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Ocean and Air Shipping from Italy to Saudi Arabia

FCL, LCL and Air shipping comprehensive guide and instant online quote

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Updated on 15 Mar 202211 min read

]{Italy and Saudi Arabia have cultivated diplomatic and trade relations since the 1930s. In recent years, the two governments have fostered bilateral trade and economic cooperation.

If you want your business to play a part in this active trade and import from Italy to Saudi Arabia, then you are in the right spot. On this page, we answer some of your questions about different shipping options, costs, transit times, customs clearance, and ports of export and import.

What Are Your Options for Shipping From Italy to Saudi Arabia?

As a commercial exporter or importer, you can choose between ocean and air shipping from Italy to Saudi Arabia. There are pros and cons to each option, some of which you’ll find outlined on this page.

Ocean Freight From Italy to Saudi Arabia

Less than Container Load (LCL): LCL is the shipping term used when your freight, and the consignments of other shippers, are transported together in a shared shipping container. If you don’t have enough cargo to fill an entire unit, LCL shipping is likely the most economical option to send your products to Saudi Arabia.

Full Container Load (FCL): FCL means shipping an entire container from Italy to Saudi Arabia for a flat rate. Since you have use of the container exclusively for your goods and nobody else’s, you can take advantage of the space and transport larger, heavier cargo at a fixed price.

Air Freight From Italy to Saudi Arabia

If speed is a critical element of your plan to export from Italy to Saudi Arabia, air freight will probably be the right choice. You need to have a big budget, though, as flying your goods can be much more expensive than sending them by sea.

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

The ultimate cost of importing from Italy to Saudi Arabia hinges on several factors. When you request a quote for shipping from a freight forwarder, the following criteria must be taken into consideration:

  • The type of cargo
  • The chosen mode of transport (FCL, LCL, Air)
  • Weight of the cargo
  • Dimensions of the cargo
  • The distance between origin and destination
  • The type of service (such as Port-to-Port, Door-to-Door)

You shouldn’t underestimate the impact of the weight of your cargo, especially, on the final price. Most shippers realize that ocean freight is the least expensive option for cargo above 100 kg. For shipments weighing less than 100 kg, air and ocean shipping can come out at a similar price.

For very light cargo of 35 kg or less, we recommend that you engage an international courier service. Most freight forwarders, such as Shipa Freight, don’t deal with consignments in this weight bracket.

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

Unsurprisingly, your goods will arrive in Saudi Arabia faster if you send them on an aircraft than on a cargo vessel. Air shipping can be completed in just three to four days. Ocean shipping, on the other hand, will take between nine and 22 days.

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

Below you can find some examples of transit times for carrying commodities in a shipping container from Italy to Saudi Arabia:

  • Ancona to Jeddah – 12 days FCL
  • Genoa to Jeddah – 9 days FCL
  • La Spezia to Jeddah – 22 days FCL
  • Venice to Jeddah – 18 days FCL
  • Naples to Jeddah - 31 Days FCL

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

Below you can find example transit times for air freight from Italy to Saudi Arabia.

  • Rome to Riyadh – 3 days
  • Milan to Dammam – 4 days
  • Milan to Jeddah – 4 days
  • Milan to Riyadh – 4 days

Customs Clearance in Italy and Saudi Arabia

Inspector checking containers as Shipa Freight helps with customs clearance

For your freight to leave Italy and enter Saudi Arabia, it needs the permission of the customs authorities in both countries. Customs clearance is an essential part of shipping your freight from Italy to Saudi Arabia.

To avoid any delays or other problems, most businesses engage an experienced freight forwarder. When you rely on an expert service provider, you have the assurance that your cargo complies with Italian and Saudi Arabian customs regulations and international shipping laws.

The first step of the process is to submit the required paperwork. As a minimum, customs authorities will request the following documents:

  1. Commercial Invoice

  2. Packing List

  3. Certificate of Origin

  4. Letter of Credit or other payment terms (depends on the contract between the parties involved)

  5. Bill of Lading for ocean freight or Airway Bill for air freight (Shipa Freight will provide this for you)

While the above documents might be sufficient to finalize the clearance process, authorities sometimes ask for additional paperwork such as licenses, permits, and certificates. Your freight forwarder will advise you if this is the case.

If you’re curious to learn more about these documents, we have created a handy documents list, with descriptions and examples of the various forms required for international freight shipments.

Should You Choose Ocean Freight or Air Freight?

Ocean Freight

Most commercial goods, when bound for a Saudi Arabian port, transit the Suez Canal in standard 20ft or 40ft shipping containers on a cargo ship.
Maritime carriers can even meet the requirements of cargo that’s not suited for standard containers. They offer different types of container (e.g., refrigerated or ventilated) and break-bulk shipping options.

Our focus will be on standard containerized ocean shipping, using either an FCL or LCL service. To help you find out which sea freight option will suit your logistics needs, we have dedicated the next sections to explaining each alternative in detail.

Considerations for LCL Freight Shipping

LCL shipping is best suited for consignments with a maximum total volume of 14 CBM (around six standard pallets). Since you don’t have to wait until you have sufficient goods to fill an entire container, LCL can speed up your supply chain. It’s also a viable option for cargo that can’t be transported via air.

Your goods will share a container with the consignments of other shippers—and that has certain implications.

For example, you may wish to refrain from using LCL shipping if your cargo is delicate, perishable, or of significant value. Also, the container needs to be consolidated and deconsolidated, meaning your products will be moved and handled more. These extra process steps can add additional days to your shipment’s transit time.

Considerations for FCL Freight Shipping

FCL shipping is best for cargo that takes up more than half of the load capacity of a 20ft container. As you can use the container exclusively, there is no need for time-consuming consolidation or deconsolidation. This has many benefits. It provides you with more certainty about the delivery date of your shipment. In addition, less handling and fewer movements makes FCL suitable for delicate or fragile products.

