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Ocean and Air Shipping from UAE to Italy

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

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Updated on 28 Nov 202112 min read

The UAE is currently Italy's largest trade partner in the Arab region. Simultaneously, the European country is the fourth-largest partner of the United Arab Emirates in Europe. The value of imports and exports exchanged between the two nations exceeded $7.8 billion (USD) in 2017.

This active trade provides many possibilities for businesses on the Arabian peninsula. If you are keen on importing from the UAE to Italy, then you are in the right place.

We understand that international ocean and air freight shipping is complex. That’s why we are presenting crucial information to help your business with ocean and air shipping from the UAE to Italy, right here on this page.

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

There are two choices for companies that want to export from the UAE to Italy: ocean freight and air freight. Both alternatives come with distinct advantages and disadvantages.

Ocean Freight From the UAE to Italy

Less than Container Load (LCL): If you don’t want to pay for a full container, then LCL will save you money. Allowing your freight to occupy space in a shared container is often the most economical way to import smaller shipments from the UAE to Italy.

Full Container Load (FCL): FCL is for shippers who require the capacity and convenience of a full container. After paying a flat fee for the rental and transportation of each container, you have the exclusive right to use them. This option can be less expensive than LCL, depending on what you are shipping, in terms of transportation cost per unit.

Air Freight From the UAE to Italy

The fastest option to get your cargo to its destination in Italy is to send it as air freight. But you have to weigh your options carefully, as air freight is typically much more expensive than ocean shipping.

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

The ultimate cost of moving your consignments from the United Arab Emirates to Italy depends on several factors. Most freight forwarders will prepare quotes based on the following aspects:

  • Nature of goods
  • Chosen mode of transport (FCL, LCL, Air)
  • Weight of the cargo
  • Dimensions of the cargo
  • Distance between origin and destination
  • Type of service (such as Port-to-Port, Door-to-Door)

In case you are uncertain whether air freight or ocean freight is right for you, be sure to request quotes for both options.

When you compare the prices, you will probably notice that the costs for transporting your cargo via air or sea won’t differ much for cargo weighing 100 kg or less. Just choose the quicker option in this case. But, if you need to transport 100 kg or more, then sea freight is usually less expensive than air freight.

Also, keep in mind that most freight forwarders, including Shipa Freight, don’t transport consignments weighing 35 kg or less. For very light cargo, simply engage an international courier service.

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

Mechanical chronometer to represent the transit time of shipments with Shipa Freight

As you might imagine, the transit times for air and sea freight shipping vary significantly. With air freight, your goods can reach Italy in as little as four days. But, you will have to wait around 27 days for your sea freight to arrive.

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

To give you examples of transit times for a shipping container from the UAE to Italy, let’s consider two routes. Sending a full container from Jebel Ali to Genoa will take around 27 days, while transit between Abu Dhabi and La Spezia will likely take around 29 days.

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

To give you a concrete example of an air freight transit time, flying your goods from Dubai to Milan will take around four days.

Customs Clearance in the UAE and Italy

Customs clearance is compulsory for all businesses that import from the UAE to Italy. If you don’t want to risk any delays or problems, hiring a professional freight forwarder for the task is the smart thing to do. An experienced partner will ensure that all formalities are completed according to international laws and regulations.

Export release in the UAE and import clearance in Italy are only granted when you provide the necessary paperwork to your freight forwarder. As a minimum, they will ask for the following documents to submit to the customs authorities:

  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)

Licenses, permits, and certificates are examples of further documentation that might be required. Generally, you only have to obtain these if your freight forwarder tells you to do so. If you would like to see some examples of these documents and learn more about them, then check out our documents list.

Should You Choose Ocean Freight or Air Freight?

Ocean Freight

Ocean shipping is a common approach to transporting large amounts of cargo. Most consignments will be carried on a specialized ship, in a container from the UAE to Italy. Container vessels carry sea freight through the Suez Canal to the Mediterranean Sea. Most cargo that doesn’t fit into a container is considered as break-bulk. Your freight forwarder or carrier can recommend options for this alternative.

Containerized ocean freight can be shipped using two modes: LCL and FCL. Either one of them can be booked as a door-to-door or port-to-port service. The weight, volume, and nature of your freight will determine which alternative is best for you. To help you make the right choice, we have listed the advantages and disadvantages of each option below.

Considerations for LCL Freight Shipping


  • Most economical option when you are shipping around 14 CBM or less.
  • Easier pickup/delivery at the warehouse where the containers are being loaded/ unloaded.
  • Keeps your supply chain flexible as you don’t have to wait until you have sufficient cargo to fill an entire container.

**Disadvantages: **

The container needs to be consolidated with the consignments of all shippers at the port of departure and subsequently deconsolidated upon arrival. This has the following disadvantages:

  • Additional handling can put delicate, fragile, or perishable goods at risk.
  • Transit times are usually longer compared to FCL.
  • The extra logistics steps can increase the risk of delays in the delivery of your cargo.

Considerations for FCL Freight Shipping


  • Faster than LCL because the full container is picked up and delivered.
  • Least expensive when shipping larger goods of 14 CBM or more.
  • Goods won’t be touched as they are locked in the container for the entire journey (unless customs authorities decide to inspect the contents).


  • You will have to pay fees for shipping the entire container, even when you don’t fill it completely.
  • Pickup and delivery options might be restricted. For example, the buyer and/or supplier might not have the facilities to handle an entire container.

Air Freight


  • Short transit times of just a few days.
  • High level of security and low risk.
  • Air shipping is ideal for small consignments of just a few pallets.
  • High reliability as less affected by the weather.
  • Convenient for businesses located close to an international airport.


