Ocean and Air Shipping from UAE to Korea [Updated: Nov 2021]
FCL, LCL and Air shipping comprehensive guide and instant online quote
Two-way trade between the UAE and South Korea stood at $14 billion in 2019. In July of that year, the UAE revealed plans to strengthen trade cooperation between the two nations. That can only be good news if your business is already importing from the UAE to South Korea or looking to do so for the first time.
And there’s more good news because this page is written to help businesses of all sizes ship freight from the UAE to South Korea with greater ease and success. You’ll find information about ports and airports, ocean and air shipping, pricing, customs clearance, and more.
Air and ocean shipping are the two most logical ways to export from the UAE to South Korea. We’ll be outlining the advantages and disadvantages of both to help you decide which is best for you.
Ocean Freight From the UAE to South Korea
Less than Container Load (LCL): LCL involves your goods being loaded into a container with products from other shippers. You only pay for the space your cargo occupies. For smaller quantities of goods, this often proves the most cost-effective way of moving cargo from the UAE to South Korea.
Full Container Load (FCL): With FCL shipping, you rent a container exclusively for your goods and pay for it to be shipped from the UAE to South Korea aboard a cargo vessel. It usually works out cheaper than LCL when moving larger consignments.
Air Freight from the UAE to South Korea
If your goods must reach South Korea quickly and the cost isn’t a concern, choose an air freight carrier. It’s the fastest way to move freight from the UAE to South Korea, but often costs a lot more than ocean shipping.
When you have goods to export from the UAE to South Korea, the total cost of shipping depends on:
- The weight, volume, and dimensions of the shipment
- The type of goods
- The chosen mode of shipping
- The distance between the origin and destination
- Whether you want port-to-port, door-to-door, port-to-door, or door-to-port shipping
It’s handy to know that consignments weighing 100 kg or less are likely to cost a similar amount to ship by air or ocean.
Cargo weighing over 100 kg is usually less expensive to ship as ocean freight than air freight. Shipments of 35kg or less in weight aren’t handled by freight forwarders, but if your consignment is in this weight bracket, you can contact an international courier for a quote.
There’s a huge difference between the time taken to ship air freight from the UAE to South Korea compared with ocean freight. Some air cargo shipments—from Abu Dhabi to Seoul, for example—can be completed in just two days. However, it’s more realistic to plan for air shipping to take between four and eight days.
While the distance aircraft travel from the UAE to South Korea is around 6,740 km, the route taken by ocean carriers is over 13,000 km. So to transport a shipping container from the UAE to South Korea, you should allow at least 24 days.
How Long Does It Take to Ship Cargo by Sea From the UAE to South Korea?
It usually takes at least 24 days to ship a container from the UAE to South Korea. That’s typically the time taken to complete an FCL shipment from Jebel Ali to Busan. 27 days is more realistic for an FCL shipment from Jebel Ali to Incheon.
How Long Does It Take to Ship Cargo by Air From the UAE to South Korea?
It’s common for shipments of air freight from the UAE to the Republic of Korea to take between four and eight days. That’s certainly the case for consignments flown from Dubai to Seoul.
Customs clearance is a process applicable to all commodities for import from the UAE to South Korea. It’s an intricate necessity of international shipping that many businesses choose to leave in the hands of a freight forwarder. These shipping experts can ensure your consignment complies with shipping laws and reduce the chances of unnecessary delays affecting your delivery.
Even when you partner with a freight forwarder, you’ll still have an important role to play in getting your consignment through customs. That’s because you’ll need to provide essential paperwork that will include:
- A commercial invoice
- A packing list
- A certificate of origin
- A letter of credit or other payment terms (depends on the contract between the parties involved)
- An Airway Bill for air cargo or a bill of lading for ocean freight (Shipa Freight will provide this)
Your consignment may also need to be accompanied by a license, permit, or certificate. Your forwarder will advise you of the precise requirements. In the meantime, should you wish to see some examples of the documents listed above, you can do so on our documents list page.
Port to port transportation of a shipping container from the UAE to South Korea aboard a cargo vessel is not a quick process. Container ships move at an average speed of 35 km/h, and with over 13,000 km of water between the UAE and South Korea, ocean shipping takes several weeks.
