UK/Kuwait Shipping Rates 2019

UK ⇆ Kuwait
Get Shipping Quote

Sea Freight

Kuwait sea freight

FCL rates

Container 20ft 40ft
Kuwait: Shuwaikh & Shuwaiba 760.00 GBP 990.00 GBP
  • Above rates are port to port only. 
  • For door to port or door to door prices please contact us using Kuwait shipping form.
  • Transit  time:  30 days
  • We offer full container shipping service to Kuwait.
  • We also provide a part container (Less Than Container Load) shipping service to all major cities in Kuwait, on a regular basis.

    Depending on your individual needs, DFS Worldwide offers a variety of containers available for shipping to Kuwait. Our expert container shipping consultants to Kuwait will advise you on the best container size suitable for your job. They are mostly the 20ft or 40ft containers.

LCL rates

LCL shipping to Kuwait from £60
Total Volume Total Cost
1 CBM £60.00
5 CBM £270.00
10 CBM £488.00
15 CBM £728.00

- Above prices are port to port only.
- Volumetric pricing

Air Freight

We offer the following air cargo services to Kuwait international airport:

  • Door to Airport
  • Airport to Airport

- All services subject to customs rules.
- Delivery of cargo to Kuwait can take 3 to 7 working days for door to airport .

London Heathrow airport to Kuwait international airport

Destination  50 kilos  200 kilos  500 kilos 
Kuwait £178 £385.00 £750.00

Full truck service to Kuwait

Road freight to Kuwait service with booking of full truck available both for normal and ADR cargo. (Also check shipping to Iraq page)

Groupage truck service Kuwait

Groupage truck freight service to Kuwait is available with weekly departures on client's demand. We can also arrange collection directly with international truck. The service is available for normal and ADR goods. Please contact us for more details.

* Documentation surcharge applies to any shipping to Kuwait.
* For an accurate price, please use our online quotation form above and provide detailed information about your shipment requirement to Kuwait.

Kuwait trade and export guide

1. Kuwait export overview

Kuwait has a predominantly oil based economy, accounting for 6% of the world’s proven oil reserves. It’s a founding member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Kuwait is the fifth richest country in the world measured by Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per head. It’s one of UK’s largest and most important trading partners. Bilateral trade has doubled from £2 billion to £4 billion in the last 2 years.

Over 100 UK companies, franchises and companies with agents are already operating in Kuwait. Examples include Shell, BP, PWC, Harvey Nichols, Boots, Amec, Atkins, Coffee Republic, Mulberry, Grant Thornton, Dundee University, Pitman Training, and Waitrose.

Benefits for UK businesses exporting to Kuwait include:

  • no taxation on personal income
  • growing diversification within the Kuwaiti economy
  • earmarked government investment of £71 billion on infrastructure projects
  • Public Private Partnership (PPP) approach for infrastructure projects
  • English widely spoken

Strengths of the Kuwaiti market include:

  • free trade zone
  • stable regime
  • strategic location in close proximity to other Gulf markets
  • Kuwaiti dinar is highest-valued currency unit in the world
  • friendly living environment for foreigners
  • more than half of Kuwait nationals under 25
  • moderate business costs

2. Challenges of doing business in Kuwait

Challenges include:

  • physical presence needed as long term relationships need to be formed
  • restrictions on company ownership by non-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nationals
  • identifying suitable sponsors for initial entry into the market
  • finding an appropriate Kuwaiti partner for joint ventures
  • bureaucracy
  • slow speed of decision making
  • tendering process can be difficult to navigate
  • extremely hot weather in summer season slows down outdoor activity
  • Kuwait is mid table ranked in the World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business

3. Growth potential in Kuwait

3.1 Economic growth in Kuwait

Kuwait’s GDP growth in 2014 remained steady at around 3%. Expansion is expected to be driven by oil production, strong investment in infrastructure projects and new legislation aimed at boosting Foreign Direct investment (FDI).

Oil accounts for nearly half of Kuwait’s GDP, 95% of export revenues and government income. Kuwaiti officials have committed to increasing oil production to 4 million barrels per day by 2020.

Kuwait regularly achieves a large budget surplus. Foreign reserves and investment income are substantial, and the Kuwait stock market’s recent performance has been good.

The government’s new 5 year National Development Plan (2015 to 2020) focuses on economic reform and the implementation of several long-stalled mega strategic projects.

