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Container Shipping to Egypt

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Updated on 29 Aug 20228 min read

Egypt is located close to the Suez Canal, an important shipping route to get goods to European countries. Because of this proximity, Egypt is a prime destination hub for various cargo. The country is also very active in international trade, annually exporting about $27 billion worth of goods. Among its top exports include petroleum and other mineral products, as well as vegetables and textiles.

If you are thinking about expanding your reach to the Egyptian market, here is your complete guide to container shipping to Egypt, including your options, estimated shipping costs and transit times, customs clearance, and more.

What are your options for container shipping to Egypt?

To ship a container to Egypt, your cargo will be transported via ocean freight. In this mode of shipment, you have two options: less than container load (LCL) or full container load (FCL).

Less than Container Load (LCL) to Egypt

Less than container load is best for small cargo or if you’re shipping in small quantities. In this mode of shipment, your goods will be sent in a shared container with cargo belonging to other sellers. Goods that are for LCL shipping undergo the consolidation process, which can take time and make transit longer. However, this is an economical shipping choice.

Full Container Load (FCL) to Egypt

On the other hand, full container load ships your goods in isolation. The entire space in a standard container is yours, so you can enjoy exclusive shipping. Because of this, the process can be much quicker, but the cost may be higher compared to LCL. FCL is best for large, heavy, overweight, and bulky cargo.

How much does it cost to ship a container to Egypt?

The cost of shipping a container to Egypt is dependent on various factors. These include:

  • Type of goods you are shipping
  • Your choice of shipping service (LCL or FCL)
  • Weight of your cargo
  • Volume of your cargo
  • Distance between your port of origin and destination
  • Movement type (door-to-door, port-to-port, etc.)

Ask your freight forwarder for a more accurate estimate of your shipping costs.

What type of cargo can be sent in a container?

Because you are shipping by sea, you are not bound by excessive limitations when it comes to the cargo that you can send. Ocean freight can accommodate almost every type of goods, from foodstuff to machinery and vehicles to manufacturing products.

However, it’s important to note that you should be aware of the customs rules of Egypt, particularly their prohibited and restricted goods. The former cannot be imported to Egypt while the latter would require additional certifications, licenses, or permits.

How long does it take to ship a container to Egypt?

The transit time for cargo bound for Egypt will differ, depending on your choice of ocean freight shipment (whether LCL or FCL), if your ship is direct or has multiple stops and the distance between your port of origin and port of destination in Egypt.

On average, the transit time can take 4 to 44 days. Below are estimated transit times from U.S. ports to Egypt.

U.S. Port of Origin|Estimated Transit Time to Turkey| ---------------- | ---------------- |----------: Cincinnati, Ohio|44 days Portland|44 days Seattle|44 days Atlanta, GA|4 days Charlotte|4 days Columbus|4 days

What container capacity do I need for my cargo?

Ocean freight container range in sizes, including:

  • 20 foot - 33.2 CBM
  • 40 foot regular - 63.5 CBM
  • 40 foot high cube - 76.4 CBM
  • 45 feet high cube - 86 CBM

The container capacity that you should choose would depend on the measurements and volume of your goods. But if you select LCL shipping, we recommend that you make sure that your goods do not occupy more than half of a standard unit. Otherwise, it may be more cost advantageous for you to simply select FCL as your mode of shipment.

FCL shipments, on the other hand, often are not limited by the size and volume of their cargo because the shipper can utilize the entire space in a standard container. Therefore, they can ship small items in a large container or take up all the allocated space with larger merchandise.

Which mode of ocean shipping should I choose, FCL, LCL, or Break Bulk?

Selecting the right mode of ocean shipping is the first step to a successful shipment. We provide some pointers for you below to help you make the best and most informed decisions.

Less Than Container Load (LCL) Shipping to Egypt

LCL shipping is the right option for you if your cargo is:

  • Small in size or quantity
  • Not delicate, perishable, or fragile
  • Suitable for frequent handling and movement
  • Suitable for consolidation with cargo belonging to other shippers
  • Not urgently needed.

Full Container Load (FCL) Shipping to Egypt

On the other hand, a full container load may be a better option for cargo that is:

  • Larger, bulky, overweight
  • Perishable, fragile, and delicate
  • Not suitable for frequent handling and movement
  • Safer in isolated shipping environments
  • Expected in Egypt at a specific date and time.