One final benefit is that your goods will be sealed off in the container until they reach their final destination (unless customs officials opt for an inspection), making FCL a very secure mode of transportation.

One drawback is that FCL can limit your options for pick-up and delivery. Not all businesses possess the necessary equipment to handle full containers on their premises.

Air Freight

Air shipping is best suited for consignments comprising two to three pallets at most. Perishable products with a short shelf-life, in particular, benefit from the fast transit times and flexibility. You can also entrust your high-value cargo to airlines and airport operators as they follow tight security procedures. Lastly, air freight is great when your supplier or buyer is located close to an international airport.

Ocean Cargo Port Guide

Cargo Ports of Origin in Italy


Port Facts:

  • Italy’s main sea port, and the busiest in the country.
  • Located in the northwest of Italy on a 700-hectare site.
  • Competes with Marseille and Barcelona as the top commercial port in the Mediterranean.

Owned By: Genoa Port Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >2 million TEUs.



Port Facts:

  • Eighth-busiest commercial port in the country.
  • Located in the northeast of Italy in the region of Veneto.
  • Offers convenient railway connections to other regions and surrounding countries.

Owned By: Port Authority of Venice.

Annual Container Volume: >1.4 million TEUs.


La Spezia

Port Facts:

  • Situated between the cities of Genoa and Pisa on the Ligurian Sea.
  • Specializes in container handling.
  • Offers over five kilometers of quayside and 400,000 square meters of space.

Owned By: Port of La Spezia Port Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >1.4 million TEUs.



Port Facts:

  • Situated on Italy’s Adriatic Coast.
  • Home to a 5,000 square meter container terminal and general cargo facilities.
  • Stretches over an area of more than 1.4 million square meters.

Owned By: Central Adriatic Ports Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >150,000 TEUs.



Port Facts:

  • Located right in Naples' city center on Italy’s southwestern coast.
  • Has the capacity to handle 25 million tons of cargo and 500,000 TEUs per year.
  • Offers 38 berths and 75 wharfs.

Owned By: Port Authority of Naples.

Annual Container Volume: >500,000 TEUs.


Cargo Ports of Arrival in Saudi Arabia


Port Facts:

  • Principal port of Saudi Arabia and second-largest in the Arab world.
  • Located on Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast.
  • Covers an area of 12 square kilometers.
  • Can accommodate even the largest container vessels.

Owned By: Saudi Ports Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >4 million TEUs.


Ad Dammam

Port Facts:

  • Critical gateway for imports destined for the capital Riyadh, and other landlocked cities.
  • Located on the opposite side of the country from Jeddah on the Persian Gulf.
  • Officially known as King Abdul Aziz Port.

Owned By: Saudi Ports Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >1.5 million TEUs.


Flying Your Freight: Airport Guide

Airports of Origin in Italy


Airport Facts:

  • 50% of Italian air cargo traffic moves through Milan-Malpensa.
  • 120 cargo-only flights land and depart here every week.
  • Processes 558,000 tonnes of cargo every year.
  • Ideal for any supplier located in the Lombardy, Piedmont, or Liguria regions.

Saudi Arabian Airports Served: None.

Milan to Saudi Arabia Cargo-Only Operators: None.



Airport Facts:

  • Italy’s primary airport.
  • Eighth-busiest airport in Europe.
  • Home base of Italy’s national carrier, Alitalia.
  • Houses a massive cargo terminal known as Cargo City.

Saudi Arabian Airports Served: None.

Rome to Saudi Arabia Cargo-Only Operators: None.


Airports of Arrival in Saudi Arabia


Airport Facts:

  • Saudi Arabia’s second-largest airport after Jeddah Airport.
  • Known as King Khalid Airport.
  • Located in the center of the country, serving the capital city and its surrounds.

Connected Airports in Italy: None.

Italy to Riyadh Cargo-Only Operators: None.



Airport Facts:

  • Busiest airport in the country.
  • Official name is King Abdulaziz International Airport.
  • Located 19 km north of downtown Jeddah.
  • Stretches over an area of 105 square kilometers.

Connected Airports in Italy: None.

Italy to Jeddah Cargo-Only Operators: None.



Airport Facts:

  • Famous as the world’s largest airport, covering an area of 780 square kilometers.
  • Located in Saudi Arabia’s eastern region.
  • Boasts a two-story air cargo facility capable of holding 94,000 tonnes of freight.

Connected Airports in Italy: None.

Italy to Dammam Cargo-Only Operators: None.


Why Ship From Italy to Saudi Arabia With Shipa Freight?

Importing from Italy to Saudi Arabia is now easier than ever with Shipa Freight. We will move your air and ocean shipments on time and in the most economical way. In addition, our cutting-edge online platform will allow you to accelerate your supply chain by managing all of your imports and exports in one place. You don’t have to coordinate multiple agencies anymore.

These are your benefits when you ship with us:

  • Online quotes: Quick and easy to obtain and compare.
  • Online booking and payment process: Fast and straightforward, so you don’t lose time.
  • One platform: Manage your entire shipping process in one place.
  • Customs clearance: All complexities taken care of for you.
  • Shipping documentation: Transparent and clear, so you will always know what to prepare.
  • Customer service: We are available 24/7 via phone, email, and chat.
  • Compliance: Always follow international shipping rules and regulations.

Know Your Shipping Terminology

Even if you’re new to shipping, you’ve likely already encountered some words or phrases that have left you confused. Understanding what they mean will help you communicate your needs to experts more easily. That’s why we’re featuring definitions of some potentially confusing terms at the end of each of our country-to-country pages. This page’s terms are defined below:

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