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Ocean and Air Shipping from Italy to the UAE

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

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Updated on 11 Mar 202212 min read

The UAE is Italy’s premier Arabic export market. In 2018, the European nation ranked as the UAE’s third-largest European trade partner. Food and jewelry were among the items most frequently exported from Italy to the UAE.

Whichever commodities your business is importing from Italy to the UAE, you could find this page useful. It’s designed to help novice and experienced shippers export from Italy to the UAE with greater ease and success.

What Are Your Options for Shipping Freight From Italy to the UAE?

Businesses wanting to send commercial freight for import from Italy to the UAE can use an air cargo operator or ocean carrier to transport their goods. There are upsides and downsides to both which we’ll feature on this page.

Ocean Freight From Italy to the UAE

Less than Container Load (LCL): If you’re planning to send a smaller shipment of freight from Italy to the UAE, you don’t have to pay for a whole container. LCL shipping, which involves transporting your goods in a shared container, might prove more cost-effective.

Full Container Load (FCL): You get exclusive use and transportation of a shipping container from Italy to the UAE with FCL. It can be a less expensive way to ship goods by sea in larger quantities, and you can choose to wholly or partially fill your container with freight.

Air Freight from Italy to the UAE

Air freight is typically the quickest way to get cargo from Italy to the UAE. But it’s often the most expensive option.

How Much Does it Cost to Ship Cargo From Italy to the UAE?

Calculator and pen to represent the cost of Shipa Freight's quotes

To determine the cost of shipping a consignment from Italy to the UAE, a freight forwarder will take into account:

  • What goods are being shipped
  • The weight of the freight
  • How much space the shipment requires
  • Whether the freight is to be transported by air or by LCL or FCL ocean shipping
  • The distance between the points of origin and destination
  • The type of service required (such as Door-to-Door or Port-to-Port)

If you can’t decide between ocean or air shipping, there’s no harm in asking for a quote for both. You’re likely to find that if your goods weigh less than 100 kilograms, there’ll be little difference between the prices you get for air and ocean shipping. For consignments weighing over 100 kilograms, sea freight will usually be less expensive than air freight.

If your goods are relatively light—weighing 35 kilograms or under—you should approach international couriers for a quote. Freight forwarders don’t coordinate the transportation of these very small consignments.

How Long Does it Take to Ship Cargo From Italy to the UAE?

Air freight is the fastest way to ship commodities from Italy to the UAE. Four to eight days is the typical duration of a UAE-bound shipment from the two key Italian airports that freight forwarders are likely to use—Rome Fiumicino or Milan Malpensa.

Transporting a shipping container from Italy to the UAE is not quite so speedy. Between 21 and 50 days is likely to be required, depending on your chosen ports of origin and arrival, and whether you select FCL or LCL ocean shipping.

How Long Does It Take to Ship Cargo by Sea From Italy to the UAE?

Below are some example ocean shipping durations for routes Shipa Freight operates between Italy and the UAE:

  • Ancona to Jebel Ali or Sharjah – 31 days FCL
  • Genoa to Abu Dhabi – 33 days FCL
  • Genoa to Jebel Ali – 21 days FCL
  • Naples to Jebel Ali – 31 days FCL
  • La Spezia to Jebel Ali – 27 days FCL
  • La Spezia to Sharjah – 34 days FCL

How Long Does It Take to Ship Cargo by Air From Italy to the UAE?

Shipping air freight from Italy to the UAE typically takes four to eight days. That’s certainly the case with shipments from Rome to Dubai and Milan to Dubai. Although flight time is only a matter of hours, there are plenty of processes and procedures to be adhered to in the port of origin and port of arrival. Hence the longer overall shipment duration.

Customs Clearance in Italy and the UAE

No international shipper can avoid customs clearance, but you can avoid the process causing unnecessary delays to your shipment. Hiring a freight forwarder to take care of this complex area of international shipping will ensure your consignment complies with all relevant rules and regulations.

Your forwarder will require you to submit certain documentation. At the very least this will include the following:

  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)

We’ve included examples of the above on our documents list page. You may be required to submit additional paperwork with your consignment—perhaps a permit, certificate, or license. Your freight forwarder will tell you precisely what’s needed.

Should You Choose Ocean Freight or Air Freight?

