Dubai – best place to set up an import / export business

Yesterday I met with one of the Partner at Knight Frank in Dubai and asked him what he thought would be the best place to set up for an import / export business.

Attached a map which highlights the key industrial areas throughout Dubai and provides indicative values of the associated areas, alongside information on key occupiers on each estate. He explained an import / export business would be best placed in Dubai South / JAFZA, which has a bonded route with both air and sea ports, therefore avoiding bringing any goods onshore.

He mentioned that there are also very good options in other emirates which have port facilities and available opportunities for investment. Schemes such as KIZAD in Abu Dhabi, RAKEZ in Ras Al Khaimah and a new industrial zone being developed in Sohar, Oman would offer alternative solutions when compared with Dubai (such as avoiding congestion in the Straight of Hormuz). One should keep in mind that a relative reduction in cost compared with Dubai does come with some potential disadvantages, such as:

  • Less developed infrastructure – particularly for utility supplies and in some cases highway links which can cause congestion
  • Timescales / costs for establishing businesses – in some of the areas the business set-up costs and licence application process is very compared with similar schemes in Dubai
  • Availability of bonded facilities – as the alternative areas are in their infancy, they do not have bonded facilities for streamlining the customs process when processing goods
  • Process is complicated for the movement of goods – similarly to the above, as the areas are still establishing themselves some of the costs / processes for moving goods around the UAE to other areas are unknown and are likely to be costly, compared to Dubai where Free Zone occupiers can obtain dual licences in some areas to benefit from cost / time efficiencies

UAE Industrial and Logistics Market Review H1 2018

Dubai Industrial Zones Map



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