Break Bulk

Your freight forwarder may recommend break bulk shipping in case your cargo cannot fit in a standard container. In this mode of shipment, your goods will be packed and shipped separately in various containers.

Customs Clearance in Egypt

Before your goods can be cleared to enter Egypt, they will need to undergo the customs clearance process. This requires you to submit some documents prior to your goods arriving in the port of destination. These documents include:

  • Commercial invoice
  • Letter of credit/ other payment terms
  • Packing list
  • Certificates of origin
  • Import licenses
  • Bill of lading or airway bill, provided by Shipa Freight

We have a full documents list that you can refer to know more about these documents and see examples of each.

Which Incoterms would be the right choice for my shipment?

Selecting the right Incoterms for your shipment will help ensure that your liabilities and responsibilities are clearly outlined, preventing any issues throughout the shipping process. Below are the best Incoterms that can be used to ship containers to Egypt.

Best Incoterms for Exporters

CPT (Carriage Paid To): The seller must bring the goods to the agreed destination and carry out a contract of carriage. The seller is liable until the goods have been handed to the carrier.

CIP (Carriage and Insurance Paid To): Similar responsibilities as CPT, but with the added requirement on the seller’s part to obtain insurance.

DAP (Delivered At Place): The seller should deliver the goods to the buyer’s selected location and is responsible for the majority of the shipping process.

DDP (Delivery Duty Paid): The seller is responsible from the beginning to the end of the shipping process. This leaves the buyer with minimal responsibilities.

FCA (Free Carrier): The seller must deliver the goods to the carrier and shoulder the costs of customs.

Best Incoterms for Importers

FCA (Free Carrier): The seller must deliver the goods to the carrier and shoulder the costs of customs.

EXW (Ex Works): More responsibility is put on the buyer’s part, from picking up the goods at the seller’s premises or warehouse to arranging transport.

Processes to follow to ship a container to Egypt

When shipping a container to Egypt, we recommend that you engage a reliable freight forwarder who can guide you through the ins and outs of the shipping process and can ensure a successful shipment. A freight forwarder can help you make the best decisions, weigh your options, and select the best solutions for a seamless shipping experience.

If you have selected LCL as your mode of shipment, your goods will be brought to a container freight station for the consolidation process. Afterwards, it will undergo fumigation along with FCL shipments. This is to eliminate pests, insects, and harmful organisms that may contaminate the cargo during transit.

When the goods arrive in Egypt, they will go through customs clearance. This process should be a breeze if you were able to submit all the required documents and paperwork correctly and completely.

When the goods are cleared for import, they can be picked up at the port of destination. For shippers who select a specific movement type or service, such as port-to-door or door-to-door, the goods will be delivered to the nominated destination.

Main container ports of arrival in Egypt


The port of Alexandria is the largest in the Middle East and Africa. It is located at the west end of the Nile river. Its strategic location makes it the main port in Egypt and an important port for foreign trade.

Owned By: Alexandria Port Authority Annual Container Volume: > 1,442,712 TEUs UN/LOCODE: EGALY

El Maadiya

The El Maadiya port is a small port in Egypt that handles small volumes of cargo. It is a coastal breakwater harbour located east of the Alexandria port.

Owned By: The General Authority for Fish Resources Development Annual Container Volume: > 780,000 TEUs UN/LOCODE: EGELM

Port Said

Egypt’s Port Said is one of the busiest ports in the world of container transport, ranking at the 28th spot. In the Arab nation, it ranks second-busiest. Located on the Maritime Silk Road, the port has two divisions, namely the East Port Said Port and the Port Said Port.

Owned By: Port Said Port Authority Annual Container Volume: > 3,470,000 TEUs UN/LOCODE: EGPSD

Why Ship a Container to Egypt With Shipa Freight?

Shipa Freight is your reliable digital-first freight forwarder who can make shipping containers to Egypt an easy and stress-free experience for you. We have a digital platform where you can manage the entirety of your shipment and conduct the following actions through the comfort of your mobile device:

  • Get a quote
  • Place a shipment
  • Pay for your shipment
  • Manage your shipments
  • Track your cargo
  • Access customer support

Shipping containers to Egypt doesn’t have to be hard. Get started with Shipa Freight today by requesting a quote.

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