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Ocean and Air Shipping From China to UAE

Information and quote from China to Dubai for LCL, FCL and Air shipping

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The United Arab Emirates’ location between Europe and the Far East has played a vital role in aiding its development as a global commercial hub, with Dubai being the focal point for much of the region’s economic activity.

If your business is planning to use the UAE’s ports or airports for trade shipments from China, use Shipa Freight. We’re a new kind of freight forwarder offering comprehensive shipping services via our online portal. Our exclusively web-based approach has distinct advantages for you, increasing the speed with which you can get quotes for exporting and importing from China to Dubai and around the UAE.

If you’ve shunned the idea of sending freight from the Far East to the Middle East by air or sea due to high costs or customs complications, help is at hand. Shipa Freight’s easy-to-follow processes will make it simple for your business to access the world of international shipping.

This will help boost your ability to import and export from China to Dubai and the rest of the UAE—and to compete on the world stage. Using the cutting-edge logistics and global shipping expertise of our parent company Agility Logistics, we are ready to transform the way you export and import from China to Dubai and the UAE.

Shipping Ocean Freight From China to UAE

Warehouse operative pushing a trolley filled with cartons from the flag of China to the flag of the United Arab Emirates

Securely share details of your consignment with Shipa Freight, including the weight, dimensions, and volume of your goods, and our platform will organize and coordinate the shipment of your freight from China to Dubai.

The type of ocean shipping container you will require will depend on the nature of your goods. Shipa Freight might recommend an extra-high, half-height, refrigerated, open-top or flat-rack container when you input details of your sea freight.

Your consignment can be sent from port in China to its destination in the United Arab Emirates by FCL or LCL (see below), on pallets loaded into 20ft or 40ft containers. Don’t worry. Shipa Freight quickly calculates and procures precisely what you need, with all costs included in your bespoke quote.

Shipping LCL Ocean Freight From China to UAE

LCL will see your cargo share space in a container from China to Dubai or another UAE port with freight from other international importers and exporters. LCL is a popular option for businesses with small consignments to send—goods totaling less than the 33 cubic meter capacity of the smallest shipping containers.

Shipa Freight will generate a quick online quote. Bookings and payments also happen online. LCL typically takes longer than FCL (below) as there are extra logistics involved in combining your shipment with other cargo. You should also know that LCL goes through a lot of handling, so be sure to carefully and securely pack your goods for their journey in a shipping container from China to Dubai. Consider also the potential risk this extra handling could pose to perishable or delicate goods.

Shipping a Full Container Load (FCL) From China to UAE

As an innovation and service-focused freight forwarder, Shipa Freight can help you book ocean freight from China to Dubai and the UAE with speed and ease. FCL is a good option if you want a container exclusively for your freight. It will probably be your most cost-effective shipping option, as long as you have enough cargo to fill six or more standard pallets in a 20ft container, or 12 or more in a 40ft container.

Unlike LCL, there will be no consolidation in China or de-consolidation in the UAE, so less handling of your cargo—reassuring if your goods are delicate. Your consignment will travel sealed in its container from departure to destination unless customs officials in China or Dubai say otherwise.

Shipa Freight gives you the option of choosing port to port, port to door, door to door or door to port services when sending goods from China to Dubai and other destinations in the United Arab Emirates.

Cargo Ports of Origin in China


China has its fair share of economic hotspots, and here’s another on the Pearl River Delta. The main port serving the city that shares its name, Guangzhou is popular with importers and exporters due to its location at the intersection of the Xijiang, Beijiang and Dongjiang Rivers. Container cargo handling is one of the many freight services offered here.

Owned By: Guangzhou Port Group Company Ltd.

Annual Container Volume: >21.9 million TEUs.



Xiamen Island, a nearby estuary and a stretch of coastline all form part of the expansive Port of Xiamen. It’s ranked among the world’s top-ten biggest cargo handling centers, thanks to its nine container terminals, which give it the capacity to handle consignments to over 50 other destinations worldwide, including Dubai.

