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Ocean & Air Shipping From China to Saudi Arabia

FCL, LCL and Air freight forwarding: information and online quote

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Close trading ties sustain the high volumes of commodities that businesses export from China to Saudi Arabia. China, the oriental giant of manufacturing and global outsourcing, is one of the Middle Eastern Kingdom’s top three trading partners. Volumes are expected to grow as Saudi Arabia seeks to diversify its economy from one traditionally based on oil.

If your business leverages the healthy exchange of trade between the two countries, your supply chain doubtless depends on ocean or air freight to import from China to Saudi Arabia.

Now you can ship your goods more efficiently, with fast online freight quotations, online booking and payment, and cargo tracking, all on one digital platform.

Try importing from China to Saudi Arabia with Shipa Freight, and discover the business benefits of our platform and service. You can get your first quote in moments, right here on this page, along with some essential tips for shipping.

How to Ship Ocean Freight From China to Saudi Arabia

Freight forwarding specialist studying performance graphs on giant tablet, adjacent to flags of China and Saudi Arabia

Want to get your goods transported in a shipping container from China to Saudi Arabia? It’s the way most exporters and importers do it, and we can help you keep the logistics process simple. Shipa Freight offers FCL and LCL sea freight services from several container ports in China, to the Saudi port of Jeddah, and also to Ad Dammam.

We’re an online freight forwarder, available round the clock, so you can get quotes and book ocean shipping for your goods whenever, without the need for phone calls and faxes. We ship port-to-port and door-to-door, and take care of customs clearance too.

Less than Container Load (LCL) From China to Saudi Arabia

Are your shipments small enough for LCL shipping? If you don’t need a full container all to yourself, we can consolidate your goods with other shipments to fill a container. Cargo shipped in this way is known as LCL ocean freight.

It’s typically more economical to ship smaller quantities like this. We’ll send the container from China to Saudi Arabia, where all the shipments, including yours, will be unloaded as part of a process called de-consolidation. If you choose door-to-door shipping, we’ll get your goods on a truck from the Saudi port to your chosen destination, anywhere in the KSA.

LCL pricing can sometimes be complicated to understand, but our quotations are broken down to make all fees transparent. If you’re not sure whether to ship LCL or FCL, you can request a Shipa Freight quote for each mode, and compare the prices.

Full Container Load (FCL) From China to Saudi Arabia

If you ship more than six pallets of goods from China to KSA, you might find it more economical to choose FCL ocean freight. In this scenario, your products will be loaded and sealed into a 20-foot shipping container. They will not share space with other shippers’ goods. For 15 pallets or more, you would need a 40-foot container.

FCL shipping is often faster than LCL, as there is no consolidation or de-consolidation. Your goods will also undergo less handling en route, so the risk of damage or loss is reduced. FCL shipping rates may also be easier to understand, as they are usually based on a flat rate per container, and not on complicated dimensional weight calculations.

Shipa Freight offers FCL shipping from port-to-port or door-to-door, using several origin ports in China. We'll bring your imports into Saudi Arabia through the ports of Jeddah and Ad Dammam. Wherever possible, we will book your freight onto vessels sailing from China to the KSA without any en-route stops, making FCL freight the fastest way to ship by sea.

Cargo Ports of Origin in China


Shanghai is the largest container port in the world, and has multiple deep and shallow water zones. The majority of goods imported from China to Saudi Arabia embark from Shanghai. Several shipping lines operate routes between here and the two primary ports in the KSA. Owned By: Shanghai International Port Company Ltd.

Annual Container Volume: >40 million TEUs.



Located just outside of Macau, Zhuhai is one of several ports serving the Southern Chinese province of Guangdong. While its container throughput is only around 5% of that processed by giant ports like Shanghai, Zhuhai is still a principal export gateway. It has some 130 berths along the Pearl River estuary's west bank.

Owned By: Zhuhai Port Corporation.

Annual Container Volume: >2.25 million TEUs.



Another of China’s smaller container ports, Wuhu, serves Anhui Province and surrounding areas. If your Saudi Arabian imports come from a supplier in this region, we can keep overland transportation to a minimum by routing them through Wuhu.

Owned By: Wuhu Port Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >500,000 TEUs.



With its reputation for fast vessel turnaround and efficient container management, Ningbo-Zhoushan Port has to be a top choice for faster shipment times. The port boasts sophisticated container-management technology to load and unload the latest and largest ships. It also happens to be the fourth-busiest container port in the world. That means you'll rarely have trouble finding a carrier for your ocean freight from Ningbo-Zhoushan to the KSA.

Owned By: Ningbo Zhoushan Port Co., Ltd.

Annual Container Volume: >26 million TEUs.



Another of the world's top five container ports, Shenzhen is located on the Kowloon peninsula. It is divided into East and West port areas. Over 130 international shipping routes begin or end at Shenzhen, or include it as an en-route stop. Because of the port’s composite nature, you might find that when booking your freight, the origin might not be named as Shenzhen, but, for example, as Chiwan, Shekou, or Yantian.

Owned By: Multiple owners.

