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Building a Logistics Empire: Starting a Freight Forwarding Company in the UAE

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has established itself as a global business hub, attracting entrepreneurs and businesses from all over the world. With its strategic location, world-class infrastructure, and business-friendly policies, it has become an ideal destination for setting up a freight forwarding company. In this blog post, we will explore the steps to starting a successful logistics empire in the UAE and provide recommendation on the best jurisdiction for freight forwarding companies.

Why the UAE?

The UAE is strategically located between Asia, Europe, and Africa, making it a prime location for international trade and shipping. The country also boasts state-of-the-art ports and airports, making it a top choice for logistics companies. Moreover, the UAE has a favorable business environment with the minimum corporate and zero personal tax, 100% foreign ownership, and no restrictions on repatriation of profits.

Steps to Setting Up a Freight Forwarding Company in the UAE:

  1. Choose the Right Jurisdiction: One of the first and most crucial steps in setting up a business in the UAE is to choose the right jurisdiction. There are several options available, including Mainland, Free Zone, and Offshore. Each has its own benefits and limitations, so it is essential to carefully evaluate which one suits your business needs best.
  2. Obtain a License: Once you have selected the jurisdiction, the next step is to obtain a license. In the UAE, a freight forwarding company falls under the category of logistics and transport. You will need to apply for a license from the relevant authority, depending on the jurisdiction you have chosen.
  3. Meet Capital Requirements: To obtain a license for a freight forwarding company in the UAE, you will need to meet the minimum capital requirements set by the authorities. This amount varies depending on the jurisdiction, with free zones having lower capital requirements compared to mainland companies.
  4. Register Your Company: The next step is to register your company with the relevant authorities. This process includes obtaining a trade name, registering with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and getting your company’s trade license.
  5. Set Up a Physical Office: To operate your freight forwarding company in the UAE, you will need to have a physical office space. This requirement varies depending on the jurisdiction, with free zones offering virtual office options for businesses.
  6. Hire Employees: Once your company is registered and operational, you can start hiring employees. The UAE has a diverse and skilled workforce, making it easier to find qualified staff for your logistics business.
  7. Obtain Necessary Permits: As a freight forwarding company, you may need to obtain additional permits from the relevant authorities. These may include permits for customs clearance, transportation, and warehousing, depending on the services you offer.
  8. Network and Promote Your Business: Building a strong network in the logistics industry is essential for the success of your business. Attend trade shows and conferences, join industry associations, and use social media platforms to promote your services and connect with potential clients.
  9. Maintain Compliance: It is vital to ensure that your freight forwarding company complies with all the laws and regulations of the UAE. This includes obtaining necessary permits, paying taxes, and following labor laws.

Recommendation for the Best Jurisdictions:

After considering the above steps, the best jurisdiction for a freight forwarding company in the UAE would be a Free Zone. Free Zones offer 100% foreign ownership, zero income tax, and streamlined procedures, making it easier and more cost-effective to start a business. Fujairah Free Zone, Jebel Ali Free Zone, Ajman Free Zone, and RAKEZ are few ideal locations for logistics companies. These Free Zones offer state-of-the-art facilities, including bonded and non-bonded warehouses, and is home to some of the biggest logistics companies in the world.


The UAE provides a conducive business environment for entrepreneurs looking to start a freight forwarding company. With its strategic location, world-class infrastructure, and business-friendly policies, it is an ideal destination for setting up a logistics empire. By following the steps mentioned above and choosing the right jurisdiction, entrepreneurs can turn their dream of owning a successful freight forwarding company in the UAE into a reality.

Creative Zone have been in the market for over 13 years and have assisted over 75,000 entrepreneurs through their business journey in the Middle East. We offer a one-stop-solution for all business needs starting from Trade License Registration, PRO and Concierge Services, Tax and Accounting Consultancy, Corporate Tax Registration, Media and Marketing Solutions, Business Hub Solutions, HR Recruitment Services, Legal Advice, and more.

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