Owned By: Xiamen Port Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >10 million TEUs.



Container shipping vessels from over 700 destinations drop anchor in Qingdao, marking it out as a premier port, well capable of handling your shipment from China to the UAE. It’s likely to be your closest major port if your goods are manufactured in Shandong Province, or if your supply chain is connected to this area of China’s industrial heartland.

Owned By: Qingdao Port (Group)Ltd.

Annual Container Volume: >18 million TEUs.



Shanghai remained the world’s biggest port in 2019, a year that also saw it awarded the title of best-connected port on the planet. It’s little surprise that many businesses choose this as their port of origin for shipments from China to Dubai and the UAE. Getting your goods into port ready for shipping is made easier by the quality and quantity of road and rail links to the port. Once quay-side, your freight will be expertly processed and loaded onto a vessel using advanced technology.

Owned By: Shanghai International Port Company Ltd.

Annual Container Volume: >40 million TEUs.



A seaport in the Dawan District of Guangdong Province, Shekou’s extensive container terminal is a port of origin for vessels bound for the Port of Jebel Ali in Dubai. If you book an FCL shipment, your container could arrive in the United Arab Emirates in 18 days, making Shekou-to-Jebel Ali one of the quickest ocean freight trade routes between China and the UAE. It also makes Shekou a good alternative to the nearby larger and busier port of Shenzhen.

Owned By: China Merchants Shekou Port Service Company Ltd.

Annual Container Volume: >46,000 TEUs.


Other Ports in China

As well as the five ports described above, Shipa Freight can also dispatch your freight from the following container gateways in China:

  • Tianjin
  • Wuhan
  • Ningbo-Zhoushan
  • Qinzhou
  • Zhuhai
  • Zhongshan
  • Shantou
  • Shenzhen
  • Lianyungang
  • Wuhu
  • Dalian

Cargo Ports of Arrival in the UAE

Dubai - Jebel Ali

This Persian Gulf port is located 35km Southwest of Dubai. It’s the world’s largest man-made harbor and easily the busiest and biggest port in the Middle East. The container yard spans over one million square meters and includes Dutch barns, covered sheds, and open storage space.

The cargo village is linked to Dubai’s expressway for fast onward transit for your shipments from China. The port’s Mega Cargo Terminal opened in 2008 and features state-of-the-art equipment for processing all kinds of freight.

Owned By: Dubai Ports World.

Annual Container Volume: >13.6 million TEUs.


Abu Dhabi - Khalifa

This Abu Dhabi seaport is one of the world’s most modern. Opened in 2012, it has a semi-automated container terminal among its many high-tech facilities. Further development is scheduled over the next decade to expand its freight handling capacity. But it’s already a choice port of discharge for many shippers with consignments from China.

Owned By: Abu Dhabi Ports.

Annual Container Volume: >14.5 million TEUs.


Sharjah - Khor Fakkan

Sharjah’s main port is the only one in the United Arab Emirates that sits outside the Strait of Hormuz. It’s a key container hub in the region with outstanding facilities that allow for ultra-efficient deconsolidation and discharge of goods shipped from China. Rapid transit routes will also enable swift delivery of your goods to other locations across the UAE.

Owned By: Sharjah Ports Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >3 million TEUs.


Air Freight From China to Dubai and the UAE

There is no quicker way for Shipa Freight to get your goods from China to Dubai and the United Arab Emirates than by air shipping. We can get your cargo from China to a UAE airport in as little as seven days. If your cargo is perishable or delicate, sending it as air freight is likely to be preferable to the weeks it will spend at sea if you choose ocean shipping.

But there are reasons other than a quicker journey time that should tempt you to get your pallets loaded onto a plane rather than a cargo vessel:

  • Less handling – there is no LCL or FCL with air cargo
  • More security – airlines have stricter security procedures than ocean shippers
  • Cheaper insurance – less time in transit usually means lower premiums

Airports of Origin in China


If your goods bound for Dubai and the UAE emanate from Western China, Chengdu could be your best option as a departure airport. This former military airfield in Sichuan Province is China’s fifth-biggest for air cargo and handled over 600,000 tonnes in 2018.