Annual Container Volume: >27 million TEUs.


Other Ports in China

If none of the ports outlined above prove ideal as origins for your shipments, Shipa Freight can also dispatch your Chinese exports from any of the following ocean freight gateways:

  • Tianjin
  • Wuhan
  • Chongqing
  • Qinzhou
  • Zhongshan
  • Guangzhou
  • Qingdao
  • Dalian
  • Fuzhou
  • Lianyungang
  • Shantou
  • Xiamen

Cargo Ports of Arrival in Saudi Arabia

Jeddah Islamic Port

Jeddah Islamic Port lies on the Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia. It is the second-largest container port in the Arab world. Jeddah's port complex is spread over 12 square kilometers. It has several berths capable of accommodating the largest container ships. It is the principal cargo port for Saudi Arabia. Hence, a large proportion of imports from China arrive here for customs clearance and onward transportation.

Owned By: Saudi Ports Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >4 million TEUs.



Located on the Persian Gulf, Ad Dammam's port is on the opposite side of the country from Jeddah and is considerably smaller. However, it is a critical gateway for imports from all over the world, especially for those arriving on container vessels plying Westward routes from China.

If you wish to keep transit time down when shipping between the two countries, Dammam will probably be a better port of unloading than Jeddah. Routing via Dammam can reduce ocean-shipping times by a day or two. Of course, this will depend on your goods' final destination in Saudi Arabia. If you are shipping to Riyadh and its surrounds, for instance, Dammam would probably be the right choice.

Owned By: Saudi Ports Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >1.5 million TEUs.


Air Freight From China to Saudi Arabia

Do you need a freight forwarder to help you with both ocean and air shipping? Shipa Freight is one of the few that operates a digital platform for speed, simplicity, and convenience. Most forwarders tend to specialize in one or the other. We're different because we offer the same online quotation, booking, payment, and tracking facilities for air freight as for our FCL and LCL ocean services.

We can ship your exports fast from several airports across China, to arrive at Jeddah, Riyadh, or Dammam Airport in the KSA.

There are a few good reasons to have your cargo shipped as air freight, as long as your budget allows for the higher cost of transportation. Speed is the obvious benefit, but there are additional advantages related to security and flexibility. However, the price for air freight might be prohibitive if your shipments are large enough to occupy more than a few pallets.

Airports of Origin in China

Shanghai Pudong

Pudong International Airport is situated some 30 kilometers east of Shanghai. It is one of two airports serving the city and surrounding regions. It is also one of the largest cargo airports in the world, and one of the best, having received awards such as the Air Cargo Excellence Diamond Award, bestowed upon it by Air Cargo World in 2019.

Despite Pudong’s size and importance, though, there are no direct flights between Shanghai and the three principal airports of the KSA. However, you can, of course, fly your freight via indirect routes, with one or more transshipments between Shanghai and Jeddah, Dammam, or Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia Airports Served: None.

Shanghai to Saudi Arabia Cargo-Only Operators: None.



Qingdao’s airport, known as Liuting, is surrounded by the city from which it takes its name. Since this presents little opportunity for the airport to expand, its successor, the soon-to-be-opened Qingdao Jiadong Airport, will become the new cargo gateway for this part of China. Until then, you can ship your freight from here, via indirect flights, to your nearest international airport in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia Airports Served: None.

Qingdao to Saudi Arabia Cargo-Only Operators: None.



More than 500,000 tonnes of air freight pass through the cargo facilities at Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport, making it the fifth-busiest airport in China for cargo. No direct cargo or passenger flights currently connect Chengdu with airports in the KSA. However, we can ship your goods using indirect routings, which will still be significantly faster than ocean freight.

Saudi Arabia Airports Served: None.

Chengdu to Saudi Arabia Cargo-Only Operators: None.



Zhengzhou is the capital of China’s Henan Province, and Xinzheng International Airport is its air freight gateway. Xinzheng is the only international airport in the province and is the busiest for freight anywhere in central China. It's the 12th most active in the country as a whole.

Saudi Arabia Airports Served: None.

Zhengzhou to Saudi Arabia Cargo-Only Operators: None.



Beijing Capital International is the world’s second-busiest airport and China’s busiest, both for passengers and air freight. That means plenty of flights on which to ship your exports from China to the KSA. While not as crucial as Shanghai Pudong for air freight, Beijing's excellent road and rail connections make it a popular air freight gateway. It can be used for air freight originating in many of China's northern and central provinces.

Saudi Arabia Airports Served: None.

Beijing to Saudi Arabia Cargo-Only Operators: None.


Other Airports in China

If you are looking for an alternative airport of origin for your shipments from China to Saudi Arabia, Shipa Freight can provide quotes for air freight from the following Chinese gateways:

  • Wuhan
  • Xiamen
  • Shanghai Hongqiao
  • Guangzhou
  • Shenzhen

Airports of Arrival in Saudi Arabia

Although the KSA has six or seven international airports, at Shipa Freight, we operate air freight services to three principle destinations of Dammam, Riyadh, and Jeddah. If your goods are destined for the West of the country, Jeddah will likely be your most appropriate arrival airport. Riyadh is convenient for destinations in the central and southern regions, and Dammam for destinations along the Persian Gulf Coast and the East.


