Demand for services to move freight from Germany to Saudi Arabia has never been higher, even given the close trade relationship that has endured between the two countries for decades. As the second-largest country in the Arab world opens up commercially, importing from Germany to Saudi Arabia is set to see continued growth as an international trading activity.
However, shipping cargo between the two countries is not an easy undertaking, given the complexities of international freight logistics. This page will provide you with information to help your business engage more successfully in ocean and air shipping from Germany to Saudi Arabia. We cover the various modes of transport, as well as costs, transit times, customs clearance procedures, and ports.
To export from Germany to Saudi Arabia, you can choose between two possible methods of transportation: ocean freight and air freight. The subsequent sections will explain both alternatives in some detail.
Ocean Freight From Germany to Saudi Arabia
Less than Container Load (LCL): If you don’t want to pay for a full container, you can transport your cargo in a shared unit instead. Your freight will travel next to the consignments of other shippers to Saudi Arabia. This option is usually most cost-effective for moving small quantities of goods.
Full Container Load (FCL): FCL means moving a full shipping container from Germany to Saudi Arabia. The great thing is that your goods will be isolated in the unit for the entire journey. It’s often the best solution for larger consignments, as you pay a flat fee for the container.
Air Freight from Germany to Saudi Arabia
Air freight is the fastest way to import from Germany to Saudi Arabia. However, be prepared to foot a larger bill. In most cases, air-freight shipping is much more expensive than ocean shipping.
Many factors are involved in calculating shipping costs. They include the volume and weight of your shipment, the type of goods to be shipped, and the kind of service required. For example, when your shipments are small—up to 100 kilograms in weight—air freight can be almost as economical as ocean shipping.
From 100 kilograms and up, though, air freight becomes progressively more expensive and viable only when speed is more important than economy. At that point, it typically makes more sense to use FCL or LCL sea freight services, depending on shipment volume and weight.
Note also that for very small shipments, you will need to use a parcel carrier rather than a freight forwarder to move your goods between Germany and Saudi Arabia. At Shipa Freight, for instance, we accept shipping orders only for weights of 35 kilograms and up.
Freight transit times between Germany and Saudi Arabia depend upon which mode of shipping you choose. Naturally, air cargo ships a lot faster than ocean freight. You should expect an air freight shipment from Germany to arrive and clear customs at your Saudi destination in five to seven days following dispatch.
Ocean freight will take considerably longer to arrive. For FCL shipments, you should allow three to five weeks’ transit time, and slightly longer, say, between four and six weeks for LCL freight.
How Long Does It Take to Ship Cargo by Sea From Germany to Saudi Arabia?
When shipping ocean freight from Germany to the KSA with Shipa Freight, expect transit times of 20 days for FCL and 26 days for LCL from Hamburg to Jeddah. Transit time from Hamburg to Dammam will be 29 days for FCL and 40 days for LCL.
How Long Does It Take to Ship Cargo by Air From Germany to Saudi Arabia?
Air freight cuts freight transit times considerably in comparison with ocean shipping. For example, typical air-freight transit time—for shipments booked on our platform—from Dusseldorf to Jeddah is eight days.
Some shipments can be completed even faster. The following transit times, which include time for export and import customs clearance, are for the most commonly used routes between Germany and Saudi Arabia:
- Frankfurt or Leipzig to Dammam, Riyadh, or Jeddah - 4 days
- Dusseldorf to Riyadh - 5 days
- Stuttgart to Jeddah - 5 days
- Berlin to Jeddah - 4 days
- Hamburg to Dammam, Jeddah, or Riyadh - 5 days
If you have ever exported goods from Germany or another country in the European Union, you should be familiar with the procedures and papers required for customs clearance. As a reminder though, in most cases, the following documents are necessary for exports from the EU, as well as for import customs clearance at Saudi ports of arrival:
Certificate of Origin
Letter of Credit or other payment terms (depends on the contract between the parties involved)
Bill of Lading for ocean freight or Airway Bill for air freight (Shipa Freight will provide this for you)
If you’d like a little information about the essential documents listed above, you'll find templates and examples of each of them, all on one useful page here at Shipa Freight.
You have two options to transport commodities in a shipping container from Germany to Saudi Arabia. If your shipment is large, you can use an FCL service, in which case you will have one or more containers exclusively for your sea freight.
