Cost of International Moving in Dubai

International Moving and shipping costs consist of many components, which can substantially affect the overall cost/price. The total cost of moving internationally can be broken down into five distinct areas.

Cover these areas thoroughly with any moving company you are considering. Get everything agreed in writing.

Hidden charges – ORIGIN

Moving companies want your business. Surveyors and salespeople are under increasing pressure to book your move. Aspects of the move which have been discussed may not be properly addressed in the quotation and can result in additional charges.

The following are typical hidden charges, and should be covered in the quotation (if applicable) 

  •  Shuttling/ferrying charges
  •  Stair access
  •  Wooden crating charges
  • Parking fees
  • External hoists/lifts
  •  3rd party charges / ie. handyman

Note: any of the above charges may also apply at destination.

Actual Moving costs

This is generally the majority of the cost and should include, dismantling of basic items, professional packing / wrapping of all items, loading, haulage, port charges, freight, customs clearance, delivery, unpacking and set up of basic furniture.  If you goods are going via storage, make sure this is included and beware of potentially high warehouse handling charges.


Most companies in the moving/transportation industry carry a very basic form of insurance, usually referred to as a contractual liability cover.   This is pretty much worthless. For a comprehensive Insurance cover for your personal effects and household goods whilst they are in transit speak to your insurance company and negotiate the best offer you can stop you can arrange insurance through your mover but be aware they will take their percentage.

Typically a Full Risk policy will cost between 2.0 – 3.5% based on the declared value of your goods.  You will need to provide a valued inventory of the goods.  Be as descriptive and detailed as possible.

Avoid lump sum valuation insurance.  This is sold as a hassle free option, but for most people it is disproportionately expensive.

As is the often the case, read the small print.

Import duty

Many countries of the world work on the basis that if you are repatriating or migrating legally then you are permitted to import used personal effects and household goods free of duty.

There are countries who will impose duty and taxes on selected items and in some cases all items.  Many South American, African and Asian countries impose high charges as law.

Make sure your mover clarifies this issue thoroughly.

Customs officials are to an extent a rule unto themselves and so there needs to be some flexibility.  Moving companies can never guarantee import duty will not apply, however they can certainly provide you with a good insight into what to expect.

Hidden charges – DESTINATION

If hidden charges are a problem at origin, there is even more possibilities for them to be applied at destination.  In addition to the charges mentioned above, there

  • Shuttling/ferrying charges
  • Stair access
  • De-crating charges
  • Parking fees (especially in built up areas and cities)
  • External hoists/lifts
  • 3rd party charges / ie. handyman
  • Demurrage / port storage charges

Can the container be positioned within 25 meters of your front door? 

What will be re-assembled at destination and how much of your shipment will be unpacked? 

How likely are demurrage / port storage charges under normal circumstances?

These are some of the questions you need to clarified in writing from the moving company.