UAE Airports Served: Abu Dhabi.

Chengdu to UAE Cargo-Only Operators: None.


Shanghai Pudong

Many companies will shortlist Shanghai Pudong when planning their strategy for shipping air freight from China to Dubai. It’s no surprise, as this is the world’s third-largest hub for air cargo, with advanced facilities enabling freight handlers to process 3.7 million metric tonnes of freight in 2018.

UAE Airports Served: Dubai International, Dubai Al Maktoum, Abu Dhabi.

Shanghai to UAE Cargo-Only Operators: DHL Aviation, Emirates Sky Cargo, FedEx Express, Etihad Cargo.



Located 19 kilometers north of Chongqing, this airport in the Yubei District in Western China has three terminals with a fourth scheduled for completion within a decade. Demand for export and import services in the region has been heavy, resulting in Chongqing becoming China’s tenth-busiest for cargo. This expansion has mainly been driven by large, multinational IT production companies increasing their usage of the airport’s export facilities.

UAE Airports Served: Dubai International, Abu Dhabi.

Chongqing to UAE Cargo-Only Operators: Etihad Cargo.



This air gateway is located in the geographical center of China’s air network, making it a popular commercial trading and air freight hub. Serving the capital of Hubei Province, a quarter of a million tonnes of air cargo are handled at Wuhan Airport annually. A transportation hub connects the airport with the city of Wuhan which is 26km to the south.

UAE Airports Served: Dubai International, Dubai Al Maktoum.

Wuhan to UAE Cargo-Only Operators: Emirates Sky Cargo.



The Special Economic Zone in Shenzhen has created a thriving hub for electronics manufacturing in the region that has boosted Shenzhen Baoan Airport’s popularity with international shippers. If your goods are among the many manufactured in the region or your supplier is based here, using this as your export gateway to Dubai makes sense.

UAE Airports Served: Dubai International, Dubai Al Maktoum.

Shenzhen to UAE Cargo-Only Operators: UPS Airlines.


Other Airports in China

As well as the airports featured above, Shipa Freight can route your air freight to Dubai and the UAE with a carrier flying out of any of the following Chinese airports:

  • Qingdao
  • Wuhan
  • Xiamen
  • Guangzhou
  • Beijing
  • Zhengzhou
  • Shanghai Hongqiao

Airports of Arrival in the UAE

Dubai International

The Al Garhoud District in the United Arab Emirates plays host to Dubai International Airport, the world’s sixth-busiest cargo hub. As well as highly advanced cargo processing facilities, there is a specialist flower center here which can receive and expertly process your delicate and perishable goods from China.

Connected Airports in China: Chongqing, Beijing-Capital, Shanghai-Pudong, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Wuhan, Chengdu.

China to Dubai Cargo-Only Operators: FedEx Express, UPS Airlines.


Dubai Al Maktoum

Dubai’s growing popularity as a center of trade and commerce made it inevitable that a second airport would be required. In 2010, Al Maktoum opened in Jebel Ali. This international cargo gateway cost over US$75 million to build. Initially, the airport exclusively handled cargo flights but has since expanded to include passenger flights. Al Maktoum is linked to Dubai International Airport—40km away—by an expressway.

Connected Airports in China: Guangzhou, Shanghai-Pudong, Wuhan.

China to Dubai Cargo-Only Operators: Emirates Sky Cargo.


Abu Dhabi

The facilities here are impressive, and they have to be, as this is the second-busiest air cargo hub in the Emirates, handling close to 1 million tonnes of freight annually. Shipa Freight can route your consignment from China through the modern cargo facilities at Abu Dhabi, and quickly and cost-effectively transport them elsewhere in the region.

Connected Airports in China: Chengdu, Beijing-Capital, Shanghai-Pudong,

China to Abu Dhabi Cargo-Only Operators: Etihad Cargo.