Privatisation remains an important priority of the Kuwaiti government. PPPs are expected to become the state’s model for infrastructure development.

3.2 Kuwait free trade agreements

Kuwait is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). A European Union (EU)-GCC cooperation agreement was signed in 1988. However, negotiations for a free trade agreement between the EU and the 6 countries of the GCC were suspended by the GCC in 2008. Informal contacts have failed to restart negotiations.

You can find details of Kuwait’s other agreements on the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry website.

A UK-Kuwait Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation in healthcare was signed in 2014. An MoU was also signed in 2010 to enhance cooperation and coordination in the field of security.

4. UK and Kuwait trade

The UK exported £562 million of goods to Kuwait in 2013. In January 2014 the UK exported £45.9 million of goods, an increase of 41% compared to the same period in 2013. The figures exclude significant imports of UK retail goods, virtually all of which are transhipped via Jebel Ali. They are, therefore, recorded as exports to Dubai.

The UK’s exports in services to Kuwait totalled £536 million in 2012.

Main UK goods exports to Kuwait include:

  • vehicles
  • boilers, machinery and mechanical appliances
  • electrical machinery
  • pharmaceutical products
  • optical, photographic, cinematographic, measuring, checking, precision, medical or surgical instruments and apparatus
  • clothing
  • natural or cultured pearls, precious or semi-precious stones, precious metals
  • books, newspapers, pictures
  • plastics and plastic products
  • cereals, flour, starch or milk; pastry cooks’ products

The export of services is a growing area, particularly in consultancy and financial services transactions.

Kuwait is one of the single largest investors in the UK with around £100 billion of official funds invested through the City of London.

5. Opportunities for UK businesses in Kuwait

DIT provides free international export sales leads from its worldwide network. Search for export opportunities.

5.1 Transport sector in Kuwait

Infrastructure development at Kuwait International Airport (KIA) is a USD 6 billion project. It aims to expand capacity to handle 20 million passengers per year and become a major passenger and cargo hub for the region. The new passenger terminal was designed by a team led by the UK’s Foster and Partners.

An estimated USD 3 billion will be spent on:

  • reconstruction and extension of the existing runways
  • construction of primary and secondary access roads and taxiways, aircraft stands
  • enhancing control tower facilities
  • building new cargo facilities
  • upgrading other airport infrastructure

Kuwait’s Metro system will expand to 160 kilometres and 69 stations over 5 phases.

There are opportunities for UK companies throughout the supply chain for these transport projects.

5.2 Healthcare sector in Kuwait

Healthcare in Kuwait represents a significant opportunity for UK companies.

A programme is underway to increase hospital beds to 11,000 by 2016. It is designed to cope with the health needs of a growing, ageing and wealthy national population as well as a growing expatriate population. Healthcare is free for Kuwaitis.

There are opportunities for UK companies supply:

  • medical equipment
  • Information Technology (IT)
  • training
  • maintenance
  • facilities management
  • hospital management

5.3 Infrastructure sector in Kuwait

Port development in Kuwait

A massive new port and logistics facility will be developed over the next 20 years at Boubyan Island in the north west of Kuwait. This will be financed by the government of Kuwait in conjunction with the private sector. The facility will be linked to the GCCrailway enabling the port to serve as a major deep-sea staging area for regional shipping and transportation. The wider aspects of the development will include:

  • housing
  • a free trade zone
  • industrial area

The port is currently under construction. Opportunities for UK companies include consultancy, design and planning for the next phase.

Housing sector in Kuwait

The shortage of housing and long waiting times for land allocation has resulted in housing being a government priority. There are plans to build 3 new cities by 2020.

The waiting list for government subsidised housing has grown to over 100,000. More than 170,000 homes will be needed by 2020.

There are a total of 11 planned projects to build over 175,000 new houses. These projects will all need supporting transport and service infrastructure.

There will be significant new opportunities for UK companies in:

  • project management
  • design
  • construction
  • the supply chain

5.4 Defence and security sector in Kuwait

Kuwait has some significant opportunities in the defence and security sectors over the medium to long term. Healthcare, oil, infrastructure and transport projects will also all have security elements.

6. Start-up considerations in Kuwait

You can carry out business in Kuwait in any of the following forms:

  • Commercial Agent, under the sponsor ship of a registered Kuwaiti agent
  • Commercial Representative, under the sponsorship of a commercial representative
  • a joint venture
  • establishing a Kuwaiti company

The Companies Law allows a range of company structures. You can find more details of business structure on the Kuwait Government Online website.