Ocean Freight

Businesses with larger amounts of cargo to transport commonly choose sea freight. The majority of goods can be shipped in standard 20ft or 40ft containers. If your goods require refrigeration, ventilation, or other specific conditions to be maintained, your freight forwarder can organize a specialist container. Should your goods not be suited to any type of container, they will be classed as break-bulk and your forwarder will recommend other ocean shipping options.

Containerized goods can be shipped from port to port, or even door to door, as LCL or FCL freight. To help you make the right choice for your consignment, we’ve featured information about both modes of shipping below:

Considerations for LCL Freight Shipping

LCL is probably your best option if:

  • You’re looking for the most economical way to ship a consignment of 14 CBM or less
  • You don’t have a pressing delivery deadline
  • You don’t have enough goods to fill a container
  • The type of freight you’re shipping can be safely transported in a shared container
  • You cannot consider air freight for safety and/or financial reasons

LCL might not be right for you if:

  • Your cargo is fragile and risks being damaged if frequently moved or handled
  • Your freight is perishable and unlikely to arrive in good condition after several weeks at sea
  • You have a fixed delivery deadline that must be met
  • Your goods are large, very heavy, and/or awkwardly shaped

Learn more about Less than Container Load on our dedicated page on LCL shipping.

Considerations for FCL Freight Shipping

Usually, FCL is a good option if:

  • You require a faster ocean shipment with no consolidation or deconsolidation
  • You want your container sealed in Italy and for it to remain sealed throughout shipping
  • Your consignment is over 14 CBM (about half the load capacity of a standard 20ft container)
  • You’re transporting very delicate or extremely heavy cargo
  • You want to ship an entire container, even though you might not fill it entirely

Learn more about Full Container Load on our dedicated page on FCL shipping.

Air Freight

Air shipping could be the best way to move your freight from Italy to the UAE, especially if:

  • You’re looking for the fastest possible means of transportation
  • You want the highest levels of security—perhaps because your cargo is high value
  • You only have a small consignment to send—two to three pallets at most
  • Your supplier and consignee are both located closer to an international airport than a seaport

Learn more about Air Freight on our dedicated page by clicking here.

Ocean Cargo Port Guide

Cargo Ports of Origin in Italy


Port Facts:

  • One of the biggest seaports in the Mediterranean
  • Situated in Western Italy on the Tyrrhenian Sea
  • Its three container terminals cover a 200,000 square meter site
  • Infrastructure includes 38 berths and 11 km of docks

Owned By: Port Authority of Naples.

Annual Container Volume: >500,000 TEUs.



Port Facts:

  • One of the Mediterranean’s top three ports for container traffic
  • Ranks as Italy’s busiest port by cargo tonnage
  • This state-of-the-art logistics hub spans 22 km of coastline in North Italy
  • Ideal port of origin for any supplier or manufacturer based in Alessandria, Turin, Milan, and locations along the Ligurian Sea coastline

Owned By: Genoa Port Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >2.6 million TEUs.


La Spezia

Port Facts:

  • Italy’s busiest container port
  • A key freight hub in the Mediterranean
  • Located in Northwestern Italy, nearly 80 km southeast of Genoa
  • Easy access from the hinterland and Europe thanks to excellent rail connections

Owned By: Port of La Spezia Port Authority.

***Annual Container Volume: *** >1.4 million TEUs.



Port Facts:

  • Situated on the shores of the Adriatic
  • Facilities include a 5,000 square meter container terminal
  • Plans to almost double the length of the 333-meter quay are underway
  • Excellent port of origin if your supply chain involves shipping goods from San Marino, Cesena, and San Benedetto del Tronto

Owned By: Central Adriatic Ports Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >150,000 TEUs.



Port Facts:

  • A leading container hub on Italy’s Adriatic coast
  • Handles over 370,000 containers every year
  • Infrastructure includes 163 berths and 23 cargo terminals
  • The only port in Italy with direct access to inland waterways

Owned By: Port Authority of Venice.

Annual Container Volume: >1.4 million TEUs.


Cargo Ports of Arrival in the UAE

Khor Fakkan

Port Facts:

  • The only ocean freight hub in the UAE outside of the Strait of Hormuz
  • Frequently ranked as a top-performing container terminal
  • Located just three hours outside of Dubai and Abu Dhabi
  • Easy access to the port via rapid transit routes from a variety of locations in the UAE

Owned By: Sharjah Ports Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >3 million TEUs.


