Destination, Riyadh: Shipping to an International Client

We completed a London home for a Saudi family (check it out in our portfolio here!) who loved it so much that they wanted us to create a similar look in their Riyadh property.

The design uses a combination of locally sourced products, known suppliers operating in the Middle East and trusted suppliers here in the UK. Shipping products to any part of the globe can be the trickiest part of the procurement process, so we’ve outlined the major costs and requirements you’ll have to factor into the design.We would always recommend going with a trusted shipping company. We use Dracott & Fennemore London, who are not only fantastic to work with but have experience with both handling furniture and shipping abroad. Before a quote can be produced, you’ll need to be able to answer the following:


  •  How much stuff do you have? Enough for a large container? Would this be either a 20ft or 40ft sea freight container?
  • If so, would your items be consolidated at the shipping company’s warehouse and then load and ship to Riyadh?
  • Would there be any collections required or will you arrange for the suppliers to deliver straight to the warehouse? (This normally applies more to people who are moving and want some of their original belongings to go with the new items).
  • Is all of the furniture new? Is it being sent to an individual or to a Company in Riyadh?
  • When delivered, where are the items going? Is it a house, apartment, ground floor? Is there parking or a lift?

Moving really builds up, this is just a small fraction of the amount of boxes it could take just to move flats

Import procedures in Saudi Arabia can be quite complicated, so you’ll need to have a clear idea of what you are shipping before obtaining a quote. If you organise the move yourself, you are in for a lot of customs paperwork. We would recommend that you pay extra for the delivery company to do this, as they’ll know the correct answers to all the questions and will do it in half the time.The costs involved:

  • Warehousing / checking: Your shipping company will charge for accepting and checking over the goods as they arrive. Expect to pay around £20.00 per hour + VAT. They are usually pretty speedy at this, so it’s never a big outlay.
  • Storage: This differs from place to place. Some warehouses store by space, others by container. Expect an average of £25.00 + VAT per 7 cbm per week.
  • Container loading: This is the labour involved in stacking your goods for international transport and documenting every piece. Expect an average of £450.00 + VAT for 20ft, or £600.00 + VAT for 40ft.
  • Ocean freight and charges from a London warehouse to Riyadh dry port / customs terminal:  Ours came out to about £1500.00 for approx 20ft, or £2000.00 for approx 40ft.
  • Destination charges: £2500.00 for approx 20ft,  £3400.00 for approx 40ft.

The estimated costs above are based on adequate access immediately outside of the property and delivery to 1st floor maximum with all items being able to be carried. The also include the following: Customs clearance at Riyadh, container haulage to a residence within Riyadh city limits, the unloading and unpacking of furniture and household goods, the re-assembly of basic furniture items not requiring specialised labour and / or a handyman, the removal of packing materials and the re-delivery of the empty container to Riyadh terminal.


The above costs exclude the following:
Port storage if delays in customs clearance, any import duties or taxes, customs inspection fees, delivery outside of normal working hours / weekends of holidays, complicated re-assembly of furniture, heavy item handling such as pianos and safes, and any transit insurance. Any electrical items would also require a certificate of conformity.


This seems like a lot, but the clients would still be saving massively by having us handle all of the work. Hopefully that answers any initial questions anyone might have about the process of moving to or furnishing a Saudi home. Stay posted to see our Saudi house design.

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