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An import guide to transporting cargo to Egypt [Updated: Nov 2021]

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Updated on 23 Nov 20219 min read

This shipping guide is meant to introduce you to Egypt, an emerging market that has a well-balanced economy by regional standards. It is diversified across manufacturing and extraction activity, including the mining, oil and gas sectors, agriculture, construction, tourism, as well as various segments in a rapidly emerging services sector.

Manufacturing activity is the largest single contributor to GDP, accounting for 16.2 percent of the total GDP in 2016. The manufacturing sector is also an important element of the broader national expansion plan, with six segments identified as areas of potential growth: engineering, machinery and equipment, consumer electronics, life sciences, biotechnology, automotive components, and handicrafts.

Source: World Economic Overview Database

What are Your Options for Shipping Freight To Egypt?

You can ship cargo to Egypt by sea or by air.

Ocean Freight To Egypt

With GDP growth hitting 4.3% in 2015⁄2016, Egypt’s economy has been slowly improving since 2011. Given its close proximity to the Suez Canal, ocean freight to Egypt is an extremely popular route with shippers.

In 2015, it exported $27.7 billion worth of goods, with mineral products such as crude petroleum and refined petroleum forming nearly a quarter of that. Textiles and vegetable products form the second and third largest exported products.

Ocean freight to Egypt is very much in demand, with imports reaching a whopping $76.4 billion. Of these, nearly 43% came from Asia and 42% from Europe. Machines, mineral products, and metals make up Egypt’s three most imported products.

One of the most crucial aspects of your ocean freight to Egypt is deciding between shipping a Full Container Load (FCL) or a Less than a Container Load (LCL). The difference lies between the amount of cargo you have. There are two commonly used containers for ocean freight to Egypt.

They are mainly the 20-foot container and the 40-foot container, which carry 10 standard American pallets and 21 standard American pallets respectively. To give you a better idea of measurement, a standard American pallet measures 47.24 inches long and 39.37 inches wide.

In general, it’s advisable to opt for an FCL if your cargo will be occupying more than half of the container space or if you’re shipping sensitive material. This allows you to lower your risk of contamination and damages as you will have the entire container to yourself.

On the other hand, if you’re shipping studier goods and don’t mind sharing a container, LCL would be the way to go as it is more cost-effective.

Air Freight To Egypt

You can also ship your goods to Egypt via air freight, which offers a more flexible and faster shipping process compared to ocean freight. However, air freight may be more costly than shipping by sea.

How Much Does it Cost to Ship Cargo To Egypt?

The cost of your shipment to Egypt would depend on a variety of factors, among which include:

  • The type of goods you are shipping
  • Your chosen mode of shipment (ocean freight or air freight)
  • The weight and volume of your cargo
  • The size/ dimensions of your cargo
  • The distance between your origin country and Egypt
  • Specific movement types, i.e. door-to-door, port-to-door, door-to-port, port-to-port

If you need a more accurate estimate of your shipping costs, contact your freight forwarder and request a quote.

How Long Does it Take to Ship Cargo To Egypt?

A lot of factors come into play to determine the duration of your shipment. These include the type of shipping mode you select, whether ocean freight (FCL/ LCL) or air freight, if your route is direct or has multiple stops, and the distance between your origin country and Egypt.

Ocean Freight to Egypt

Origin Country Transit Time LCL Transit Time FCL
China 38 - 40 days 36 - 54 days
Korea 41 days
Spain 18 days
UAE 21 days 19 - 36 days
India 26 - 40 days 23 - 55 days
Germany 20 days
Indonesia 36 days
Italy 22 days 15 days
Jordan 16 days
Mexico 31 - 33 days
Norway 26 days
Poland 23 days
Thailand 32 days

Air Freight to Egypt

Origin Country **Transit Time **
China 7 - 8 days
France 5 days
Jordan 2 - 8 days
Korea 8 days
Malaysia 5 days
Switzerland 2 days
UAE 1 - 8 days
USA 5 - 8 days

Import Requirements & Documentation

For an imported shipment to be accepted by the Egyptian Customs, the shipment must have the following documents:

Advance Registration of Cargo Information (ACI)

In accordance with Egypt customs regulations going into effect in 2021, an Advance Registration of Cargo Information (ACI) is now required prior to moving any ocean freight cargo to Egypt.

Importers must register the shipper and all the details related to the inbound shipment with Egyptian customs prior to moving the freight. Accordingly, the importer will receive an ACI number that needs to be shared with the shipper. The ACI number must be recorded on all the commercial documents and the bill of lading.

After July 1, 2021, any shipment arriving without the ACI number will have to be re-exported and relevant fines will be applied. Please make sure to request the ACI number and make sure it is on the bill of lading. Carriers are unlikely to release cargo without the ACI number.

Commercial Invoice

Two copies plus the original document are required. Legalization by the Egyptian consulate in the country of origin is also required in most cases.

Certificate of Origin

Two copies plus the original document are required. The Certificate of Origin must be authenticated by the Egyptian Consulate in the country of origin. Natural products are considered to originate in the country where the goods are extracted.