Foreign ownership in the State of Kuwait is restricted to a maximum of 49%. However, to encourage FDI the Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Authority (KDIPA) was setup and a new law passed. This Foreign Direct Investment Law allows 100% ownership in some designated economic activities and projects.

6.1 Kuwait’s free Trade Zone (FTZ)

Licences for operations in the FTZ near Shuwaikh port are issued through the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

Businesses operating in the FTZ are:

  • exempt from all corporate and personal taxation on operations conducted within the zone
  • exempt from custom duties
  • able to freely transfer capital and profits and are not subject to exchange controls
  • permitted to operate with 100% foreign ownership

Islam is one source of legislation in Kuwait, but not the main source. The legal system is based on Latin Civil Law, which is mainly derived from French Law.

A list of the laws relating to business is available on the Kuwait government website.

7.1 Standards and technical regulations in Kuwait

No one ministry has responsibility for standards and technical regulations.

All goods imported into Kuwait must be clearly marked with the country of origin.

Some imports have additional labelling requirements. Foodstuffs, for example, must include composition (ingredients and additives), production and expiration dates as well as other indicators.

8. Intellectual Property (IP) in Kuwait

Trademarks, designs, patents and copyright are the principal forms of IP protection available to companies and individuals.

Kuwait is a member of the WTO) and a signatory to the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights.

Patent must be registered with the Patents Office at the Trademark Control Department of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

Industrial designs must be registered in the Industrial Designs and Models Register. An application for registration must then be submitted to the Trademark Control Department. The registration is valid for 5 years and can renewed for 2 additional consecutive terms.

Kuwaiti Commercial Code, Law No. 68/1980 governs trademark registration and the penalties for infringement. You can apply to register your trademark at the Trademark Control Department. When approved protection is granted for 10 years and can be renewed for another 10.

Article (17) of Law No. 64/1999 defines period of copyright protection.

9. Tax and customs considerations in Kuwait

There is a double taxation agreement between the UK and Kuwait.

The Kuwait tax Authority (KTA) has responsibility for taxation in Kuwait.

9.1 Sales tax in Kuwait

There is currently no Value Added Tax (VAT) or sales tax in Kuwait.

9.2 Corporate tax in Kuwait

Income Tax Law No.2 of 2008 sets tax liability at a 15% flat rate on net taxable income.

Zakat (poor relief) at 1% of annual net profits is levied on Kuwait public and closed Joint Stock Companies, and similar GCC entities with operations in Kuwait.

9.3 Income tax in Kuwait

There is no personal income tax in Kuwait.

9.4 Customs in Kuwait

The Kuwaiti General Administration of Customs has responsibility for Kuwaiti customs procedures.

The import of alcohol and pork products into Kuwait is prohibited. Certain meats from the UK are also banned. The Kuwaiti Customs site provides full details of restricted items.

You can find more about import tariffs in the Market Access Database.

9.5 Documentation in Kuwait

The documents required to export to Kuwait are:

  • invoices – initiated by supplier
  • certificate of origin
  • bills of lading / airway bill
  • packing list
  • import licence and quality test certificates as applicable
  • Original Islamic Compliant Slaughter (Halal) meat products
  • customs duty payment receipt

The accompanying documents must be legalised by the Kuwaiti Embassy and also certified by the Kuwaiti Ministry of Foreign Affairs upon arrival of the shipment.

A licensed customs clearing agent is required in order to facilitate the customs clearance process and for practical considerations.

10. Business behaviour in Kuwait

The weekend is Friday and Saturday in Kuwait.

The official language of Kuwait is Arabic, but English is widely spoken. However, all official correspondence with government ministries and bodies must be in Arabic.

All contracts are written in Arabic. If there is both an English and Arabic version, the Arabic will be the one followed.

Initial contacts with a Kuwaiti firm may be conducted with an expatriate or a non-Kuwaiti Arab, or a trusted Indian or Pakistani office manager. In most Kuwaiti companies, you’ll have to work your way up before meeting a decision-maker. Displays of impatience will reach senior management.

Aggressive, hard sell methods do not appeal to Kuwaitis. Patience, small talk, low-key presentation with video, product samples and attractive company brochures are an essential part of business behaviour.

Kuwait freight options