If you don’t have enough cargo to fill a container, you can opt for LCL shipping. If you choose LCL, your goods will share container space with those of other shippers. In either case, the shipping containers will be loaded onto specialized cargo ships for their journey from Germany to a Saudi port.
In the next sections, you’ll learn more about FCL and LCL ocean shipping. This will help you decide which mode of transport is right for you.
Considerations for LCL Freight Shipping
Unless you are transporting enough goods to fill a 20-foot shipping container, LCL shipping will be the most economical option to import from Germany to Saudi Arabia. However, you should expect shipping times to be slightly longer than are experienced with an FCL service.
The longer shipping duration arises from the extra logistics activity involved. Your freight forwarder will need to send your goods to a consolidation warehouse before export, where they will be loaded into a container with other shippers’ cargo.
Similarly, the container will need to go to a warehouse in KSA for de-consolidation, so your shipment can be unloaded and transferred to a domestic carrier for delivery.
Considerations for FCL Freight Shipping
If you would like your merchandise or products to ship a little faster, or you wish to ensure exclusive use of a container, you might prefer to use an FCL freight service. When your shipment is not sharing container-space with others, shipping time is reduced.
A freight forwarder can move your consignment in a dedicated container from Germany to Saudi Arabia, without the added delays of consolidation and de-consolidation. The container will be filled and sealed at the point of origin in Germany. Unless the customs authorities deem it necessary to examine the contents, it will remain sealed until received at your facility in the KSA.
Your ocean freight will set off by road from the point of origin in Germany, to arrive at Hamburg or Bremerhaven. After the customs authority releases your goods for export, they will ship overseas to your chosen UAE gateway. Once the goods clear customs at the port of discharge, they can be dispatched to their final destination in the Emirates.
If your supply chain requires cargo to move fast, ocean shipping might not be the best way to transport it. In addition to the benefits of speed, we recommend air shipping if any of the following logistics requirements exist in your business operations:
- You need to feel confident about security in transit.
- Freight quantities will occupy no more than a few pallets.
- You need greater flexibility than is offered by ocean freight shipping.
- Your points of origin or destination are deep inland and close to an international airport.
Cargo Ports of Origin in Germany
- Europe’s fourth most-active container port.
- Ranks as the 27th busiest port in the world.
- Boasts four container terminals and a five-kilometer quayside.
- Home to the world’s largest closed container processing area.
- The newest of the terminals (Terminal 4) is capable of handling over 7 million TEUs.
Owned By: Free Hanseatic City of Bremen.
Annual Container Volume: >5 million TEUs.
- Strung out along the southern bank of the River Elbe.
- Known as Germany’s Gateway to the World.
- Largest port in Germany, the third busiest in Europe for container shipping.
- Ranks as the world’s 19th- largest seaport.
Owned By: Hamburg Port Authority.
Annual Container Volume: >8.5 million TEUs.
Cargo Ports of Arrival in Saudi Arabia
Jeddah Islamic Port
- Located on the Red Sea.
- KSA’s principal cargo port.
- Spread over an area of 12 square kilometers.
- Houses more than 60 berths.
- Capable of accommodating the largest classes of container ships.
Owned By: Saudi Ports Authority.
Annual Container Volume: >4 million TEUs.
- Also known as King Abdul Aziz Port.
- Located on the coast of the Persian Gulf.
- Vital distribution center for Saudi Arabia's landlocked cities.
- Offers excellent road and rail connections to the Kingdom's interior.
Owned By: Saudi Ports Authority.
Annual Container Volume: >1.5 million TEUs.
Airports of Origin in Germany
- Highest-volume cargo airport in Europe.
- Top option for any supplier exporting from Germany.
- Well suited for shipping to Saudi Arabia.
- Several airlines fly direct routes to the international airports of Dammam, Riyadh, and Jeddah.
KSA Airports Served: Dammam, Jeddah, Riyadh.
Frankfurt to KSA Cargo-Only Operators: Lufthansa Cargo, Saudia Cargo.
IATA Code: FRA.
- Handles a third of all air freight into and out of Germany.
- Primarily serves the southern areas of the country.
- Has an 84,000 square-meter freight terminal.