Jebel Ali

Port Facts:

  • The world’s biggest man-made harbor is situated 35 kilometers southwest of Dubai
  • The Middle East’s largest and busiest port
  • Ranks among the world’s top ten container hubs
  • Infrastructure includes four container terminals, 15 berths, and 51 key cranes

Owned By: Dubai Ports World.

Annual Container Volume: >13.6 million TEUs.



Port Facts:

  • This state-of-the-art sea freight facility opened in 2012
  • Located midway between Dubai and Abu Dhabi
  • Boasts the only semi-automated containerized goods terminal in the Middle East
  • Expansion plans will significantly increase freight-handling capacity over the next decade.

Owned By: Abu Dhabi Ports.

Annual Container Volume: >14.5 million TEUs.


Flying Your Freight: Airport Guide

Airports of Origin in Italy


Airport Facts:

  • Situated close to the Ticino River, about 50 km north of Central Milan
  • Handles over half of Italy’s air freight
  • Facilities include two runways and a state-of-the-art cargo terminal
  • Features two temperature-controlled storage areas for pharmaceuticals and perishables

UAE Airports Served: Dubai International, Abu Dhabi.

Milan to UAE Cargo-Only Operators: Etihad Crystal Cargo, Emirates SkyCargo.



Airport Facts:

  • Italy’s busiest airport
  • Hosts cargo and passenger services for over 45 airlines
  • Facility covers an area of 16,000 square meters
  • Features four runways all between 3307 meters and 3902 meters long
  • Its huge freight terminal is known as Cargo City.

UAE Airports Served: Abu Dhabi, Dubai International.

Rome to UAE Cargo-Only Operators: Etihad Crystal Cargo, Emirates SkyCargo.


Airports of Arrival in the UAE


Airport Facts:

  • Situated just 13km outside of Sharjah
  • The airport’s five air cargo terminals cover 32,000 square meters
  • Features 16 parking positions for cargo aircraft
  • Facilities include storage areas for temperature-sensitive goods and livestock.

Connected Airports in Italy: None.

Italy to Sharjah Cargo-Only Operators: None.


Dubai International

Airport Facts:

  • Situated about four kilometers from Dubai
  • The air facility covers 2,900 hectares.
  • Includes a specialist center for plants and flowers

Connected Airports in Italy: Milan-Malpensa, Rome-Fiumicino.

Italy to Dubai Cargo-Only Operators: Emirates SkyCargo.


Abu Dhabi

Airport Facts:

  • Ranks as the second-busiest cargo hub in the UAE
  • Nearly one million tonnes of air freight is processed here annually
  • Plans for a major upgrade of the airport’s cargo facilities were announced in 2019

Connected Airports in Italy: Milan-Malpensa, Rome-Fiumicino.

Italy to Abu Dhabi Cargo-Only Operators: Etihad Crystal Cargo.


Dubai Al Maktoum

Airport Facts:

  • This modern air freight hub opened in 2010
  • Situated 40 kilometers from Dubai International Airport.
  • Both of Dubai’s international airports are linked by an expressway
  • Facilities include 16 terminals dedicated to cargo handling

Connected Airports in Italy: None.

Italy to Dubai Cargo-Only Operators: None.


Why Ship From Italy to the UAE With Shipa Freight?

For simplified ocean and air shipping from Italy to the UAE, choose Shipa Freight. We’re a digitally-focused freight forwarder with an online platform that’s easy to use even if you’ve never shipped before.

You can rely on us to simplify your supply chain and make international shipping by air and ocean easier than it’s ever been. A team of friendly customer service agents is on-hand 24/7 to help with any queries you have. We’re backed by our parent company Agility Logistics, global leaders in international shipping.

Need more reasons to choose Shipa Freight to coordinate your import or export from Italy to the UAE? We’ve listed a few below:

  • Fast registration for new users
  • Get quick quotes at real-time rates
  • Easy quote comparison
  • Book and pay online
  • We’ll tell you the documents your consignment needs for customs clearance
  • Leave the complexities of international shipping rules and regulations to us
  • Track all your shipping in one place

Know Your Shipping Terminology

Some of the jargon and complicated terminology used by shipping experts can be confusing. To help build your understanding of the language of shipping, we’re explaining some of the confusing terms in common usage on our country-to-country pages. Two examples are below.

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