The Certificate of Origin must bear a statement that the information given is true and correct to the best of the shipper's knowledge.

Packing List

A packing list may be required by the consignee and is recommended in most cases.

Bill of Lading

A bill of lading must show the name of the shipper, the address, and the number of bills of lading issued. There are no regulations specifying the form or number of bills of lading required for shipment. It would depend upon the carrier.

Pro Forma Invoice

This is an invoice required by the importer for submission along with the import license. It must show the country where the goods were manufactured.

Letter of Credit

The Central Bank of Egypt advises all banks operating in Egypt that letters of credit (L/Cs) must be covered 100 percent in cash by the importer, except for some food items. This replaces the previous procedure whereby banks and their clients reached their own agreements and usually covered 10-20 percent of an L/C’s value.

In general, the exporter may not ship the goods before the Egyptian bank has provided notification of the opening of a L/C. If the goods are shipped before the L/C is opened, the importer runs the risk of being fined up to a maximum value of the goods.

If the importer does not bear the cost, then the exporter will have lost the value of such a shipment, and in the case of products with a limited shelf-life, the delay at Customs can mean that even if the exporter (e.g., a U.S. company) wanted to take back the shipment, it’s no longer of any use.

According to new regulations, the U.S. exporter must submit the invoice as well as export documentation to his bank and the U.S. bank should inform the Egyptian bank about a request to open the L/C. Import transactions are based on document collections.

Content Analysis of the Commodity

This is only required for those products that may be subject to standards testing. Inspection and quality control certificates from other authorities as required.

All certificates issued concerning the shipment of product, and the product description, must be countersigned by the Chamber of Commerce and notarized by the Egyptian Embassy or Consulate in the country of origin.

Source: Egypt Country Commercial Guide

Shipping To Egypt: FCL or LCL?

If you select to ship by sea, you need to choose between FCL and LCL shipping. Here are some tips to help you make a decision, considering the particulars of your cargo.

Less than Container Load To Egypt

  • Less than container load may be the right shipping option for you if your cargo is:
  • Small in size and quantity
  • Suitable for consolidation with cargo from other sellers
  • Not expected in Egypt at a specified time
  • Suitable for frequent handling and movement
  • Not perishable, fragile, or delicate

Full Container Load To Egypt

If the above does not match your needs, you may consider full container load. This shipping option is ideal if your cargo is:

  • Large, bulky, and oversized
  • Better of shipped in isolation
  • Expected in Egypt at a specified time
  • Not suitable for frequent handling and movement
  • Perishable, fragile, or delicate

Egypt’s Primary Port

Port Said East

The Port of Said is the 28th busiest seaport in regards to container transport. It is located in the city of Port Said in Egypt and is the second busiest in the Arab world. The Port is split into two, there is the Port Said and East Port Said.

Port Said East is home to the Suez Canal Container Terminal (SCCT) and is over 19 kilometers long (12 miles). It is located east of the Northern entrance to the Suez Canal and is considered to be one of the most important ports in Egypt.

Source: Egyptian City of Port Said, Where East Meets West

Egypt’s Primary Airport

Cairo International Airport

The Cairo International Airport is the principal international airport of Cairo and the busiest airport in Egypt. It is the cargo hub for the nation, with destinations across several metropolises worldwide. The following cargo airlines service these destinations.

Airlines Destinations
Air France Cargo Bangui, Paris–Charles de Gaulle, N'Djamena, Reunion
Cargolux Beirut, Luxembourg
DHL International Aviation ME Bahrain
EgyptAir Cargo Cologne/Bonn, Istanbul–Atatürk, Milan–Malpensa, Ostend/Bruges, Sharjah
Emirates SkyCargo Dubai–Al Maktoum
Ethiopian Airlines Cargo Addis Ababa, Beirut, Liège
Kalitta Air Charleston
Lufthansa Cargo Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Milan–Malpensa, Sharjah
Martinair Amsterdam
Royal Jordanian Cargo Amman–Queen Alia, Maastricht/Aachen
Turkish Cargo Istanbul–Atatürk

Top Commodities Imported to Egypt (2018)

  1. Wheat 5.41%
  2. Refined Petroleum 5.29%
  3. Crude Petroleum 3.9%
  4. Semi-Finished Iron 3.19%
  5. Cars 2.8%

Source: OEC Egypt Profile (2018)

Top Tradelanes to Egypt

  1. China 14.7%
  2. Russia 9.23%
  3. United States 5.87%
  4. Germany 4.56%
  5. Turkey 3.79%

Source: OEC Egypt Profile

Ocean and Air Shipping To Egypt: Why Choose Shipa Freight?

If you need to ship cargo to Egypt, engage your reliable freight forwarder, Shipa Freight for a hassle-free and easy process. Our digital platform allows you to manage your entire shipment from your mobile device. From comparing quotes to tracking your cargo, Shipa Freight provides the functions of traditional freight shipping at the convenience of modern technology.

Get started with your shipment today.