- Great option to avoid a long road journey your cargo might otherwise take to Germany’s ocean ports.
KSA Airports Served: Jeddah, Riyadh.
Munich to KSA Cargo-Only Operators: None.
IATA Code: MUC.
- Located to the Northwest of Berlin City Center.
- Fourth-busiest airport in Germany.
- Useful airport of departure for freight originating in the North and East of the country.
- Due to be replaced by the newly-built Berlin-Brandenburg Airport in 2020.
KSA Airports Served: None.
Hamburg to UAE Cargo-Only Operators: None.
IATA Code: HAM.
- Situated in the Southeast of Germany.
- Sixth-busiest airport in the country.
- Freight terminal has an apron with seven stands for cargo aircraft.
- Annual freight throughput is close to 30,000 tonnes.
KSA Airports Served: None.
Stuttgart to KSA Cargo-Only Operators: None.
IATA Code: STR.
- Lies in Germany’s Eastern hinterland.
- Although a small airport, it’s a vital air freight gateway.
- Annual freight throughput of 1.2 million tonnes is second only to Frankfurt.
KSA Airports Served: None.
Leipzig to KSA Cargo-Only Operators: None.
IATA Code: LEJ.
Other Airports in Germany
In addition to Frankfurt, Munich, Berlin, Stuttgart, and Leipzig/Halle, you can fly your German exports into Saudi Arabia via Hamburg, Nuremberg, or Dusseldorf. Note, though, that shipping through these airports, and indeed, any German airport other than Frankfurt, will involve at least one transshipment en route.
Airports of Arrival in Saudi Arabia
- Ideal if your imports are headed for the eastern regions of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
- Officially called King Fahd International Airport.
- Lufthansa and Saudia operate dedicated cargo flights from Frankfurt to Dammam.
Connected Airports in Germany: Frankfurt.
Germany to Dammam Cargo-Only Operators: Lufthansa Cargo, Saudia Cargo.
IATA Code: DMM.
- Known as King Abdulaziz International Airport.
- Third-largest airport in the KSA.
- Located a few kilometers north of Jeddah.
- Serves the city of Jeddah along with others in the west of the Kingdom.
Connected Airports in Germany: Frankfurt, Munich.
Germany to Jeddah Cargo-Only Operators: Lufthansa Cargo, Saudia Cargo.
IATA Code: JED.
- Situated near the center of the KSA.
- Named King Khalid Airport.
- Ideal import gateway if your goods are bound for the capital or its surrounds.
- Direct flights to Riyadh are available from Munich and Frankfurt.
Connected Airports in Germany: Frankfurt, Munich.
Germany to Riyadh Cargo-Only Operators: Lufthansa Cargo, Saudia Cargo.
IATA Code: RUH.
We are your partner for shipping ocean and air freight from Germany to Saudi Arabia. Our state-of-the-art online platform lets you manage all of your imports and exports conveniently in one place. This will surely satisfy your international logistics needs and can even accelerate your supply chain.
Other advantages when shipping with us are:
- Easy-to-understand quotations online—available in no time.
- Online booking to send your freight on the way.
- One online platform to manage all your shipping activity.
- Plenty of guidance to help you with your shipping documentation.
- Elimination of time and effort spent on customs complexities—we will handle all that for you.
- A team of friendly customer service representatives—available 24/7 via phone, email, and chat.
- The peace of mind that you are always complying with shipping rules and regulations.
Shipping experts are likely to use terms and phrases from time-to-time that can confuse novices. But anyone new to shipping needs to understand what’s being said—and Shipa Freight is here to help. At the end of each country-to-country shipping page, we are defining two examples of shipping jargon.
Here then, are a couple of terms to get familiar with:
- What Are Your Options for Shipping Freight From Germany to Saudi Arabia?
- How Much Does it Cost to Ship Cargo From Germany to Saudi Arabia?
- How Long Does it Take to Ship Cargo From Germany to Saudi Arabia?
- Customs Clearance in Germany and Saudi Arabia
- Should You Choose Ocean Freight or Air Freight?
- Ocean Cargo Port Guide
- Flying Your Freight: Airport Guide
- Why Ship From Germany to Saudi Arabia With Shipa Freight?
- Know Your Shipping Terminology