potential delays. FCL will always arrive quicker than LCL.

Prohibited Items to UAE

There are a number of prohibited items you aren’t able to bring into the UAE. Some of these items include:

  • Gambling tools
  • Counterfeit currency
  • Controlled and recreational drugs
  • Narcotic substances
  • Art and publications challenging the Islamic belief

For a full breakdown of prohibited and restricted items, take a look at The United Arab Emirates’ Government Portal.

Finding an International Removal Company to UAE

When you’re moving to the UAE, ensure you’re choosing a reliable and trustworthy company. Our international removals comparison service connects you with up to 6 different verified partners. We can help you save up to 70% on your move.

Ashleigh Williams

Having written book reviews and content for For The Love of Books for over five years, Ashleigh now creates advice articles for Compare My Move, focusing on all things home-related.

Dave Sayce

Reviewed by Dave Sayce

Owner & Managing Director, Compare My Move

Dave Sayce is the owner and managing director of Compare My Move and has over 10 years of experience in the house removals industry.