It’s likely your sea freight will ship in a 20ft or 40ft container. The smaller container has capacity for 10 or 11 standard pallets. The bigger unit can fit up to 21 such pallets.
All containers can be shipped from the UAE to South Korea in one of two ways: FCL or LCL. Let’s explore both options so you can make an informed decision about which is best for your business:
Considerations for LCL Freight Shipping
Less-than-container-load (LCL) shipping requires your goods to share a container. It could be your best option if:
- Your goods occupy no more than six standard pallets
- Your cargo can be carried safely alongside that of other shippers in a shared container
- Air freight isn’t viable
- Your shipment isn’t urgent
- You don’t want to have to load or unload a container yourself
- It’s worth knowing that consolidation and deconsolidation are both essential logistics processes that can add extra time to LCL shipments.
LCL shipping might not be the best option for your company if:
- Your cargo is food, flowers, or similarly fragile or perishable, and won’t survive weeks at sea
- You don’t want your freight moved or handled too frequently
- You can’t afford for your shipment to be delayed
- Your freight is unsuited to sharing a container
Considerations for FCL Freight Shipping
Full-container-load (FCL) shipping gives you the exclusive use of a container for your goods. It could be best for you if:
- Your consignment is needed in South Korea by a specified date
- Your goods are heavy, fragile, or awkwardly-shaped
- You can’t ship your goods in a shared container
- Your consignment is big enough to fill at least half the capacity of a 20ft container
Shippers typically use air freight to export from the UAE to South Korea when:
- Their goods are fragile and need to reach a destination fast with minimal handling
- It’s a small consignment occupying a maximum of three standard pallets
- Their cargo is of a high value, needing the protection offered by airline and airport security
- They want to pay a lower insurance premium than they might for ocean freight
Cargo Ports of Origin in the UAE
Khor Fakkan (Sharjah)
- Situated on the United Arab Emirates’ Indian Ocean coastline
- Only three hours from UAE’s other two major ports in Abu Dhabi and Dubai
- Facilities include 20 container gantry cranes and 450,000 square meters of storage
- Ideal if your supply chain moves goods from Al Bidya, Masafi, Fujairah, or other locations on the UAE’s east coast
Owned By: Sharjah Ports Authority.
Annual Container Volume: >3 million TEUs.
Khalifa (Abu Dhabi)
- Situated almost halfway between the ports of Abu Dhabi and Dubai
- The Middle East’s first semi-automated port
- Excellent air, sea, road, and rail access
- Planned port development will significantly increase freight-handling capacity over the next decade
Owned By: Abu Dhabi Ports.
Annual Container Volume: >14.5 million TEUs.
Jebel Ali (Dubai)
- The Middle East’s biggest and busiest port
- 35 kilometers southwest of Dubai
- Vital gateway for over 90 shipping services
- Winner of ‘Best Seaport in the Middle East’ award for over 20 years in a row
Owned By: Dubai Ports World.
Annual Container Volume: >13.6 million TEUs.
Cargo Ports of Arrival in South Korea
- The largest port in South Korea
- The sixth-biggest container port in the world
- Situated at the mouth of the Nakdong River
- Faces Japan’s Tsushima Island
- Ideal port of arrival for goods required in the southeastern region of South Korea
Owned By: Busan Port Authority.
Annual Container Volume: >21.6 million TEUs.
- The port name is sometimes spelled Gwangyang
- Its UN/LOCODE is also KRKAN
- Located in South Jeolla Province
- Situated 125 km southwest of Busan
- Handles 200 million tonnes of sea freight annually
- Its container terminal spans a 4,231 square kilometer site
- It’s an important logistics hub located on shipping lanes linking Asia, Europe, and the USA
Owned By: Yeosu Regional Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Office.
Annual Container Volume: >2.4 million TEUs.
- Full name is Port of Pyeongtaek-Dangjin
- It’s a gateway to the metropolitan areas in central South Korea
- Large industrial complexes are close to the port
- It’s nearer to China than any other port in South Korea—just 350 km from the Chinese mainland
Owned By: Pyeongtaek Regional Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Office.
