During the last couple of years, the vast kingdom of Saudi Arabia was one of the most prominent export destinations in the world. Its land is far-reaching, its population is over 32 million (with 6 million being only ex-pats), its economy is flourishing, etc. These are just a couple of reasons why people decide to expand their business operations there. So, if you too plan on doing this, you are probably thinking about how you can export to Saudi Arabia. We are not going to lie to you – exporting to Saudi Arabia is not easy, but it is far from impossible. So, as you start to prepare for this quest, keep on reading as we have some tips and tricks that might help you out.
Know Which Items Are Forbidden in Saudi Arabia
Before you start preparing your goods for export to Saudi Arabia, make sure to know whether they are allowed there or not. Namely, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia has stringent export laws and very long lists of forbidden items. So, let us name some of them:
- Alcohol and narcotics
- All kinds of weapons
- Pork and pork products
- Religious items
- Animals and plants
- Art, including everything from paintings to sculptures
- Distillery equipment
- Anything related to gambling
- Vehicles with a steering wheel on the right side
As mentioned above, these are just some of the items that are strictly forbidden in Saudi Arabia. Thus, be sure to read the law and study the list of prohibited items before you decide to export anything. If you make the mistake of importing forbidden items, that will result in legal problems with the authorities.
However, there are always exceptions. You may get permission to export some of the items from the forbidden list if you have a good reason for it. So, for example, if you plan on immigrating to Dubai and transporting a lot of your used clothes (which are also prohibited), your pet, or your vehicle, you can apply for special approval from the government!
Find Reliable Professionals
Exporting to Saudi Arabia can be quite challenging for two reasons. Firstly,it can be difficult because of the language barrier. Secondly, it can be challenging because this is a complex job that requires a lot of knowledge and skills. If you lack just one of these things, your exporting mission to Saudi Arabia may soon become a nightmare. Thus, save yourself from all these troubles and find professionals who can deal with this.
Together with your logistics company, you will decide on the following things:
- The starting place of your shipment and its final destination
- The method of your shipment (by sea, air, road, or rail)
- The weight and the size of the containers
- The description of the cargo
Moreover, the logistics company you choose for your export to Saudi Arabia will also handle all the communication with Saudi agents, take care of all relevant paperwork, and make sure you do not overpay the fees.
Double-Check all the Paperwork
Speaking of the relevant paperwork you need to export to Saudi Arabia, you need to know a couple of things. First,gathering all the necessary paperwork will require some time (sometimes even a couple of months), so be sure to start this process ahead of time. Second, the government of Saudi Arabia requires verification and authentication of all your paperwork. Thirdly, brace yourself for a ton of it. Here is what you need:
- Original certificate of origin
- Original commercial invoice
- Bill of lading or airway bill
- Labels (irremovable) which point out the country of origin
- Documents showing everything is in accordance with health regulations
- List of all packaged items
- Insurance documents
- Certificate of conformity with applicable Saudi standards
Let us remind you that you need to have a couple of copies of all these documents. Keep originals for yourself and give the copies to forwarders. Moreover, be sure to have all of your documents translated into Arabic too! Translated documents are something you must have when exporting, relocating your business to Bahrain, or moving with your family to Dubai.
Make Sure Your Goods are Safe and Secure
The logistics company you hire will take care of shipping your cargo to Saudi Arabia, but it will not take care of what is inside the containers. Making sure everything inside the containers is safe and secure will be your job. Again, the best way to do that is to hire a company like Four Winds SA. Professionals of this kind will ensure all of your goods are properly packed for shipment. Moreover, they will ensure that there are no prohibited items and that there are no lapses in the paperwork needed for the export. Companies of this kind book fast, so, once again, make sure you hire them ahead of time!
Exporting Large Cargo to Saudi Arabia
When it comes to export to Saudi Arabia, one or two containers should not be a problem (as long as you work with the right kind of experts). However, you might experience some difficulties when exporting more oversized cargo, especially now that the coronavirus has affected the shipping industry. However, not all means of transport were affected. Shipping and exporting by sea remain available for transporting any (allowed) items to Saudi Arabia. It is manageable to ship both large goods and significant amounts of goods by a cargo ship. Thus, it might be better to avoid shipping by air, road, or rails for the time being. If you are not sure about what to do, ask your logistics company for advice – after all, they have been doing this for a long time.