Jeddah is one of the world's largest seaports, with plenty of competition between logistics and removals companies, which means expats generally have few problems shipping items here.

Expats should get quotes from several companies, and compare their prices and reputations before settling on one.

That said, not only is shipping expensive, but expats would easily be able to purchase most of their household items locally, and accommodation in Jeddah often comes furnished anyway. Expats moving to Jeddah should therefore think carefully before deciding what to bring with them.


Air vs sea freight

Air freight and courier services are good for delivering smaller packages. They're efficient, but the costs are proportionately higher.

All shipped items must pass through Saudi Arabian customs and the sender has to complete the appropriate paperwork. Customs clearance depends on whether goods are classified as having no commercial value. Dutiable goods are taxed.

Shipments can sit in customs for quite some time before they're allowed to be claimed. In some cases, the goods recipient may have to pay for storage during this period.

Using a shipping company with warehouse storage can be worthwhile as expats won't have to worry about extra costs if they can't claim their goods from customs immediately.

The list of prohibited items is long and constantly changing but generally tends to include pornographic material, weapons, alcohol, narcotics and pork.