Annual Container Volume: < 1 million TEUs.
- Situated on the shores of Masan Bay
- Serves the northeastern regions of South Korea
- Connected to the Port of Busan by road and rail
- The site covers 1,400 hectares and 28 km of coastline
- Ideal for suppliers and manufacturers based in the Changwon Industrial Complex
Owned By: Masan Regional Maritime Affairs and Port Office.
Annual Container Volume: Unknown.
- South Korea’s second-largest seaport
- Located at the mouth of the Han River
- Just 40 km from Seoul, the world’s fourth most populated metropolitan area
- Only 30 km south of the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea
Owned By: Incheon Regional Maritime Affairs and Port Office.
Annual Container Volume: >3.1 million TEUs.
Airports of Origin in the UAE
Dubai Al Maktoum
- 37 kilometers southwest of Dubai
- Occupies a 280 square kilometer site
- An expressway connects the facility with Dubai International Airport (65km away)
- Capacity for four aircraft to land simultaneously.
South Korea Airports Served: Seoul-Incheon.
UAE to South Korea Cargo-Only Operators: Emirates Sky Cargo.
IATA CODE: DWC.
- Just four kilometers from the city of Dubai
- Occupies a 2,900-hectare site
- Shipments to Seoul can be completed in four to eight days
- Ideal for any supplier or manufacturer in Al Khawaneej, Dubai, Deira, and industrial areas to the northwest of the airport
South Korea Airports Served: Seoul-Incheon.
UAE to South Korea Cargo-Only Operators: None.
IATA CODE: DXB.
- Second-busiest airport in the United Arab Emirates
- Nearly one million tonnes of air freight is processed annually
- Shipments to Seoul can be completed in just two days
- Etihad announced plans for a major upgrade of its freight facilities in 2019
South Korea Airports Served: Seoul-Incheon.
UAE to South Korea Cargo-Only Operators: Etihad Cargo.
IATA CODE: AUH.
- 13 kilometers southeast of Sharjah
- Infrastructure includes five air freight terminals
- No direct flights to South Korea
- Capacity to handle and store livestock and temperature-sensitive cargo
- Good links to supplier and shipper warehouses in neighboring emirates
South Korea Airports Served: None.
UAE to South Korea Cargo-Only Operators: None.
IATA CODE: SHJ.
Airport of Arrival in South Korea
- The largest airport in South Korea
- Located on artificially-created land between the islands of Yeongjong and Yongyu
- A regular winner of the best airport in the world award from Airports Council International
Connected Airports in the UAE: Dubai Maktoum, Dubai International, Abu Dhabi.
UAE to Seoul Incheon Cargo-Only Operators: Emirates Sky Cargo, Etihad Cargo.
IATA Code: ICN.
If you’re looking for an easy way to ship commodities from the Middle East to South Korea and speed up your supply chain, Shipa Freight provides it.
Our digital-only approach to international shipping brings fresh simplicity and clarity to importing from the UAE to South Korea. Our online platform makes registering, getting quotes, booking freight, and tracking shipments easy. Our skilled team of logistics professionals is equally at home managing small air freight shipments and huge ocean cargo consignments.
Need more reasons to choose Shipa Freight to arrange your shipping from the UAE to South Korea? Here are a few:
- Get instant quotes
- Make immediate online bookings
- Pay with a card or by wire transfer
- We’ll tell you which documents your consignment needs
- We’ll manage the complex customs process
- You’ll get visibility of all your exports and imports on our website
- Benefit from friendly and knowledgeable assistance from the Shipa Freight customer service team 24/7
- Know Your Options for Shipping Freight From the UAE to South Korea
- How Much Does it Cost to Ship Cargo From the UAE to South Korea?
- How Long Does it Take to Ship Cargo From the UAE to South Korea?
- Customs Clearance in the UAE and South Korea
- Should You Choose Ocean Freight or Air Freight?
- Ocean Cargo Port Guide
- Flying Your Freight: Airport Guide
- Why Ship From the UAE to South Korea With Shipa Freight?
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