  • Usually too costly for cargo that’s very large and heavy.
  • Not an option for consignments that are bulky or awkwardly shaped.

Ocean Cargo Port Guide

Cargo Ports of Origin in the UAE

Jebel Ali

Port Facts:

  • Biggest and busiest port in the Middle-East.
  • Sits in the largest man-made harbor in the world.
  • Situated on the Persian Gulf, 35 km southwest of Dubai.
  • Constructed in the 1970s to supplement Port Rashid.

Owned By: DP World.

Annual Container Volume: >14.5 million TEUs.


Khor Fakkan

Port Facts:

  • Sharjah’s main port, located on the Gulf of Oman.
  • The only natural deep-sea port in the region.
  • Located three hours away from Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
  • Boasts the most modern facilities for managing containers and freight.

Owned By: Sharjah Ports Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >3 million TEUs.


Khalifa Port

Port Facts:

  • Abu Dhabi’s flagship port.
  • Built to accommodate the largest existing cargo vessels.
  • Boasts the only semi-automated container terminal in the entire region.
  • Capacity is supposed to increase to 15 million TEUs by 2030.

Owned By: Abu Dhabi Ports.

Annual Container Volume: >2.5 million TEUs.


Cargo Ports of Arrival in Italy


Port Facts:

  • Among the top-three ports in the Mediterranean.
  • Italy’s busiest port by freight tonnage and second-busiest by container traffic.
  • Covers 22 km of coastline in northern Italy.
  • Boasts state-of-the-art logistics and forwarding services.

Owned By: Genoa Port Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >2 million TEUs.



Port Facts:

  • Eighth-busiest cargo port in Italy.
  • Located in Italy’s northeast.
  • Facilities include 163 berths and 23 cargo terminals
  • Stretches over an area of 20,450,000 square meters.

Owned By: Port Authority of Venice.

Annual Container Volume: >1.4 million TEUs.


La Spezia

Port Facts:

  • Italy’s leading container port and one of the most important in the Mediterranean.
  • Located in the northwest between the cities of Genoa and Pisa.
  • Features more than 5 km of quays.
  • Boasts excellent connections via railway to other parts of Italy and EU countries.

Owned By: Port of La Spezia Port Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >1.4 million TEUs.



Port Facts:

  • Located on Italy’s Adriatic Coast close to San Marino and Rimini.
  • Features a 5,000 square meter container terminal.
  • Other facilities include container repair/cleaning services and storage for dangerous goods.
  • Plans are underway to extend the current 333 meters of quay to 600 meters.

Owned By: Central Adriatic Ports Authority.

Annual Container Volume: >150,000 TEUs.



Port Facts:

  • One of the largest seaports in the Mediterranean.
  • Located on Italy’s southwestern coast, in the center of the city of Naples.
  • Current capacity is 25 million tons of cargo and 500,000 TEUs per annum.
  • Facilities include 38 berths and 11 km of docks.

Owned By: Port Authority of Naples.

Annual Container Volume: >500,000 TEUs.


Flying Your Freight: Airport Guide

Airports of Origin in the UAE

Dubai International

Airport Facts:

  • Located only four kilometers from Dubai’s city center.
  • Sixth-busiest cargo airport worldwide.
  • Main air freight gateway in the United Arab Emirates.
  • Hosts Emirates SkyCargo, the second-largest cargo-only airline in the world.

Italian Airports Served: Rome-Fiumicino, Milan-Malpensa.

Dubai International to Italy Cargo-Only Operators: Emirates SkyCargo.


Abu Dhabi

Airport Facts:

  • Second-busiest airport in the country for freight.
  • Over 30 airlines serve destinations in more than 60 countries.
  • Close to 1 million tonnes of cargo per year arrive or depart from here.
  • Plans to increase capacity to 2 million tonnes of freight per annum.

Italian Airports Served: Rome-Fiumicino, Milan-Malpensa.

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


Dubai Al Maktoum

Airport Facts:

  • Also known as Dubai World Central.
  • Opened in 2010, primarily as an air freight gateway.
  • Linked to Dubai International via an expressway.
  • Projected capacity is 12 million tonnes of cargo per year.

Italian Airports Served: None.

Dubai Al Maktoum to Italy Cargo-Only Operators: None.



Airport Facts:

  • Located 13 km from Sharjah in the eastern part of the country.
  • Third-largest air cargo hub in the Middle East by freight tonnage.
  • Spreads over an area of 15,200,000 square meters.
  • Five terminals provide state-of-the-art cargo-handling facilities.

Italian Airports Served: None.

Sharjah to Italy Cargo-Only Operators: None.


Airports of Arrival in Italy


Airport Facts:

  • Eighth-busiest airport in Europe and the main airport in Italy.
  • Home of Italy’s national carrier, Alitalia.
  • Covers an area of 16,000 square meters.
  • Boasts an extensive freight terminal known as Cargo City.

Connected Airports in the UAE: Dubai International, Abu Dhabi.

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



Airport Facts:

  • Located next to the Ticino River, around 50 km north of Milan’s city center.
  • Busiest cargo airport in the country.
  • Features two runways and a dedicated cargo terminal.

Connected Airports in the UAE: Dubai International, Abu Dhabi.

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


Why Ship From the UAE to Italy With Shipa Freight?

Ocean and air shipping from the UAE to Italy is easier than ever with Shipa Freight. You can now simplify your supply chain dramatically by managing your entire shipment process via our online portal.

Our digital-first, online-only approach will bring you the following benefits:

  • Quick and easy-to-compare online quotes.
  • Speedy online booking.
  • Transparent shipping documents.
  • No customs complexities to bother you.
  • One convenient platform for all of your imports and exports.
  • Friendly customer service available 24/7.
  • Full compliance with shipping regulations.

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