Sharjah International Airport is a modern cargo hub located 13km Southeast of Sharjah. The five cargo terminals can handle multiple types of air freight, including livestock and goods that require temperature control, thanks to its modern freight facilities.

Connected Airports in China: None.

China to Sharjah Cargo-Only Operators: Lufthansa Cargo.


Customs Clearance Procedures in China and the UAE

Customs stamp of wood and rubber, resting on a customs invoice document stamped with export customs clearance in red ink

With so many rules and regulations, codes, and documents required, international shipping used to baffle many businesses. But Shipa Freight is introducing welcome change. We do plenty of the hard work for you.

Once we know the nature of your goods, we will advise you of the documents you need to sign and send with your consignment from China to the UAE. Details of the essential documents can be found on this shipping and customs documentation page. Briefly, the paperwork typically required is:

  • A Bill of lading (which Shipa Freight will provide)
  • Packing list
  • Commercial invoice
  • Your tax invoice
  • A Certificate of Origin
  • Letter of credit

Let us help you supply the information customs officers in China and the UAE will be looking for. This will help your business enjoy smoother, easier and faster shipping between China and Dubai.

How Long Does Ocean and Air Shipping From China to Dubai Take?

Your delivery deadlines are likely to influence the mode of shipping you choose to move your freight from China to the UAE. If you’re in a hurry, air freight is faster. But you should still allow at least one week for your goods to arrive.

Such speed comes at a price, so if your deadlines aren’t quite so tight, or if your budget is limited, waiting the 25-36 days for your goods to ship by ocean freight will almost certainly prove to be your most economical option.

How Long Does It Take to Ship Cargo by Sea From China to Dubai and the UAE?

As the examples below show, ocean shipping between China and the UAE takes between 25 and 38 days:

  • Shanghai to Jebel Ali – 36 days FCL, 33 days LCL
  • Guangzhou to Jebel Ali – 27 days LCL
  • Xiamen to Jebel Ali – 36 days FCL, 30 days LCL
  • Qingdao to Jebel Ali – 36 days FCL, 30 days LCL
  • Shekou to Jebel Ali – 18 days FCL, 27 days LCL
  • Shanghai to Abu Dhabi – 36 days FCL, 30 days LCL
  • Ningbo to Sharjah – 36 days FCL
  • Guangzhou to Sharjah– 25 days FCL, 38 days LCL

How Long to Ship Cargo by Air From China to Dubai and the UAE?

Although flights from China to the UAE take a matter of hours, arranging the shipment of goods between the two nations is a more complex matter. But it’s still significantly faster than shipping by ocean freight.

Getting your goods overland to and from your chosen origin and destination airports takes time. So too loading and unloading the cargo. Plus there will be customs and security checks in China and Dubai. Taking all this into consideration, here are some estimated shipping times:

  • Shanghai-Pudong to Dubai International – 7 days
  • Guangzhou to Dubai International – 8 days
  • Xiamen to Dubai International – 8 days
  • Chengdu to Dubai International – 9 days
  • Qingdao to Dubai International – 11 days
  • Shenzhen to Dubai Al Maktoum – 8 days
  • Shanghai to Abu Dhabi – 8 days
  • Guangzhou to Sharjah – 8 days

What’s The Cost of Shipping Cargo From China to Dubai?

The short answer is it depends. Freight rates depend on the nature of the goods you want to ship. Perishables may require refrigeration. Extra-large goods could call for an oversized container, for example.

They also depend on your chosen shipping method, as air freight is usually more expensive than ocean freight. They depend too on the volume, size, and weight of your consignment, all of which could prohibit shipment by air or affect the size and number of ocean shipping containers required.

As a guide, if your goods weigh under 100kg, air freight can be just as economical as using an ocean carrier. And, of course, it will be quicker. Consignments over 100kg that aren’t urgently required in the UAE will usually be more economical to ship by sea from China.

For cargo weighing under 35kg, please get quotes from parcel carriers or couriers, as Shipa Freight does not provide freight forwarding services for goods in this weight bracket.

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

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