Riyadh’s King Khalid Airport has one of the few direct air freight connections from China, operated by Saudia Cargo, which brings Chinese imports from Guangzhou Baiyun. If Guangzhou is not an ideal departure point for you, however, we can fly your freight using indirect services from several other airports in China, such as Shanghai and Beijing Capital

Connected Airports in China: Guangzhou.

China to Riyadh Cargo-Only Operators: Saudia Cargo.



Like Riyadh, King Abdulaziz International Airport, just north of Jeddah, is the terminus of direct flights from Guangzhou in China. Saudia operates both passenger and cargo services between Guangzhou and Jeddah.

Connected Airports in China: Guangzhou.

China to Jeddah Cargo-Only Operators: Saudia Cargo.



An ideal arrival airport for freight bound for the Eastern regions of the KSA, Dammam King Fahd International is the third of our Saudi air freight gateways. We can ship your goods here from most of China’s international airports, albeit on indirect routes only. If the final destination is in Dammam, Jubail, Ras Tanura, Khobar, Qatif, or Dhahran, for example, Dammam will be your most convenient airport of discharge.

Connected Airports in China: None.

China to Dammam Cargo-Only Operators: None.


Customs Clearance Procedures in China and Saudi Arabia

China and Saudi Arabia are two countries in which customs procedures can be complicated. That’s why it makes sense to work with a freight forwarder that’s familiar with China to Saudi trade lanes.

At Shipa Freight, we have local experts in both countries to help clear your freight through customs with a minimum of frustration. Our online platform also has an integrated compliance engine to help you provide correct and accurate information, as required by the relevant customs authorities.

Customs Documentation

While customs documentation requirements can vary from country to country, there are some specific forms and papers necessary for both export and import customs clearance.

For example, customs authorities in China will require all the following documents for export clearance, as will the Saudi customs service when assessing your shipment during the import clearance process:

  • Bill of lading (Shipa Freight will provide this for you)
  • Certificate of origin
  • Tax invoice
  • Commercial invoice
  • Letter of credit
  • Packing list

If you’d like to see some examples of the documents listed above, and get some more information about them, head over to our Document List page, where you’ll find overviews and examples.

How Long Does it Take to Ship Cargo From China to Saudi Arabia?

There is a world of difference between air freight and ocean freight transit times. You must typically allow several weeks for an LCL or FCL ocean freight shipment to arrive in Saudia Arabia from its port of origin in China.

On the other hand, air freight spends mere hours in transit, making it the logical choice if your supply chain depends on rapid shipping. Remember, though, that air freight, like ocean freight, must also undergo customs clearance at both ends of its journey. Realistically then, it takes a few days before a shipment flown from China is available to the recipient in the KSA.

How Long Does It Take to Ship Cargo by Sea From China to Saudi Arabia?

Transit times for sea freight from China to Saudi Arabia depend on several factors, such as:

  • Whether you choose to ship using LCL or FCL services
  • Whether your goods clear customs without any delays
  • Whether your freight is on a direct route, or one with stops on the way
  • Whether the vessel steams fast or slow

With so many variables, it's not easy to predict precisely how long it takes to ship ocean freight between the two countries. To give you some idea though, here are some examples from our schedules:

  • Qingdao to Jeddah – 36 days FCL
  • Guangzhou to Ad Dammam – 20 days FCL, 42 days LCL
  • Shanghai to Ad Dammam – 30 days FCL, 31 days LCL

How Long Does It Take to Ship Cargo by Air From China to Saudi Arabia?

Most of the time consumed in shipping air freight, is that required for freight consolidation/de-consolidation, and customs clearance in the airports of origin and discharge.

Typically though, air freight from Shanghai to Dammam and Riyadh takes around five days. Other routes, such as those listed below, take approximately eight days from departure in China, to clearance for onward shipping in Saudi Arabia:

  • Shanghai to Jeddah
  • Guangzhou to Riyadh
  • Guangzhou to Dammam

How Much Does it Cost to Ship Cargo From China to Saudi Arabia?

Pair of hands on a desk, with the left hand operating a desktop calculator and the right hand writing on a notepad with a pen

While you will find some variance in the transit times for freight shipped between China and the KSA, you will encounter much more in the range of cost options.

Naturally, air freight is more expensive than ocean freight. However, the cost difference might be negligible for shipments of around 100 kilograms in weight. The larger the load though, the more expensive it becomes to fly your goods as opposed to shipping them by sea. If time is on your side, ocean freight will invariably be the most economical shipping mode. The cost of Air freight might be more justifiable when you need to get goods quickly from China to their Saudi destination.

If your shipments are less than 35 kilograms in weight, neither air nor ocean freight services, as offered by a freight forwarder, will be cost-effective. For consignments that small, it will be best to contact an international courier company. Indeed, at Shipa Freight, we only accept bookings for shipments of 35 kilograms and over.

“With Shipa Freight, I could do everything from quotation to booking with just a click”.

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